1. Why West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) needs to enact Public Open Spaces Bylaw?
  2. Is the Bylaw apply to all areas of WKCD? 
  3. Who enforces the Bylaw in WKCD? 
  4. Did WKCDA consult the public on the Bylaw?
  5. What is the timeline for introducing the Bylaw?
  6. Did WKCDA study overseas cases in drafting the Bylaw and guidelines? 
  7. Is there any measure to control headcount to avoid over-spoilt the place? 
  8. Do you allow activities like camping, cooking and haircutting? 
  9. Can we step on the lawn? 
  10. How will you control hawkers?
  11. Is flying kite allowed?
  12. Are pets allowed in WKCD?
  13. Public open spaces in WKCD will open for 24 hours.  Will it be covered by security staff and CCTV at night? 
  14. Busking is a lawful activity in Hong Kong. Why street performance needs to be regulated in West Kowloon? And why buskers need to obtain a permit?
  15. Is it difficult to obtain the Street Performances Permit? 
  16. What is West Kowloon Street Performer Programme?
  17. Would WKCDA pre-censor the performance content, especially those involve political and current issues?
  18. Where can the street performers perform?
  19. The guidelines provide about 10 rules. For example, performers’ should be able to transport and remove all their instruments, props and equipment to and from the performance location in one load and they should be able to pack-up and move from a location within three minutes; they should not stay in one location for more than 2 hours at a time; they should not request the crowd to cheer or yell. Would you consider the rules too harsh? 
  20. Most of the street performances are impromptu. How can WKCDA regulate them? Do the rules in the guidelines feasible?
  21. Will the performance permit be revoked if the permit holder violates the guidelines?
  22. Will the guidelines limit the performance? For example the regulations about safety and noise may limit certain type of performance.
  23. Can street performers accept money reward and sell stuff? 
  24. Will WKCDA review the guidelines?
  25. There is a set of guideline for filming and photography under the Bylaw.  What kind of filming or photography is governed by these guidelines?
  26. Is an application required for taking wedding photos in WKCD?
  27. Can we organise classes and events in the Park?

Background

1. Why West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) needs to enact Public Open Space Bylaw?

WKCDA wishes to see people getting the maximum enjoyment from the Park and open areas in WKCD without overriding and interfering management but in order to ensure public safety and that the activity of one individual park user does not unduly disturb another, the Bylaw and Guidelines are needed to enable WKCDA to provide a safe and secure facility.

 

2. Is the Bylaw apply to all areas of WKCD?

To ensure consistent safe and secure use of the WKCD, the Bylaw is to apply to the Park and public open spaces in the WKCD. These public open spaces include the Park, Artist Square, M+ podium, Xiqu Square, the Avenue and the Waterfront Promenade.

 

3. Who enforces the Bylaw in WKCD?

Our frontline management team plays an important role in facilitating the safe and enjoyable use of the park and public Open Spaces and, where necessary, by enforcing the By-law. We provide proper training for the frontline staff, familiarise them with our public space management philosophy, and devise detailed procedures and operation guidelines for handling different situations. 

 

4. Did WKCDA consult the public on the Bylaw?

WKCDA sought views from different stakeholders, including the Legislative Council (LegCo), District Councils (Yau Tsim Mong as well as all 18 District Councils), the WKCDA Consultation Panel (comprising representatives from broad sectors), street performers, arts and cultural groups, the Hong Kong Police Force and representatives of nearby residents. The draft Bylaw and guidelines were previously uploaded to WKCDA website for public information and feedback during 2015.

 

5. What is the timeline for introducing the Bylaw?

WKCDA considered all the views together and took them into account and refined the Bylaw for introduction to LegCo for positive vetting. The Bylaw was gazetted in June 2016.

 

6. Did WKCDA study overseas cases in drafting the Bylaw and guidelines?

We made reference to the existing laws and management practice of local and overseas parks, pleasure grounds and places of amusement, including Australia, China, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Taiwan.

 

General Management

7. Is there any measure to control headcount to over-spoilt the place?

There will be crowd control management in the Park and public open space, if necessary, to ensure safety of all users.

 

8. Do you allow activities like camping, cooking and haircutting?

Camping will only be allowed with a permit under specific circumstances. The Park and public open space are envisaged to be welcoming and accessible for all. They should be managed in a way that encourages a wide range of uses and activities within shared spaces, while respecting and balancing the needs of different users. The Bylaw provides WKCDA with the minimum necessary powers to regulate conduct or activities relevant to the operation of the WKCD.

 

9. Can we step on the lawn?

Definitely.  The lawns in WKCD are open for the public to enjoy and the WKCDA has arranged regular maintenance for the lawns.

 

10. How will you control hawkers?

Hawking is not allowed in WKCD. The Bylaw provides WKCDA with the minimum necessary powers to regulate conduct or activities relevant to the operation of the WKCD.

 

11. Is flying kite allowed?

Kites are allowed to be flown as allowed by Hong Kong’s aviation safety laws. The control string must be kept to 50m or less.

 

12. Are pets allowed in WKCD?

Domestic pets are permitted on site so long as they are on a lead, kept under control and don’t create a nuisance to others.

 

13. Public open spaces in WKCD will open for 24 hours.  Will it be covered by security staff and CCTV at night?

Yes.

 

Street Performance

14. Busking is a lawful activity in Hong Kong. Why street performance needs to be regulated in West Kowloon? And why buskers need to obtain a permit?

WKCDA positively encourages street entertainment which allows arts enthusiasts to display their artistry and talents, enhances public access to the arts and adds to the colour and life of WKCD.

We hope to create a mature and self-disciplined street performance ecology which can allow us to strike a balance between freedom of artistic expression and the comfort and safety of the public using the public space. The sharing of public space by street performers, audiences, neighbouring residents, and businesses requires co-operation and mutual respect.

WKCDA is pleased to provide performance opportunities for street performers, but in addition to the provision of venues, we hope the buskers performing within WKCD can fully understand and agree with the notions of street performance that the guidelines promote.

Besides, a street performer can perform with an ease of mind under the permit system.

 

15. Is it difficult to obtain the Street Performances Permit?

The two categories under the Street Performance Permit are:

  1. For street performers over 18, they are required to apply for a Street Performance Permit in person. Application procedures are as simple as filling in a form provided by the Authority, submitting information on the performance type, content and equipment or instruments used along with a photograph of the performer, as well as demonstrating their act/performance for not less than five minutes, it must be stressed that this is not seen as an audition but as a demonstration of skills. Applicants are then entitled to a permit valid for one-year upon payment of a (small) permit fee. The demonstration requirement is intended to allow us to determine that the proposed act is as stated in the application form without any screening or selection of performances; the permit fee is just an administrative fee to cover basic administrative expenses

  2. Street performers under 18, they will have to go through an audition, these will be held regularly by the Authority. They will need proof of parental consent before they go through same application procedures as stated above (submitting information on the performance type, content and equipment or instruments used along with a photograph of the performer) to obtain a one-year performance permit. Apart from presentation of valid permits, street performers under 18 must be accompanied by adults while performing.

 

16. What is West Kowloon Street Performer Programme?

The West Kowloon Street Performer Programme is for quality street performance by Hong Kong residents only. To become a member, the performer has to audition and be accepted. Auditions are to be held regularly to seek accomplished performers who can demonstrate the professionalism and skills necessary to present a polished performance and a highly developed repertoire as required to entertain and engage the public. Once accepted as a member a ten-year membership will be granted to the performer. The programme will schedule performances in prime locations within the District and engage them in promotions.

 

17. Would WKCDA pre-censor the performance content, especially those involve political and current issues?

WKCDA has absolutely no intention to censor the content. We regard freedom of artistic expression as one of the fundamental values of the arts hub.

 

18. Where can the street performers perform?

 

Types of area

Who can perform?

Where?

1

Special programme area

WKCDA presentations and productions only

Freespace open foyer, M+ roof terrace

2

Priority area

l   West Kowloon Street Performer Programme

l   Open to all buskers

Xiqu Centre open area, Artist Square, Cultural Boulevard and other identified areas

3

Other public space

Open to all buskers

Most of the Park and Waterfront Promenade

 

19. The guidelines provide about 10 rules. For example, performers’ should be able to transport and remove all their instruments, props and equipment to and from the performance location in one load and they should be able to pack-up and move from a location within three minutes; they should not stay in one location for more than 2 hours at a time; they should not request the crowd to cheer or yell. Would you consider the rules too harsh?

We hope that buskers can keep their performances simple in nature with high mobility so as to ensure the provision of emergency vehicular access. We want to reiterate that the frontline staff will handle situations in an accommodating and pragmatic manner to ensure the street performers can perform in a free and comfortable environment. 

 

20. Most of the street performances are impromptu. How can WKCDA regulate them? Do the rules in the guidelines feasible?

WKCDA adapts a pragmatic approach and be accommodating in implementing the guidelines, and provides adequate training for frontline staff to handle different situations. 

 

21. Will the performance permit be revoked if the permit holder violates the guidelines?

Yes. 

 

22. Will the guidelines limit the performance? For example the regulations about safety and noise may limit certain type of performance.

WKCDA hopes to strike a balance between freedom of artistic expression and the comfort and safety of the public using the public space. Therefore, performers intending to use dangerous materials or to involve animal acts in their performance are required to be members of the “West Kowloon Street Performer Programme”. The volume of performance must be kept to a reasonable level, not above 85dB within 2 meters. 

 

23. Can street performers accept money reward and sell stuff?

Performers are allowed to seek voluntary contributions through passing around a hat, leaving open an instrument case or other receptacle etc. It must be emphasised that any contributions made by the audience are on a voluntary basis.Performers may sell original creations (for example CDs, portraits or caricatures, handicrafts etc). 

 

24. Will WKCDA review the guidelines?

WKCDA will review the guidelines periodically, and has started a trial run in the Nursery Park. We seek to learn from the experience with an aim to improving the guidelines. 

 

Filming and Photography

25. There is a set of guideline for filming and photography under the Bylaw.  What kind of filming or photography is governed by these guidelines?

The key issue is the impact on park users. It is clear that professional filming and photography generally involves a considerable amount of equipment, personnel and the occupation of designated space. In order to ensure that such use is being managed properly, we will require the activity to be approved. If any filming/ photography is found to be for commercial purposes and not pre-approved as required by the Bylaw and guidelines, the persons may be required to stop and obtain the necessary permit before it can proceed. We do not intend to restrict filming or photography of a casual or even serious nature.  Material intended for news and current affairs programmes falls outside of the scope of these guideline and is not subject to a permit. 

 

26. Is an application required for taking wedding photos in WKCD?

There is no restriction on wedding photography when photographic activities are undertaken by amateur individuals or groups.  However, commercial wedding photographers wishing to use the park or public areas for photo-shoots are required to register in advance to obtain a one-year permit for which a fee will be charged. 

Organising events

27. Can we organise classes and events in the Park?

Any organised activity or event with more than [30] participants taking place with the Park or other outdoor public area requires approval from the WKCDA before it can proceed. The Park and public open space are envisaged to be welcoming and accessible for all. They should be managed in a way that encourages a wide range of uses and activities within shared spaces, while respecting and balancing the needs of different users.