District councils set to lose vetting powers

The government on Wednesday revealed plans to suspend district councils’ power to examine funding requests for community activities and minor works projects, after some local councils were paralysed by mass resignations or the disqualifications of their members.

The city’s 18 district councils had been responsible for proposing and endorsing sports, cultural activities, celebrations, as well as small works projects such as the building of benches and sitting-out areas.

But in a paper submitted to the legislature, the administration said district councillors might no longer be able to perform such duties, with less than half of them remaining in office at present.

“With a significant proportion of DC seats remaining vacant, the current arrangement of having to seek DCs’ endorsement for all such projects has become untenable,” the government said.

“The public may also consider it unfair and unreasonable to leave the interest of their community to a very small minority of DC members.”

Under the proposed new arrangement, the Home Affairs Department and their district offices as well as the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will be responsible for proposing initiatives for funding under the community involvement and district minor works programmes.

The Department of Home Affairs will then oversee and decide whether to approve those funding applications.

The Legislative Council will discuss the matter during a panel meeting on Monday.