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New Year’s wishes. And promises

A culturally sustainable city is IC’s wish for the year ahead. The cultural bureau’s nearly half a billion pataca-budget for 2016 was a good start, but it has not prevented the shipyards in Coloane from falling apart

“Culture is key to sustainable development,” said Guilherme Ung Vai Meng, the departing President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), regarding the group’s plans for this year and into the future. The comments came at the IC’s Spring Luncheon for the Year of the Rooster, held last Friday at the Grand Lisboa Hotel. During the encounter, the group presented a review of its 2016 activities and accomplishments in the field of the arts, heritage, and culture, in addition to highlights of some of the initiatives planned for 2017, to members of the Cultural Consultative Committee, the Cultural Heritage Committee, as well as representatives of local media and news agencies, in Chinese, English, and Portuguese.
“This year, we will continue to deepen and expand the cooperation with other governmental departments and organizations, working together to develop and improve cultural activities,” Ung highlighted to the attendees.
Accompanied by the two IC Vice-Presidents, Leung Hio Ming (the cultural bureau’s next President) and Chan Peng Fai, Ung updated media on the sidelines of the event, noting two matters to be tackled regarding the Coloane shipyards: structure and content.
“As for the planning, it is divided in two parts, one part is about the revitalization of the site, and another part is about its consolidation, the technical work necessary to strengthen the structure, because the facilities are currently in a dangerous state,” said Ung.
In response to Business Daily’s queries, the President explained that in accordance to an agreement with the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), the IC had already delivered a conclusive opinion on the condition of the site to the bureau in 2012/2013. “Currently we have not yet received new demands from DSSOPT,” he noted.
“First, we will reinforce the structure, trying, as far as possible, to keep the original appearance of the initial shipyard structure. The direction to follow is to preserve what is possible from the previous image and history of the site. Then, once the facilities are safer, we will proceed to invite people from different sectors to see the work.”
The IC President added, however, that since they haven’t received permission to enter the site, they are unable to examine it accordingly, so as to issue an opinion about the amount of technical work required in order to restore and place the site in safe condition.

No more shops, please
Regarding the three structures that will remain standing, that is, a shipyard and two stilt-houses, after the other ten or so are demolished, the IC President explained that the cultural bureau has, since the beginning, pledged to avoid pursuing “commercial plans” for the site.
“We don’t want to transform the site into a commercial area, for instance, by converting it into a street with shops selling souvenirs. And for that reason we are still awaiting more questions or consulting on the part of DSSOPT.”
Questioned about the development of a museum that would celebrate the maritime history of the site, Ung Vai Meng replied that such a decision falls under the scope of the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
As to why no works have been carried out on the area since 2012, when IC delivered its opinion, until now, this question remained unanswered.
Regarding the new central library, Ung noted that: “our team is ready and in terms of the chosen location, we will later provide more explanations to the public. In the third and fourth quarters of 2016, we received lots of questions from citizens and from different sectors. Overall, opinions were positive and we expect work on the new central library to be launched as soon as possible.”
The Macau SAR Government disbursed a total of MOP445.46 million to fund activities of the cultural bureau for the whole year of 2016, according to a report in the Government Address for the 2016 Fiscal Year.