Carrie Lam reflects on 'sensitivity'
The development minister told lawmakers yesterday she would reflect on her political sensitivity and relationship with advisory bodies after being criticised for ignoring heritage advisers in handling the redevelopment of Government Hill.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was asked why she announced the amended redevelopment plan for the west wing, a former government office building in Central, before the Antiquities Advisory Board's members were to vote on its historic rating.
On June 14, Lam said demolition of the 52-year-old west wing would go ahead under a build-operate-transfer model, with the government retaining ownership of the new building to preserve the integrity of the former headquarters. A private developer would build and then operate it for a specified period before returning it.
Lawmakers criticised her for not respecting the heritage system.
'Your action has undermined the importance of the board ... it's not fair to the board's chairman and the members,' Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat said.
But Lam said: 'I feel wronged. I hoped to clear the unnecessary political anxiety [among board members]. But I will review my political sensitivity and the relationship with advisory bodies.'
The west wing controversy led to the sudden resignation of board chairman Bernard Chan, who was accused of colluding with the government when he cast the deciding vote to recommend a grade two status - which does not protect a building from demolition.
A week later, Chan withdrew his resignation, citing a need for unity.