Montessori school told to leave Tin Hau campus
An international school could be kicked out of its campus in two years as a result of the government's plan to subsidise organisations to build hostels for young people.
The International Montessori School is on a site belonging to the Construction Association, which told the school last month it planned to build a youth hostel.
The association earlier this year renewed the school's lease until 2014.
The Federation of Youth Groups said it hoped to co-operate with the association to build a 1,000-unit hostel at the site in Temple Street, Tin Hau.
Last month Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced a HK$1 billion plan to build 3,000 hostel units for young people.
The government would pay the construction costs of the units on land granted to NGOs.
Single people aged 18 to 35 will be eligible to apply for a unit for up to five years if they earn no more than HK$17,000 a month and do not own property. There will also be a small quota for married couples.
The rents will be set at no more than 60 per cent of the market rate.
Anne Sawyer, a founder of the Montessori school, said the association had renewed the lease earlier this year but told the school last month of its plan to turn the site into a youth hostel.
The school had been talking to the association, but Sawyer hoped the government would step in to help it stay on the site.
'I hope they will solve one social problem without making things worse,' she said, referring to the lack of international school places in the city.
The site houses the school's primary section, which has about 300 pupils. It has moved three times since it was established a decade ago.
The school moved into its present site in 2010 after the Buildings Contractors' Association School closed in 2007.
Sawyer said she hoped the government would understand that 'two years for parents is a very short period of time' to relocate, and would give them a permanent home.
A spokeswoman for the Federation of Youth Groups said it had yet to come up with concrete plans for the Tin Hau project as it was still waiting for the Construction Association to firm up the leasing proposal.
The association said it leased the land from the government in the 1950s, and the lease expired in 2028.
It did not respond directly to why it planned to build a youth hostel after renewing the lease, but said it was extended 'to allow more time'.
The Home Affairs Bureau said it was discussing the hostel project with several NGOs and had noted that the Montessori school's concerns. The plan was still at an exploratory stage and the units would not be built for a few years, it said.