Subjected to piledriving at close quarters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 1996, 12:00am

We sympathise with the writer of the letter headlined, 'Wrong to make residents endure dreadful noise' (South China Morning Post, May 13).

We are part of a group of residents of more than 100 flats on the Chinese University campus who are being subjected to piledriving, at very close quarters (in some cases within 15 metres), for five hours a day, six days a week. Not only is the noise overwhelming (it affects every room of one's flat, with accompanying vibration), the flat is filled with smoke and diesel fumes from the two piledrivers.

This goes on from Monday through Saturday, on a highly disruptive schedule of 8am to 9am, 12pm to 2pm and 4.30pm to 6pm. Because of this we are forced to vacate our premises three times a day. As your previous writer noted, babies, young children, old people and domestic helpers are adversely affected in such conditions. In our case, so are the numerous families who work in their flats, primarily for teaching, research and writing.

Residents of the surrounding buildings are irate over this project.

The university has guaranteed housing to all concerned, but this housing has been made uninhabitable for a period of at least two months. Only two weeks' advance notice was given concerning the piling operation, and no possibility of alternative housing arrangements was offered.

In fact the rationale for piling is questionable, as there are several quieter ways of erecting these buildings.

The university has thus far turned a deaf ear to the numerous complaints which the project has aroused.

A public university could be expected to provide a positive example to the community, in matters of environmental consciousness and quality of life. Instead, the Chinese University has proceeded with a highly disruptive project which inflicts high levels of noise and air pollution on nearby residents, apparently with no strong justification.

We deplore the university's mistreatment of its own staff members and also question the effectiveness of current environmental regulations, since the Environmental Protection Department has seemingly approved this project without objection.