Peace and quiet plea

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 January, 1997, 12:00am

I read the letter from Paul Turner (South China Morning Post, January 27), with a strong sense of empathy.

In my flat in Heng Fa Chuen, six out of the eight units on my floor have changed ownership since November, 1994, when I moved in.

On each occasion, the new owners have their flats fully renovated and those of us living on the same floor, or immediately above or below, suffer.

There are two kinds of torture - 1) the sound of machinery and tools such as drills and the shouts of workers and, 2) the smell of thinner when applying paints.

Whenever workers are involved in the renovation work, I have to move my baby boy (now seven months old) from the house.

A large portion of this renovation work could be done off-site. For example, many cupboards, wardrobes, kitchen sets could be manufactured in factories before being fixed on-site.

What the workers need is to make the correct measurements beforehand. Cutting of raw materials such as wood tiles, fabrics and painting of materials, can be done anywhere. However, most local renovation contractors want to make everything on site, because they find it convenient.

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) should impose a licensing system. This licence would give the contractor a short period of days for using machinery generating a lot of noise and the use of irritating agents such as thinner. Contractors wanting to operate beyond this period would have to pay a heavy levy.

My suggestion may not be popular with contractors, house owners wanting to renovate or the EPD, with an increase in workload. But it is time Hong Kong people were allowed to enjoy a quiet and peaceful living environment.