No holes barred in bid for cheap public flats

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 12:00am

New public housing units will not be provided with front-door metal gates under a Housing Authority cost-saving plan, the Legislative Council was told yesterday.

Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said in a written reply that the measure was approved in June and covered all new public rental flats, including those under planning or construction.

A front-door metal gate costs several thousand dollars to buy and install, depending on quality.

Mr Suen said Home Ownership Scheme flats that were now to be rented were also included in the new plan.

He was referring to a question from Democratic Party member Ho Chun-yan about why metal gates were not provided for new units in Tsz Wan Shan and Tin Shui Wai.

'The newly completed public housing estates referred to were originally Home Ownership Scheme developments,' Mr Ho said.

'They were converted to public rental housing following cessation of Home Ownership Scheme sales. Flats in estates converted from Home Ownership Scheme are not equipped with metal gates.'

Mr Suen did not reply to Mr Ho's question about how much the new plan was expected to save.

Under the cost-saving measures, paint instead of tiles will be used to decorate the walls of estate corridors and intelligent energy-saving systems will be installed in new estates to monitor public lighting and energy consumption.

Mr Ho asked whether residents had complained about the cost cuts, but according to Mr Suen's bureau, no complaints had been made.

Mr Suen said that tenants might consider installing alternative gates that might comply with Housing Department guidelines but were less expensive than the gates found in most homes.