Road threatens staff quarters at historic police station

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am

Part of the historic Yau Ma Tei Police Station could be demolished and the nearby jade market - a tourist draw - forced to move to make way for the proposed Central Kowloon Route.

A government source said the four-lane road, which would connect the West Kowloon reclamation area with the future Kai Tak development, would run through the police station's staff quarters.

The station's main block, a grade-three historical building built in 1925, would stay.

'The works departments involved will be asked to conduct a building heritage impact assessment report on this project,' said the source, who noted that the staff quarters were built in the 1960s and not heritage-listed.

'Several government departments concerned with cultural heritage have held strong reservations about this route,' the source added.

The Highways Department will seek HK$99 million from the Legislative Council's public works subcommittee on Tuesday for the project's design and site investigation. The government has been studying the route since 1998.

Louis Ng Chi-wa, an assistant director of Leisure and Cultural Services Department, said: 'We are aware of the construction project. The issue will be examined by the Antiquities Advisory Board.'

Kwok Ka-ki said he and fellow lawmakers would try to block the funding request. 'The government has said nothing about the relocation of the jade market and the demolition of part of the police station in its funding request. I hope it can explain why they have to demolish our heritage again.'

Mr Kwok said there was no point just keeping the main block of the police station and knocking down the rest. 'This is a compound that should be kept as a whole,' he said.

Ng Po-shan, a Yau Tsim Mong district councillor, said officials told her the new jade market site would be nearby. 'We learned a lesson from the Star Ferry pier. We must now stand up and say 'no'.'

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun said it would be wrong to proceed with the plan. 'Unlike Star Ferry, the government should have enough time to think about this project again,' he said.