Long-time residents left in dark over renovation plans

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2008, 12:00am

Yam Kwok-chu, 88, has been living in a ground-floor flat in the Blue House since he was a boy. When the government pledged to allow the long-term residents to stay in their homes, he wondered where he could live while it was renovated.

'We do not know the details - how much rent we are to pay afterwards and where we should go if the building needs to be refurbished,' he said.

Mr Yam received the Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in his 800 square foot home last month when she held talks with the residents. 'She asked me why I wanted to live there. I told her, 'I like living here. The things that really cost money are antiquities, not the objects that resemble antiquities'.'

Mr Yam has been fighting to stay at the Blue House since the Housing Authority and Urban Renewal Authority announced plans to turn it into a tourist attraction last year. He is sceptical about the promises to residents.

He urged the government to disclose details as soon as possible on how the residents would be assisted regardless of how the Blue House was revitalised. 'I hope my home and my lifestyle will remain as they are. I hope the later generations will know how the old people in Wan Chai lived during those hard times.'

A Development Bureau spokesman said a principle of the revitalisation project was that the residents could choose to stay. 'We have not come to the details as to how the residents would be assisted if there is a need to renovate. But we will see what we can do to help them,' he said.


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