Historic wing of police station to be preserved

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am

Yau Ma Tei icon saved from demolition when road is built

The government will preserve the old wing of the historic Yau Ma Tei police station when building the Central Kowloon Route.

The staff quarters in the old wing of the 85-year-old police station had been threatened by demolition to make way for the new route.

Residents of Yau Ma Tei yesterday learned of five alignment options proposed for the section of the Central Kowloon Route through their area.

Four of the routes would avoid the old wing, while the fifth would require work to be done on the foundation during construction, the Highways Department said at a public forum.

However, the Jade Market and part of the clinic next to the police station might be affected. 'The police station's old wing is a building of much historic value,' said Chow Chun-wah, the department's chief engineer.

'After listening to public opinions and studying the engineering feasibilities, we have adjusted our alignment plan and will keep the building intact.'

The Central Kowloon Route, mostly in the form of a tunnel, is intended to link the West Kowloon Reclamation area and the future Kai Tak development.

The Highways Department had originally wanted the high-speed road to run through the staff quarters of the Edwardian-style police station, but that plan was rejected by the public works subcommittee of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee in December 2006.

A poll of Yau Ma Tei residents last year showed that all the respondents wanted to preserve the old wing of the police station, whereas more than 80 per cent agreed to demolish all or part of the new wing.

'This is a victory for the public as the government has finally adopted our views and promised to save the building,' said Yeung Tsz-hei, co-ordinator of the Yau Tsim Mong branch of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

More than 80 residents, concern group members and experts showed up at the public forum, the second since November, to voice their opinions on the proposed road plans.

Dominic Fok Wai-pong, a member of a Temple Street concern group, said most of the plans proposed demolishing the polyclinic next to the police station, inconveniencing residents.

'The polyclinic specialises in sexually transmitted diseases, and it is quite important to the sex workers in the area,' he said.

Many residents were concerned that public facilities would be suspended once the construction work started.

'The post office, library and police station will all be closed by then,' said Chung Kong-mo, chairman of Yau Tsim Mong District Council. 'We hope the government will make a plan about the relocation of these facilities soon.'

The Highways Department will organise a third public forum in Yau Ma Tei in March, and will submit the most popular plan to Legco and the district council later this year.