Interim housing block faces wrecker's ball

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 August, 2008, 12:00am

An interim housing block that has stood for 36 years has been earmarked for demolition in 2010 to make way for public housing.

Concrete surfaces and reinforcement bars in parts of Block 12 of Kwai Shing East Estate, which is 76 per cent vacant, have been found to be seriously corroded upon inspection by the Housing Authority.

Although experts concluded it was structurally safe, the maintenance costs to sustain the block for a further 15 years were estimated at about HK$40 million, making repairs financially unfeasible.

The authority's commercial properties committee and subsidised housing committee yesterday discussed clearance arrangements for 197 households still living in the 824-unit block.

An authority spokesman said most would be offered public housing and others were expected to be rehoused in other interim housing flats. The affected tenants would be given 18 months for rehousing and granted a removal allowance of HK$2,907 to HK$10,276, depending on the size of the household.

'Members at the meeting agreed that deserving households with special grounds and justifications, including recommendations by the Social Welfare Department, may be considered on their individual merits for rehousing in public rental housing flats,' the spokesman said.

The authority came under fire for high vacancy rates in four interim blocks, including the Kwai Shing East one, from the Audit Commission in October 2006. It recommended converting the Kwai Shing East block for 'other beneficial uses'.

The Kwai Shing East block had been used for public housing, but was converted into interim housing in 1995 for people who were cleared from squats and ineligible for public housing.