Coupons fail to spark interest in URA poll

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 May, 2009, 12:00am

Urban Renewal Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, who this year started its first study into the impact of redevelopment projects on residents, said an offer of supermarket coupons failed to encourage participation in the survey.

'The study tried to locate residents and identify the problems they were facing,' Mr Cheung said.

But he said the pilot study, which included a survey of people who previously lived in old buildings in Sham Shui Po's Hai Tan, Kweilin and Pei Ho Streets, had encountered challenges.

Of the 784 households affected, only about 10 responded to the survey. Among those, some elderly residents complained that their living expenses had risen since they had moved out.

'A supermarket coupon was sent out to those who participated in the survey,' Mr Cheung said. 'Still, they showed little interest.'

The authority is considering offering other incentives to residents.

'We will continue the study,' he added. 'The next one will be in Kwun Tong.'

Ho Hei-wah, a member of the government's steering committee on urban renewal strategy, said tracking studies were important for improving the renewal process.

'The authority needs figures to prove whether it has done a good job or not,' he said. 'A tracking study will tell whether residents live a better life after going through the redevelopment process.'

Wong Chun, a watch repairer affected by a Tai Kok Tsui redevelopment project, said business had fallen by 40 per cent since his shop was moved from a tenement building to a small shopping mall.

He said he hoped the authority would learn from his experience and improve the planning of future renewal projects.

'I used to give my wife HK$10,000 a month and still have savings for yum cha and betting on horses,' he said. 'Now I can only give her HK$6,000 and have no savings at all.'

Mr Wong said he had lost his customers, who used to live in the tenement buildings but had now moved to other districts.

'In the old days, car owners would stop by and ask me to fix a watch for them because our shop was close to a road,' he said.