Space urged for activities in public blocks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 June, 2009, 12:00am

A legislator has asked the Housing Authority to spare one or two floors in public-housing blocks for tenants to hold communal activities.

At a meeting yesterday of the Legislative Council housing panel, lawmakers asked for more creative building designs to enhance tenants' quality of life.

Legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee said high-rise public blocks were too crowded and there should be more communal space in buildings for tenants' gatherings or other activities. 'It is not unusual to see public blocks 40 to 50 storeys tall nowadays. There should not be a big problem to spare one or two floors for tenants to have gatherings. Or they can simply use the space to hang out their clothes to dry.'

Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng, who is also the Housing Authority chairwoman, expressed reservations about the idea. 'We have to be very careful because there is a need for us to make the most use of the land.'

Panel members also wanted improvements to new estate buildings' designs to be incorporated into older public blocks. But officials said it could be too costly and too difficult to do so.

Among new design initiatives is a twin-tank water system, aimed at addressing complaints about long suspension of water supplies during tank clean-ups. The extra tank will guarantee continuity of supply during cleaning or repairs on the other.

The new designs apply to new estates only. Legislators in general welcomed the move, but criticised the authority for overlooking existing tenants. Mr Fung said: 'Old estates where most tenants are old people need the improvements the most.'