Mui Wo 'only option' for drug rehab site

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2009, 12:00am

Exco member Lau Wong-fat has hinted that the government regards Mui Wo as the only viable option for a drug rehabilitation school that is seeking bigger premises.

At a meeting of the Heung Yee Kuk yesterday, which Mr Lau chairs, he said Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen had replied a day earlier on a list of alternative sites the kuk proposed for Christian Zheng Sheng College.

He said the rural group would hold a sub-committee meeting next week to discuss the government's reply.

Last month, the kuk proposed more than 10 sites for the government to consider as alternatives for the college's proposal to move to a vacant secondary school in Mui Mo. The idea has upset many residents.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lau said the government had explained in a letter why the kuk's sites were unsuitable. Asked if this meant that the Mui Wo site would be the only viable option, Mr Lau replied: 'There is such an implication.'

But the kuk would continue negotiations over the alternatives. Mr Lau said: 'They [the government] did not accept [our suggestions], but we have the right to appeal. If they still find our counter-arguments invalid and turn them down again, then we will have to accept it.'

He added that opposition from Mui Wo residents had cooled and they were now more willing to talk.

Mr Lau said he hoped the row could be settled by the end of the year, but he declined to give a timetable for the talks.

Alman Chan Siu-cheuk, the college principal, said they would welcome a meeting with the kuk to resolve the row. He said they had expressed their views to the government and identified the Mui Wo site as being much more suitable than the ones put forward by the kuk.

'As an applicant [for the Mui Wo school], our role is limited and it is up to the government to make their decision for our relocation request,' he said. 'But I believe all the parties truly want to solve the problem.'