HK$227m to upgrade historic sites

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 April, 2010, 12:00am

Services provided at two revitalised heritage sites will be reasonably priced and special offers will be given to elderly and low-income groups, says the Development Bureau, which will seek more than HK$227 million to repair the buildings.

Its funding request, to go before the Legislative Council in June, seeks HK$202.3 million to turn Mei Ho House in Shek Kip Mei into a hostel and HK$25.1 million to transform Lui Seng Chun in Sham Shui Po into a traditional Chinese medicine centre. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2012.

Mei Ho House, the last remaining building of the Shek Kip Mei Estate, was among the first six-storey resettlement blocks built in 1954 after the Shek Kip Mei fire left 50,000 squatters homeless.

The bureau said half the money would be spent on strengthening the building. 'The building's structure is now very dilapidated. At that time, construction was rushed so as to settle the affected residents as early as possible,' a bureau spokesman said.

The H-shaped building, to be run by the Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association, will have a 129 dormitory beds with kitchen, a museum on public housing, communal space and a sitting-out area. The spokesman said the association could charge about HK$500 for a double room, which he described as reasonable.

Former residents of the estate will be invited to be tour guides, explaining the living and social environment of public housing to visitors.

Special offers for the elderly and low-income groups are being considered by Baptist University for Lui Seng Chun - one of the city's oldest tenements, built in 1931 - which it is turning into a Chinese medicine centre. Its facilities will include a herbal tea shop, an exhibition area, acupuncture and bone-setting consultation rooms, and a garden of Chinese medicinal herbs on the roof.