Glare of three-storey advertising sign toned down, says mall operator

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 February, 2011, 12:00am

Developers of The One shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui say they have toned down a three-storey-high LED advertising sign on top of their building, but owners of flats in The Masterpiece say they will not be satisfied until it is lights-off altogether.

A representative of the owners - who have threatened to take what might be Hong Kong's first legal action against a source of alleged light pollution - says they are not impressed by changes the mall's developers say they have made.

The Masterpiece is a 67-storey luxury residential block about 250 metres away from the 29-storey The One shopping mall, which opened in October. Since the mall opened, owners of flats in The Masterpiece say the sign's glare has scared off potential tenants and led to a 40 per cent drop in rentals.

Chinese Estates Group, the developer of The One, said yesterday it began exploring relief measures after receiving a complaint about light pollution from flat owners in November.

These measures included substantially dimming the brightness of the colourful signboard after 6pm, and further lowering the intensity after 9pm, when only still images and non-flashing advertising messages were shown.

The signboard background had gone from colour to black after 9pm, the company said, and all lights were switched off after midnight.

'The measures were explored immediately after the complaint and I suppose they were introduced around December,' a group spokeswoman said. 'As to the degree of improvement, it is all technical details that we can't provide now.'

Asked if the company would consider further measures if property owners at The Masterpiece were still not satisfied, the spokeswoman said they could not tell at this stage.

Chinese Estates Group relayed its changes to the Environmental Protection Department but had yet to reply to the property management firm for The Masterpiece.

Chiu Mung-ngor, a flat owner who is heading a campaign against the signboard, questioned whether the improvements were as substantial as The One claimed.

She said the lights were actually being kept switched on for longer since she filed a complaint in November. They used to be turned off at 9pm, but since then they had been turned off only after midnight.

'The sharp colours might have gone a bit and the frequency of flashing lights might be less, but they do not change the fact that there is still a giant LED television out there facing your property directly,' she said.