Appeals board hearing passes quietly

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 March, 2011, 12:00am

Despite public concerns, an appeal hearing against the Ma Tau Wai redevelopment in To Kwa Wan, the first of its kind under the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance, was quietly held earlier this month.

Under the ordinance, the hearing should be held in public. The secretary to the appeals board panel said the hearing's date and venue was announced - on a page hidden in the Development Bureau's website.

The secretary declined to disclose how many members of the public attended or whether other efforts were made to inform people about the hearing. It was held to deal with a group of residents who opposed the project and hoped to be included in it. The appeal, which was held on March 2 and 4 in the Murray Building in Central, delayed the project by three months.

The Urban Renewal Authority announced the project after a tenement in Ma Tau Wai Road collapsed a year ago, killing four people. The project covers 3,380 square metres and is bounded by Ma Tau Wai Road, Hok Yuen Street and Chun Tin Street.

In reply to a South China Morning Post inquiry, the board's secretary said 10 of the 12 people involved in the appeal had withdrawn. The two remaining owners who want shop-for-shop compensation instead of cash will continue to oppose the plan.

'The appeals board is in the process of preparing the decision and it will be published on the board's homepage,' said the secretary, who is appointed by the Development Bureau. Mediation specialist Chan Bing-woon was appointed chairman of the panel.