Legco's new home fails to win lawmakers' vote

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2011, 12:00am

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A day after legislators bade farewell to the old legislature building in Central in a jolly, noisy ceremony, they found their new home in the Tamar complex not quite ready for them - and were not sure when or if it would be ready to their satisfaction.

A key concern is that there is no way for the public to access the Legislative Council offices without passing through government headquarters.

After a tour to inspect the progress of work on the building yesterday, some lawmakers said there should have been a bridge directly between the neighbouring Citic Tower and the new Legco premises.

At present, two pedestrian bridges link the new government headquarters with Admiralty MTR station and with Citic Tower.

Under the layout originally submitted to legislators, people would have been able enter the Legco building through its front entrance to the north. But lawmakers were told recently the front entrance would not be available by the time they moved to Tamar and that the future of the original plan was uncertain.

'We insisted that the government and Legco buildings should be clearly separated, so that people don't get confused. The government and Legco are independent of each other,' said Professor Patrick Lau Sau-shing, one of the 16 lawmakers on the tour. 'I suggest a pedestrian bridge be built so that people can go directly from Citic Tower to Legco.'

Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah shared this view. But government officials had told lawmakers the construction of such a bridge could take three years, he said.

Unionist lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said the space for protests was too small and accidents might occur on escalators if the crowd was large.

Legco president Tsang Yok-sing said some slopes were rather steep, which would make access to the new Legco building inconvenient for people using wheelchairs.