Lawmakers set Tamar deadline

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am


Lawmakers have set a deadline of August 10 for the contractor to finish interior work at the legislature's new home in Admiralty, which is behind schedule, or they will delay moving in. They also demanded the government improve walkways to the new building and provide more space for the public to demonstrate outside.

They made their demands yesterday after 17 lawmakers inspected the Legislative Council complex at the site of the Royal Navy's HMS Tamar base and held three hours of talks.

Legco president Tsang Yok-sing said all three criteria had to be met before Legco would relocate. 'If the contractor and the government fail to satisfy any requirement we set out, we will not move to the new site this summer,' Tsang said.

He said the timeline had to be met for the premises to be ready for the new legislative year in October. The Legco Secretariat would need about three weeks to test computer and vote-counting systems, meaning that all the construction work had to be done by mid-August.

'The deadline of August 10 is non-negotiable,' he said.

The Legislative Council Commission, which is handling its relocation, would look at contingency plans, he said. Alternatives include postponing the relocation until the end of the year, or relocating part of the secretariat offices to the new site while still holding meetings at the existing building in Central, to which the Court of Final Appeal will move.

If the contractor could meet the deadline, Tsang said the commission would meet before the end of August to discuss whether the government could provide an 'accurate plan' to satisfy lawmakers' demands on access and space for demonstrations.

Tsang had said earlier this month that lawmakers would remain for another year in the Central building if major problems at the Tamar site could not be solved in time.

It is not clear what consequences the contractor would face if the August 10 deadline is not met. The government is in charge of the relocation to Tamar - also the site of its new headquarters - and the lawmakers' demands were directed not to the contractor, but to the government. Jennifer Mak Yee-ming, in charge of overseeing the work for the government, said she expected construction to proceed as scheduled.