Kindergarten tweaks plan for relocation

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 September, 2011, 12:00am


Facing the threat of a shutdown by its landlord and hurdles in its efforts to move, a Kowloon Tong kindergarten is taking another crack at getting official approval for a relocation to nearby Essex Crescent.

A person who has been assisting York English Primary School & Kindergarten said the school plans to resubmit a plan this week with tweaks meant to address the objections of neighbours.

Last month, the school bowed to neighbourhood pressure and withdrew an earlier plan.

To allay fears of increasing traffic, the new plan would delay the start of classes by half an hour to avoid peak hours and require all pupils to take school buses, keeping private cars from congesting streets in the area.

The school is urging authorities to grant temporary approval for the new campus for 18 months.

The school's 400 pupils are facing possible eviction just weeks after the beginning of term, as the landlord of the existing campus has warned the site could undergo redevelopment as early as October, according to teacher Wong Wai-shing.

Wong, the vice-chairman of the Federation of Education Workers, has been assisting the Kowloon Tong school with the relocation.

Wong said the landlord is only willing to give a buffer period of two months despite delays in the process of changing the use of the building on Essex Crescent slated to become the new school campus.

Parents are concerned.

Gordon Lam, father of a child in K2, worries that if the new building is not approved, parents will have to quickly find a new kindergarten for their children.

'That is a big issue, because where am I going to find another kindergarten three months after school has started?' he said. 'Or do I keep my child at home for eight months to redo the same grade next year?'

'We thought it was all going to be resolved by September 1 and our children would start the school year at the new location,' Lam's wife, KoKo Ho, said. 'We are so worried. The government shouldn't take this long.

'This should have been resolved before the school year started. The kids shouldn't have to adjust to a new building two months into the school year.'

The parents said they were told before the summer the kindergarten would be moving to the new building on Essex Crescent and had expected to start the school year in the new building.

The Education Bureau said yesterday the government would help relocate pupils to other schools if necessary. It said the landlord had agreed to let pupils stay while the school's application is processed.