Hawker stalls revamp to improve fire safety

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 September, 2012, 6:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 September, 2012, 6:08pm

The government is planning a HK$200 million grant scheme to improve fire safety at more than 4,000 hawker stalls in light of last year’s deadly blaze in Mong Kok, the health chief said on Monday.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the programme would cover 4,300 stalls in 43 fixed-pitch hawker areas across the city – most of which are adjacent to residential, commercial and mixed-use buildings.

According to a preliminary plan, hawkers will receive grants to renovate their stalls – reducing fire risks and better suiting their operational needs.

Hawkers who relocate their stalls to reduce fire risks to nearby buildings will be given ex-gratia payments.

There will also be a voluntary licence surrender scheme, under which hawkers who close their business and turn in their licences will receive ex-gratia payments.

Ko unveiled the scheme after visiting fixed-pitch hawker areas in Bowring Street, Jordan, and Marble Road, North Point, on Monday.

He said the programme would help to improve the appearance and design of hawker stalls, as well as the operating environment of hawker areas.

“Through the scheme, members of the public will be able to shop at the hawker areas in a more comfortable and safe environment,” he said.

The blaze in Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, killed nine people and injured 34 in November last year. It was the city’s deadliest fire in 15 years.