Kwai Chung residents up in arms over columbarium's 'illegal' rooftop stage

Kwai Chung residents lodge complaints over bamboo shelter for Taoist rituals on rooftop

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 4:29am

Disputes between Kwai Chung residents and a private columbarium have worsened after fresh complaints were filed over a temporary rooftop structure.

The columbarium, Hong Dao Tang, recently erected on its roof a 100 square metre bamboo shelter where it held Taoist rituals.

But the structure and its activities drew anger from residents and politicians who have for years been fighting against the facility which they claim is a fire hazard and an environmental nuisance.

"The columbarium is at the back of a refuelling station. There will be a real danger if the ritual or incense offering burnt anything," said Kwai Chung district councillor Leung Chi-shing.

Leung yesterday filed a complaint against the columbarium's new structure and activities with the Buildings Department.

A tenant in an industrial building next to Hong Dao Tang also complained about ashes and smells from the rituals and incense urns.

Mike Fan Chun-wah, a spokesman for Hong Dao Tang, said the stage was not illegal. "Many people erect this temporary structure … We hire qualified builders for it and the structure is safe," he said.

Fan said the columbarium was also awaiting a tribunal hearing over an accusation that its incense-burning installations on the rooftop were unauthorised.

The matter arose from politicians' allegations more than two years ago, he said, claiming that the Fire Services and Environmental Protection departments had agreed that the installations were safe and clean.

The columbarium is listed by the Development Bureau as breaching land and planning regulations, but the columbarium has filed a writ in the High Court seeking a declaration that the site was for religious purposes and could be used for urn storage.