Baptist University gets council backing in Kowloon land use battle
Kowloon housing committee also opposes government bid to rezone site to build flats
A council committee has joined the Baptist University's bid to block a government plan to sell a Kowloon Tong site for private housing.
The housing and infrastructure committee of the Kowloon City District Council said it opposed the proposal to rezone the site on Renfrew Road from government, institution and community use to residential use.
"We don't want to see it turned into private luxury homes," committee chairman Lo Chiu-kit said. "The government should widely consult the community over the land's use. It should hear the people's view, instead of bureaus' views."
The university opposes the sale because it wants to wants to build a Chinese medicine teaching hospital on the site, which is adjacent to its campus.
Kowloon district planning officer Fiona Lung Siu-yuk said the land would provide 500 units of 800 sq ft.
"It is not a luxury housing project like a detached house," she said. "It will be an apartment block. This kind of housing will address the needs of, say, families with new kids who want to change to a bigger home."
But councillors were not convinced.
"In Kowloon Tong, you can't buy a home of 800 sq ft without HK$20 million," Lau Wai-wing said. "If it's not for ordinary people's housing needs, I won't agree to rezone."
The site was put into the government land sale programme last month, before the Town Planning Board had completed a public consultation over the land's use. The board will rule on the rezoning proposal after the consultation ends in April.
Before the council met yesterday, about 100 students, staff members and alumni of the university staged a protest.
The university has threatened class boycotts and a judicial review if the site is rezoned.
While all councillors of the committee yesterday opposed the rezoning, not all supported the university's plans. Some wanted to use the site for community facilities. The neighbourhood lacks an indoor sports complex, an activity centre and a residential elderly home with subsidised places, Ho Hin-ming said.
The Legislative Council's education panel will discuss the case next Monday.