Hong Kong may see first high-rise columbarium in Kwai Chung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 5:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 10:47am

A disused factory may soon become the site of the city's first high-rise, high-density columbarium - provided a plan by the factory's owners is given the nod.

The application to change the use of the 799 square metre site at 2-6 Wing Lap Street, Kwai Chung, will be tabled to the Town Planning Board's metro planning committee tomorrow. The proposal requires the board and relevant authorities' approval.

The 20-storey columbarium called Le Fabergé will feature 50,000 niches and help relieve the city's shortage of urn places. Twelve levels will house the niches, and the others will include a library and a museum.

The site is located next to the Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery and the Kwai Chung Crematorium and Columbarium. Together with three earlier-proposed columbarium sites in Kwai Chung and another rezoning application, the proposal, if approved, will bring the district's number of graves, niches and memorial plaques to 240,425.

But the application still has a number of hurdles to go through to secure official permission.

The government has raised major concerns over traffic and crowd management, given the proposed development's density, especially during the Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals, when Chinese people worship their ancestors.

In their proposal, the factory owners have suggested introducing an electronic booking system during peak festival periods, requiring visitors to make reservations in advance.

The building's design has also caused concern. Its original design, which had a reflective domed glass roof, was amended after the Lands Department said it might be inappropriate in a predominantly Chinese community. The Planning Department has given the application its partial agreement.