'Roller-coaster ride' for residents

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 4:29am

It was a day of ups and downs for those living in the To Kwa Wan buildings due to be demolished.

In the morning they were hit with the news that they would not only lose their homes, but would have to pay for their building's demolition as well.

Just hours later, the Urban Renewal Authority came to their rescue by announcing it would shoulder the demolition costs as part of a redevelopment project, adding that residents would receive compensation.

An 82-year-old woman living in one of the buildings became tearful when she received the first round of news in the morning. "How am I going to raise the money?" she said. "I am old."

The woman, who has lived in the building for four decades, became confused when reporters later told her that she would not need to pay demolition costs.

"There have been too many ups and downs in one day. I think I'm going to faint," she said.

Ng Yuk-ying, 48, who has lived in one of the buildings for 10 years, welcomed the decision to launch the redevelopment.

"I was shocked and worried in the morning, but there was better news in the afternoon," she said. "It was like a roller coaster."

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan said the government should have disseminated the information in a better way. "It would have been better if they had announced the arrangements together, so residents wouldn't have been so worried," she said.

But for many, looking for another flat was a bigger concern.

A woman who is renting a 200 sq ft subdivided flat for HK$4,000 a month with her husband and two children, said: "I hope the government will provide us with adequate financial help. It's impossible to find flats for this price nearby."

Some owners of flats in the buildings were happy.

To Man-kin, 63, bought his 106 sq ft subdivided flat for HK$210,000 in 2002. He said he hoped to receive HK$10,000 per square foot in compensation so he can move to the mainland.