Baptist University chief still ready to quit if hospital site is used for flats

Baptist University chief puts job on the line in fight to stop coveted site being used for flats

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 4:41pm

Baptist University's president yesterday repeated his vow to step down if a site in Kowloon Tong identified for the university's Chinese medicine hospital is instead used for luxury flats.

Professor Albert Chan Sun-chi made his remarks ahead of a Town Planning Board meeting next month that will discuss the government's request to rezone the former Lee Wai Lee campus away from education use. Some 28,800 people - including many students and academics at the university - have written to the board opposing the plan, with just eight expressing support.

Chan also questioned the government's planned traditional Chinese medicine hospital in Tseung Kwan O. He said the proposal would not serve the same educational purpose as the hospital his university plans.

Chan's term expires next year and he refused to say whether the hospital would be an issue in contract renewal talks.

Asked about his earlier pledge to quit if the rezoning was accepted, Chan said: "As an educator, one has to hold himself accountable to the principles of education. Therefore, any pledges will have to be honoured."

But he expressed high hopes that the board would shun the government's request.

"I have strong confidence ... that the board members possess the wisdom to make a good decision [as] the place is just not suitable for luxury flats."

Speaking at the university's Lunar New Year celebration, Chan said the university would put to the board a new plan including a student activity building along with the hospital and 1,700-bed dormitory.

He said the development would benefit local residents, as well as the university.

On Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's announcement last month of a Chinese medicine hospital in Tseung Kwan O, Chan welcomed the idea but was not sure it was what the city needed.

"Chinese medical practitioners nurtured by local universities need a good place in Hong Kong to take up internships," he said. "Therefore, a teaching hospital is much needed."

The Town Planning Board meeting is expected to take place on March 10.