• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 6:10pm
NewsHong Kong

1,100 public flats in Kwun Tong get green light

Rare victory for government as district council approves project despite concerns over impact

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:37am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:45am

A public housing project in Kwun Tong has received approval from district councillors despite grave concerns over the impact on traffic and the net loss of about 1,000 square metres of open space.

The development on Hiu Ming Street got the go-ahead despite local opposition to the government's plans to rezone areas in other districts for public flats.

Earlier, councillors in districts including Kwai Tsing, Sham Shui Po and Tai Po had opposed rezoning community and green belt sites for public flats.

"We back the project because of the greater social demand for more public flats," Kwun Tong council chairman Dr Bunny Chan Chung-bun said yesterday.

"But I really hope the government will present to us in one go all housing projects being planned in the next two years."

Chan and other councillors criticised the government for presenting various small housing projects for approval at different times in the past year.

"The traffic may become much more congested if every project adds 1,000 residents," pro-establishment councillor Cheung Ki-tang said.

The approved proposal will see an 11,300 square metre site redeveloped between 2016 and 2021 to yield 1,100 flats accommodating 3,000 residents.

The land is occupied by three tennis courts, a green slope and a children's playground on Hiu Ming Street, as well as a basketball court and part of another playground on Hiu Kwong Street.

The courts will be moved to become part of the Hiu Ming Street playground, while a new children's playing facility will be provided on a podium garden in the new public housing estate.

Housing Authority senior architect Alan Hui Bing-chiu admitted some 1,000 square metres of open space would be lost.

Independent councillor Patrick Lai Shu-ho raised the concerns of schools and residents of private blocks nearby, over noise pollution and the impact on traffic. "Four schools are located along Hiu Ming Street, which is a dead end," Lai said. "A small traffic accident will paralyse the area and school activities."

Hui said an initial traffic study found the project's potential impact acceptable. New bridges and escalators would connect the area to Kwun Tong centre.



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In 1995, through a friend I was summoned to Hong Kong by a Hong Kong businessman who owned an industrial property in Kwun Tong. He gave me a mission to convert the property for commercial use. And he would offer me 1 million US dollar for my effort which he encouraged me saying with the money I could buy a house in Long Island and retired.
After three days with one trip to the Department of Building and many meals with the businessman I finally said to him I couldn’t accept his generosity because I had no confidence it would be possible to make a lease conversion with the Hong Kong government.
My farewell with him was not really a termination of our relationship. Later, I did help him to block up a vacant property that he had in New York City. I guess he trusted me I could deliver with my professionalism as an architect.
You know, I don’t know when KwunTong would be rezoned for commercial. The politics of it is impenetrable. It blew my becoming a millionaire chance.


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