Controversial Hong Kong urns store faces legal challenge if it is approved

Federation of Trade Unions open to judicial review over plans for 82,000 niches at Chai Wan warehouse

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 11:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 11:20pm

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions does not rule out lodging a judicial challenge against a controversial private columbarium in Chai Wan if it is approved.

The Town Planning Board will on September 30 discuss Kerry Logistics’ proposal to convert an old warehouse on Ka Yip Street into a 15-storey complex with 82,000 urn niches.

“If the board agrees to a plan that blatantly goes against what residents want, we do not rule out filing a judicial review to ­overthrow the decision,” FTU ­lawmaker-elect Kwok Wai-keung said Tuesday.

Residents and district councillors have been up in arms since Kerry submitted its initial ­proposal in March last year, citing concerns over traffic congestion during grave-sweeping festivals.

The FTU said it had amassed at least 10,000 letters from residents opposing the development.

In face of the opposition, Kerry pledged to reserve 10,000 niches for those living nearby at a 30 per cent discount, as well as offer free ferry and shuttle bus services ­during peak days.

It also earlier downsized its proposal to build 120,000 niches.

District councillors said the development would cause traffic chaos during the Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals for those visiting a government-run columbarium in the area.

Cape Collinson Crematorium, located within a 3km radius of the proposed facility, offers more than 60,000 niches and will have an additional 25,000 by 2020.

“We haven’t been able to ­resolve current traffic congestion during grave-sweeping festivals at peak hours even with police help, I can’t imagine what it would be like if [the new one is built],” Heng Fa Chuen district councillor Stanley Ho Ngai-kam said.

The FTU said shuttle bus services would create queues at the pick-up points, Heng Fa Chuen and Quarry Bay MTR stations.

A Kerry Logistics spokesman said it would work closely with the Transport Department and police to minimise traffic impact, and hire crowd management experts if required.