Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong has joined some 50,000 citizens in speaking out against planning approval granted for a 97-year-old mansion on The Peak to be converted into a boutique hotel.
Lam threw his weight behind the campaign after being approached by its leader, Vivian Leung Tai Yuet-kam, while hiking on Lugard Road.
Lam not only signed the petition - organised by pressure group Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong - but also gave the group a brief video interview calling for the conservation of the mansion at 27 Lugard Road.
The alliance announced yesterday that it had gathered 50,000 on-the-spot signatures, as well as several hundred online.
"We have sent all these signatures to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam [Cheng Yuet-ngor] and Secretary for Development Paul Chan [Mo-po] and hope that they will listen to citizens' voices," Leung, the alliance chairwoman, said.
The neoclassical style four-storey mansion built in 1916 was listed by the Antiquities Advisory Board as a grade two historic site in September. It was acquired by Crown Empire in September last year for HK$384 million. The proposal to develop it into a hotel has sparked concern over heritage conservation as well as increased traffic load on Lugard Road, a popular hiking trail.
The alliance has been collecting signatures since October 20.
"Conservation is an important matter," Lam said in the video interview. "I hope that development will not affect Hong Kong's heritage. This is one of the rare preserved, beautiful and historic buildings, and I hope everyone cherishes it."
Leung said she hoped Lam would convey the message to the government.
Although the Town Planning Board has already approved the project, she said her group had not given up on the campaign and would continue to press the authorities to change their minds.