Traffic plans in the area of a proposed 11-storey columbarium at the Cape Collinson cemetery hit a major roadblock yesterday.
District councillors sent UK-based consulting firm Halcrow - contracted by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department - back to the drawing board after two of its three traffic management suggestions were called impractical.
Suggestions put before Eastern District Council's food, environment and hygiene committee included an escalator connecting San Ha Street and Cape Collinson Road and new bus routes. Both these proposals were rejected, and the only suggestion left on the table is a plan to build a two-lane bus terminal near the area.
Councillors yesterday approved the location of the columbarium, but agreed more work was needed on a traffic solution.
Lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun lashed out at the traffic proposal. "The department should look for [another] consulting firm and gather [more] opinions from the councillors," he said.
The proposed 3,800 sq ft facility will add 25,000 niches to the existing 214,000 public niches, but residents fear traffic during peak seasons - such as the Ching Ming grave-sweeping festival - could cause too much congestion in the area.
The department aims to build the columbarium next to the private non-profit Cape Collinson Chinese Permanent Cemetery in Cape Collinson Road. The number of cremations is expected to increase by about 25 per cent by 2022.
"We understand the concerns of the councillors and will liaise with the consulting firm and the Transport Department to redraft the proposal," said Chu Lan-ying, assistant director of the department.
Additional reporting by Ernest Kao