Too late for a landmark library design, says Urbco chief

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 August, 1997, 12:00am

Hopes were dashed, the case closed. But grievances over the Central Library design are bound to continue.

The Provisional Urban Council reached a deadlock yesterday with 21 members supporting the old design, and another 21 rejecting it. Chairman Dr Ronald Leung Ding-bong, who had cast his first vote for the original design, sealed the fate of the library with a second.

'I'll cast the crucial vote according to my conscience and analytical ability,' he said. 'I'm rational because I studied science.

'It's a bit too late to ask for a forward-looking, landmark design. If members really want to improve the image of the council, instead of exacerbating its image of altercation, we can build our landmark somewhere else.' When the Democratic Party's Kam Nai-wai complained about their motions being brushed aside, Dr Leung replied: 'I think I'm right. In fact, I've just received a note which said: 'You've made a bold and correct decision. I admire you.' I can pass it around.' Three motions were filed to set up a special committee to scrutinise the present design of the building, but Dr Leung refused to put them to a vote or let them be amended.

He later criticised independent Ada Wong Ying-kay, who had tabled one of the motions, for breaking the standing order of the council. 'A motion has to be seconded before councillors can vote on it,' he said after the meeting.

Ms Wong disparaged the way Dr Leung handled the meeting. 'I think he's not qualified to be our chairman,' she said.

'A chairman should be very clear whether he wants to be a player or just a referee in a game.' She also complained that councillors who disagreed with him were ignored. 'I'd raised my hand for a long time, Lee Wah-ming had raised his hand for a long time, but he gave the floor to somebody else,' she said.

Democrat Ng Wing-fai said it was unfair Dr Leung voted twice.