Often criticised for bulldozing Hong Kong's precious history, the Urban Renewal Authority is taking on a different role in Mallory Street - sweeping away a shameful remnant of the past. For decades, some of the street's tenants have used plastic containers as toilets because there are no bathrooms in their flats. Tenants walk down dimly lit wooden staircases to place the foul containers in the street, where they are collected by hygiene officers after midnight. 'It is very unhygienic to keep the faeces bucket at home and in the street, and the collectors sometimes do not do the job properly,' said 76-year-old Chan Tai-hing, who lives with his wife in a second-floor Mallory Street flat. Some residents, such as Mr Chan, generally use the closest public toilet a block away. But the walk takes a few minutes and is not always convenient. If the authority gets a green light for the project, all these embarrassments could be a thing of the past. 'This building is right at the city centre and there are lots of people and tourists around. It [the old practices] can be too embarrassing,' Mr Chan said. Like other tenants, Mr Chan and his wife, Li Wai-fong, said they would be glad to get the chance to move into a public rental flat with a toilet, gas supply and elevator. The benefits seem to outweigh their attachment to their long-time home. 'We'll have to leave anyway, whether we feel like it or not. We can do nothing if the building has to be torn down,' Mr Chan said, adding that he wanted to be compensated in a fair way. He said he would miss doing exercises in the morning at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, which he dubbed 'the turtle by the sea', and drinking tea in old-fashioned restaurants. It is not only the residents who harbour some nostalgia. Mr Lo, a young operator of a family-owned restaurant in the street, said he felt sad after learning about the project as he had established good relationships with his neighbours. Joyce Ip, owner of an advertising firm on the ground floor of the Mallory Street blocks, said she might move out of Wan Chai as it was the second time she had been affected by a renewal project. The firm was forced to shift by the Lee Tung Street project two years ago.