A better consultation system was needed to determine what the public considered 'collective memory' involving heritage buildings to mean, conservationists said yesterday. The comment came after Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping said on a radio programme that a system would be needed to determine which buildings constituted part of Hong Kong people's 'collective memory' and which did not. 'It is very abstract when you talk about 'collective memory' and its meaning varies from person to person. But we need to have a consensus on the issue and a mainstream voice on what is 'collective memory' to us,' Dr Ho said. 'We need a mechanism to ensure that there is something concrete to follow. There should not be any more instances where the government has to change its decision after some people come out and make some noise.' Greg Wong Chak-yan, a government heritage adviser since 2005, said some objective criteria should be outlined to quantify what 'collective memory' meant. He also suggested the government hold more large consultation meetings with the public when deciding whether to keep or demolish important or politically sensitive buildings, such as the Star Ferry pier in Central - which is being reduced to rubble despite fierce protests - and the nearby City Hall. 'The advantage of holding these consultation meetings is that not only the district or legislative councillors' opinion are heard, but also the voices of the people who are concerned with the projects and those affected by them,' the heritage adviser said. Lee Ho-yin, director of the University of Hong Kong's architectural conservation programme, echoed Dr Wong's remarks, saying that 'authentic' consultations would be a reliable measure of the majority view about the merits of conserving buildings.