A granite refuse station decorated by two rectangular-shaped fountains is being built next to a world heritage site designated by Unesco that is the first Catholic church on Chinese soil. Hoardings for the refuse station are already in place outside the external wall of the 500-year-old San Lourenco Church in Macau. The station is expected to be completed in November, according to the hotline the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau set up to answer public inquiries on the project. The Macau government also plans to build a refuse station outside the Mandarin House, another world heritage site designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. It is consulting public opinion on this project. But the government has been accused of a lack of transparency and disrespect for world heritage buildings, shortly after Macau media revealed the project, which had not been announced. Un Wai-meng, head of the San Lourenco Church, says it shows the government's lack of respect for world heritage sites. He also believes the move will undermine the integrity of the site. 'It is not just about the building alone. It is also about the environment,' he added. About 300 people have signed a petition to protest against the administration's decision. 'They are residents living in the neighbourhood. We oppose the plan because it undermines one of the most important [pieces of] architecture in our city,' Un said. Macau has been locked in debate over its world heritage sites since a collection of its historic buildings were named as such sites in 2005. Two years after receiving the Unesco honour, the view from one of the sites, the 140-year-old Guia lighthouse, came under threat from a property development. The centre of controversy then moved to the Luis de Camoes Garden. The lighthouse stands atop the 91-metre Guia Hill, the highest point on the Macau peninsula. But a property development scheme threatens to throw up a 300-metre-long concrete wall of high-rise buildings that will obscure the landmark. People from all walks of life are joining the campaign to save the landmark and other heritage sites. The government also plans to build a car park in the world heritage-listed garden. Also known as the Dove's Nest, the garden was built in the first half of the 19th century. The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau stresses the refuse station near the church is essential for improving the community's hygiene. There are three movable plastic rubbish bins standing near the church for waste disposal. The administration wants to build a permanent structure. But residents dispute the argument on the ground that they have two refuse stations which are only two to three minutes walking distance from the disputed one. Chan Su-weng, chairman of Macau History Society, dislikes the plan. 'Those are very important buildings ... It doesn't matter how pretty the refuse stations are going to be. It is wrong to build refuse stations next to world heritage buildings.' The bureau, however, stresses the refuse station, accompanied by two fountains, will be well assimilated into the environment.