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Hong Kong environmental issues

Why noise pollution in Wan Chai is likely to continue for years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 6:12pm

I can definitely vouch for the accuracy of Jim Francis’ letter (“Noise pollution a nightmare at Wan Chai site”, May 28). It is like living in a war zone, with the jackhammers going.

I understand that the Building Authority controls the limited allowable times for pile-driving operations, but Hopewell has not even started building yet, despite the fact that the Building Covenant expires at the end of December 2019. The daily cacophony is due to the removal of thousands of cubic metres of hard granite rock for site formation, thereby creating a 50-metre high wall below Kennedy Road and behind Queen’s Road East. What is the Environmental Protection Department doing about this deafening excavation work?

Those I feel most sorry for are the students at St Francis’ Cannossian College (our Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s alma mater), as their classroom block overlooks the site, and they share the same hours.

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The bad news for these girls is that Hopewell has just submitted a rezoning application to the Town Planning Board. The “shenanigans” continue, as Hopewell now tries to expand its “empire” westwards by proposing to convert land zoned as public “open space” at Nam Koo Terrace and Hill Side Terrace into another “comprehensive development area”.

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This confounds Mrs Lam’s (then secretary for development) 2008 “compromise agreement” with the developer, whereby Hopewell undertook to conserve and revitalise the 100-year-old Grade I heritage historical building and to develop the surrounding land, including Hill Side Terrace, into open space for public use. Hopewell has plans to build an excessively high residential tower over Hill Side Terrace, only a few metres from the girls’ classroom windows.

Expect that noise to continue well beyond 2021.

Frank Lee, Wan Chai