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Hong Kong MTR

Discovery of relics at Sha Tin-Central MTR site has cost HK$3 billion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 November, 2014, 3:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 November, 2014, 4:28pm

An extended archaeological dig and work to protect relics uncovered by the construction of the Sha Tin-Central MTR link has so far cost the government more than HK$3 billion and delayed the construction project by 11 months, Hong Kong’s transport minister said today.

The in-situ preservation of seven archaeological features identified by the government’s Antiquities and Monuments Office at To Kwa Wan station was estimated to cost a further HK$1 billion but would not further delay the rail link.

They include two wells, a stone footpath and a group of building remnants, some dating back to the Song or Yuan dynasties, and a well dating back to late Qing dynasty.

The office remains undecided on another well built in the Song or Yuan dynasties, which is linked to a water channel built in the 20th century, and another set of stone structures which were products of Song or Yuan, because their preservation would mean the railway station needs to be redesigned.

Four options regarding the handling of the well have been laid down, bringing about a cost ranging from HK$10 million to HK$1.3 billion. Its preservation would mean a further delay of four months.

“The government will have to decide in December on which conservation option should be adopted. According to MTR Corporation’s estimation, each month of delay in decision would incur HK$250 million more,” said Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung after the Antiquities Advisory Board meeting this morning, in which the handling of the relics was discussed.

The board is due to make a decision following a site visit next Wednesday.

Ahead of the meeting, about ten To Kwa Wan residents petitioned outside of the office, demanding that the relics concerned be removed temporarily so that the railway can be opened as soon as possible.