Resident threatens to file judicial review over demolition of Cadogan Street garden

The Concern Group for Protecting Kennedy Town wants a new environmental impact assessment carried out, as they claim previous studies were based on old information

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 7:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 10:49pm

A Kennedy Town resident has threatened to launch a judicial review unless a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) is carried out at a temporary garden the government wants to demolish to make way for private flats.

The Concern Group for Protecting Kennedy Town said an EIA released in 2015 used soil samples from the Cadogan Street Temporary Garden from 1999, and data from two previous EIAs conducted in 2000 and 2003. The samples showed soil contamination produced by facilities that sat on the land prior to the garden, which was the site of an incinerator and an abattoir.

However, another EIA, conducted at a bus depot next to the garden in 2013, showed contaminants to be much lower and within safe limits.

Kennedy Town residents want the government to make temporary garden permanent

Based on the finding, area resident Wong Ching-fung said the Town Planning Board will base its decision to rezone the land for residential use on “misleading” information. He will launch a judicial review this week if another assessment using recent soil samples is not carried out.

“I think the EIA report and process is misleading. [It has been] 17 years, it’s very old,” he said.

“We’ve told the government about the EIA report, but the government rejected our opinion. So I feel I have to file a judicial review.”

Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui Chi-fung said the overwhelming rejection of the park’s demolition by the public, together with an outdated EIA, is enough to halt plans.

“We want the Town Planning Board to understand that based on the methodologies used, it’s enough to say ‘no’ to the whole plan,” he said.

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department said: “As the case is being considered by the Town Planning Board at present, it is inappropriate for the EPD to comment on the issue.”

Residents have been fighting against the demolition of the park, saying they will lose a vital green space.

The government announced the park’s demolition as part of redevelopment plans for Kennedy Town west in a bid to tackle the housing shortage. The site is expected to host more than 600 private flats.

Before the garden was constructed, the area was the site of an incinerator – which ceased operation in March 1993 – and an abattoir which closed in 1999. The government claims the waste produced by those facilities has contaminated the soil and requires it to be excavated and replaced, which would take seven years.

Residents worry excavation work will release contaminants into the air. They believe it would be better to leave the park in-situ to avoid such a risk, and leave residents with access to rare recreational space.