Hong Kong developer submits downsized plan for 'state of art' columbarium in Chai Wan

Reduced proposal for private columbarium in Chai Wan follows strong local opposition

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 2:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 2:58am

Developers behind a proposed "state-of-the-art" private columbarium in Chai Wan have submitted a revised town planning application with 30 per cent fewer niches.

Kerry Warehouse said the move, which would see capacity reduced from 120,000 urn niches to 82,000, was made to minimise the potential impact on residents and the surrounding area.

The company withdrew its first application earlier this year amid strong opposition from local people and politicians.

Some expressed misgivings about having another columbarium nearby. There were also concerns about traffic jams during grave-sweeping festivals.

The plan involves converting a warehouse on Ka Yip Street to a 15-storey private columbarium called the Island Memorial Centre. Niches would be equipped with digital photo plaques of the deceased and the facility will restrict burning of joss, incense or offerings to funeral days.

The company said traffic issues would be solved by free shuttle bus services from Heng Fa Chuen and Quarry Bay MTR stations. A system would be introduced to restrict visits to preregistered appointments.

"Having listened to the views and concerns of the local community and stakeholders, Kerry Warehouse has revised the plan to address local community needs and concerns," the company said.

"The facility will help alleviate the shortage of urn niches, while … setting new standards for the industry."

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, also an Eastern District councillor, said traffic during Ching Ming and Chung Yeung was already bad enough and he didn't see the difference between the effect of 80,000 or 120,000 niches.

Heng Fa Chuen councillor Stanley Ho Ngai-kam said he would consult his constituents soon on the revised application.

Kerry Warehouse is part of the Kerry Group, the controlling shareholder of SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning Post.