Veteran lawyer Walter Chan elected to run Hong Kong’s Housing Society
Chan will take over from outgoing chairman Marco Wu, who has led the city’s second largest public housing provider for 12 years
A lawyer with experience of building housing for the elderly, Walter Chan Kar-lok, has been elected the new leader of Hong Kong’s second largest public housing provider.
Chan will replace the outgoing chairman Marco Wu Moon-hoi, who has led the Housing Society for 12 years and officially retires on Thursday.
The supervisory board of the Housing Society, a non-profit organisation, voted for Chan to succeed Wu as chairman for a term of three years at its annual general meeting on Thursday.
“I feel most honoured to be the chairman of the Housing Society, which is an organisation dedicated to serve the community with a social mission for 70 years,” Chan said.
Chan described feeling nervous after being elected as the new head, knowing he would have “big shoes to fill” in replacing Wu.
“I look forward to working closely with the supervisory board, the executive committee and management of the Housing Society in the days ahead, with a unified passion of providing quality housing and services to respond to the needs of Hong Kong people,” Chan said, also extending his gratitude to Wu for his past leadership and dedication.
Chan currently works as a consultant at So, Lung & Associates Solicitors.
He joined the society in 2008 and served on various committees within the society. Among those, he chaired the special committee on elderly housing.
Board members also elected former Planning Department head Ling Kar-kan as the new vice-chairman.
Wu, 71, joined the Housing Society in 2004 and served as the organisation’s vice-chairman and chairman for 12 years.
The former surveyor and civil servant said one of his proudest achievements during his tenure was the organisation’s work on elderly housing.
The Housing Society has launched three development projects with 1,164 flats dedicated for lifelong contracts or rentals for elderly retirees.
The developments also include a range of amenities that specifically cater to the needs of the elderly, such as having a Chinese medicine clinic, a medical care and wellness centre and seats in lifts.
“It’s not just about having a place to live, you have to have the software too, such as adequate health care and recreational facilities,” Wu told the Post ahead of the general meeting. “We hope that these projects can be a model for the private sector to follow to help tackle the city’s ageing population,” he said.
The Housing Society, an independent and self-financing organisation, has the role of a “housing laboratory” in the city, trying out innovative housing schemes.
One example the society is currently considering is an initiative to waive a resale levy for those elderly looking to downsize their homes.
Wu served in the government for 39 years, first as a valuation assistant in the Rating and Valuation Department, later rising through the ranks to serve as deputy director of housing and the director of Buildings.
During his time with the Housing Department, he made significant contributions to the establishment of major housing policies, such as the government’s subsidised Home Ownership Scheme.