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Old August 6th, 2013, 08:25 PM   #1641
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Tycoon Lee Shau-kee revises offer to donate land for cheap flats for young
Tuesday, 06 August, 2013, 8:29pm
South China Morning Post

Property tycoon Lee Shau-kee has revised his offer to donate land for more affordable homes after the government turned down his original plan, according a media report on Tuesday.

In an interview with Eastweek magazine, Lee, the chairman of Henderson Land, said he was now in talks with the Housing Society over his plan to donate one plot of farmland in Yuen Long.

The 63,500-square-foot site was on Shap Pat Heung Road, and Lee’s idea was to build 1,058 units of 300 sq ft on the site at a plot ratio of 5, the magazine reported.

The government last month turned down Lee’s earlier offer to donate land to build cheap homes for young people and instead urged him to approach non-government organisations, such as the Housing Society.

One major change in Lee’s revised offer is that he is now offering to pay the land premium and construction costs,.

He had earlier hoped the government would waive the premium and foot the construction bill.

Under the revised plan, the price of each flat would increase to about HK$1.2 million, up from the HK$1 million in the original one.

Lee told the magazine that the new price tage would enable the authority and him to cover each flat’s HK$900,000 construction cost and estimated HK$300,000 land premium.

Last January, the property tycoon first floated his idea of donating some of his land in the New Territories to build homes and sell them to young buyers to help them get into the property market.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 03:06 PM   #1642
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Victoria Park to shrink as traffic flow trumps trees
Slip road for new Central-Wan Chai Bypass will reduce space, facilities and greenery, and seems to have escaped district councillors' notice
12 August 2013
South China Morning Post

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Victoria Park and buildings, viewed from Parklane hotel, Hong Kong by shinyai, on Flickr

A slip road for a new highway linking Central and Wan Chai is set to cut through Victoria Park, reducing its size by 20,000 square feet and stripping it of 350 trees.

While work on the slip road was approved in 2009 and quietly started in March, district councillors and government advisers are hardly aware of the development that will intrude into the city's largest urban park.

"We were not aware the road would cut into the park until recently," said Jennifer Chow Kit-bing, an Eastern District Council member representing the Victoria Park constituency.

"It will look weird and ruin the piece and quiet."

She said she could not recall discussions or papers about the slip road.

"Now I'm concerned the road will bring air pollution and noise in the park," she said, adding that she would ask the Highways Department for more details and urge it to install noise barriers.

According to a recently published departmental newsletter, the slip road will link up with Tsing Fung Street and encroach on the park's northern side. As it exits the park, the slip road will go underground to lead into the bypass tunnel to Central.

Some of the park's facilities will be destroyed, including a bowling green, a children's playground, a nursery compound and a nearby pond. All the facilities except the pond will be reconstructed elsewhere.

The department said the road would occupy about 1 per cent of the park, which covers 19.6 hectares. Construction work would deprive the public of about 7 per cent of the park's area.

The loss of public space will be compensated by new land being reclaimed on the Wan Chai and North Point harbourfronts as part of the bypass project, the department said, responding to a letter of complaint that was copied to the Post .

Paul Zimmerman, a member of the now defunct Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, said he could not recall discussions about the slip road when the committee scrutinised the overall design and alignment of the bypass between 2004 and 2006.

"The slip road must have been in the overall bypass plan, which went through various consultations," he said. "But nobody remembers [the park section] … because the focus was on whether we needed the bypass, and the areas that required reclamation."

Apart from taking away park space, the road work will also mean that 290 trees in the park will be removed. Some 250 will be transplanted within the park and the other 40 will go to other sites in the bypass project. Another 60 trees will simply be cut down.

Professor Jim Chi-yung, a tree expert at the University of Hong Kong, said that transplanting the trees could be problematic.

He said: "As Victoria Park is already crowded, I wonder how the transplants can be accommodated to allow [the trees] to thrive and expand, and remain stable in the decades to come."
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Old August 12th, 2013, 03:29 PM   #1643
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Why not opting for an underground road or a "sky road" at least to decrease the green space that would be razed ?
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Old August 12th, 2013, 03:31 PM   #1644
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skanny View Post
Why not opting for an underground road or a "sky road" at least to decrease the green space that would be razed ?
An "underground" section still needs to surface eventually, and large trees won't survive on top of a shallow viaduct anyway.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #1645
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PLA Headquarters continues to be under green scaffolding for renovation :



Taken on 8/5
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 05:54 AM   #1646
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Eviction looms at aged To Kwa Wan tenement
Balconies deemed dangerous in 56-year-old decrepit block must go, but first a court order is needed for residents to pack up and leave
23 August 2013
South China Morning Post





Dozens of To Kwa Wan residents have been caught out by news of possible eviction from their homes in a 56-year-old tenement block where all the balconies are deemed structurally dangerous.

They learned of their impending fate yesterday, when the Buildings Department posted a notice informing residents for the first time that a closure order would be served on the six-storey block on 51 Kai Ming Street by August 30.

The department plans to apply for the court order so it can knock down the balconies. All of them are enclosed, some of them for as long as 30 years. The occupants must move out after the court issues the order, so the urban time bomb can be removed and the structural safety of the block can be investigated further.

The tenement was in a very bad shape, the South China Morning Post observed in a visit.

In one flat, the floor was slightly tilting towards the balcony and cracks were visible in the walls.

All of the floors except for the fourth and the ground-level shops are believed to house subdivided flats.

"I haven't heard anything about our building being dangerous, but of course I'm scared," a woman who lives on the first floor said. "I don't want to move. I moved here just a month ago."

Some residents said they would defy the order if they had to be relocated to interim housing in Tuen Mun, as rumoured.

The block was among 4,500 aged over 50 that came under a citywide drive to check unsafe structures, following the collapse of a tenement on Ma Tau Wai Road that killed four people in 2010. After that accident, the government erected emergency support to shore up the first-floor balcony, while ordering the 14 property owners to investigate and report on structural integrity.

Because of financial and management difficulties, no one had complied with the order, the department said.

The balconies were built with a "cantilever slab" design that was very common among tenements of that time. A department consultant confirmed this month the structures were dangerous.

Raymond Chan Kin-sek, president of the Institution of Engineers, said the balconies posed a hazard to the public if they were not properly maintained.

Chan said the concrete and steel bars of the structures were prone to erosion by water. And if a balcony on an upper floor crumbled and collapsed, all those below would be smashed.

The government faced a dilemma in preventing such risks, he said. "A lack of incentives and consensus among the owners, as well as the absence of an owners' incorporation, has made urgent and timely repair impossible. But the government had been unable to step in until [the consultant] verified it was too dangerous."

Kowloon City district councillor Yang Wing-kit pointed out another obstacle to fixing the problems. "Since the Ma Tau Wai collapse, some contractors have been deterred by the risks in carrying out maintenance work in these old buildings," he said.

The department said the owners would bear the balcony removal costs. There was no timetable for the works yet, pending further checks, it said.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 06:33 PM   #1647
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Wheelock expects little downside for home prices
17 August 2013
South China Morning Post

Wheelock Properties, the biggest landlord in Tseung Kwan O, said there is little room for housing prices to drop because of high construction costs.

"Construction is now more expensive than land. This is unprecedented," said vice-chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin.

He said construction costs, both in terms of human resources and materials, had increased 50 per cent in the past few years.

In July, Wheelock bought a seaside plot in Tseung Kwan O for HK$3.67 billion, or HK$4,288 per square feet, 6 to 13 per cent lower than the prices at which seaside lots were sold last year. It planned to invest HK$8 million in a residential project on the site that would include high-rise apartment buildings and sea-view detached houses.

Leung said the area was well equipped and densely populated, and had great potential to become the next central business district after Central and Admiralty. But he added that the government needed to find a way out for the environmental problems caused by the landfill site in southeast Tseung Kwan O.

The company has bought four plots in the satellite town totalling 2.34 million sqft for HK$9.9 billion since last year. The first project is expected to be launched next year, with prices of more than HK$10,000 per square foot.

Although Leung sounded confident, sales of first-hand residential properties have been hit by the new ordinance in April aimed at shielding buyers from dishonest practices.

Research by Centaline Property Agency in July said the inventory level of residential properties, or the ratio of unsold units, stood at 14.6 per cent - the highest in nine years.

To clear its 15 remaining units, Hongkong Land offered a 5 per cent discount for the Serenade project in Tai Hang last month. From Tuesday, Kerry Properties will sell the last 35 flats at its Lions Rise project in Wong Tai Sin at discounts of up to 9 per cent.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 05:35 AM   #1648
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Flat owners facing closure order call for area revamp
The Standard
Tuesday, August 27, 2013



Residents of an old rundown building in To Kwa Wan are urging the Urban Renewal Authority to make the whole neighborhood a priority for redevelopment.

The Buildings Department is seeking a closure order for 51 Kai Ming Street, saying the balconies are a danger. Owners earlier ignored a repair order.

The department will apply for the closure on Friday in order to have the dangerous structures demolished.

About 30 residents of the six-story building and neighboring ones met with the authority to make their request.

Before the meeting, residents petitioned the authority at its office in Sheung Wan.

Chanting "Fighting for the renewal of Kai Ming Street," they expressed discontent over the department's application for a closure order to remove the cantilevered slab balconies, and asking them to move out quickly.

An elderly woman, surnamed Lam, who lives on the fifth floor said the problem of vacating an old building has not been solved. "Don't ask me what I plan to do. I will definitely not be going to Tuen Mun [Po Tin Transit Centre]."

The Housing Department, which runs the center, earlier said it may provide temporary accommodation. Building residents said they cannot afford to pay demolition fees on top of maintenance fees.

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan said it is not appropriate for the Buildings Department to ask residents to finance the maintenance before it is decided whether the building should be demolished or not.

While acknowledging the building is dilapidated, "we think reconstruction is the best solution," Wong said.

She said it is difficult to ensure the structural safety of the building even after an investigation and removal of the balconies. It is also not cost-effective.

Wong said besides the 56-year-old tenement, other tong laus of similar vintage also face structural problems, as the buildings on the whole street are old and dilapidated, and the residents hope the authority will prioritize redevelopment.

The residents said if they have to be displaced, it would be better if the whole surrounding area is demolished as well.

The authority said that the basic conditions of reconstruction call for more than 67percent of flat owners agreeing to apply for a renewal program.

After the closed-door meeting, authority director (corporate communications) Lawrence Yau Chung-hok said residents will provide more information about their building for URA reference.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #1649
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Construction in Tung Chung :
8/10

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Panorama of Tung Chung evening by tamkw525, on Flickr
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Old August 28th, 2013, 07:31 PM   #1650
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Queen's Road Central / Duddell Street Redevelopment
8/6

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Old August 29th, 2013, 05:40 AM   #1651
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Please more informations about projects you post !
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Old August 30th, 2013, 06:32 AM   #1652
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Tenants pledge to fight move
The Standard
Friday, August 30, 2013



Residents of a To Kwa Wan building have vowed to stay put despite a closure order.

Some tenants have also lodged complaints and called on the Legislative Council to get the order suspended until alternate temporary housing can be arranged.

The tenants of 10 shops and residential units at 51 Kai Ming Street accused the government of ordering the closure without a proper resettlement proposal.

Shop owners said their businesses will be affected by the construction work and asked for compensation.

"You cannot suddenly notify us to remove all our belongings in a few days," said the owner of one shop, surnamed Tam. "Who will be responsible for the removal costs?"

Another shop tenant, surnamed Chan, said all the machines inside his shop would have to be moved or left behind.

The Buildings Department announced last Thursday that it will apply to the District Court today for the closure of 51 Kai Ming Street for the demolition of the cantilevered slab balconies and to conduct a further detailed investigation of the traditional tong lau.

But the department later said that after discussing with residents over the week, it will only enclose the balconies temporarily and reinforced these with piles.

It will then use large cranes to pick up the debris at which time the residents would have to temporarily vacate the building.

The department said it will still apply for the closure order today.

Some residents said they would not move even after the court issues the order.

A woman, surnamed Tsang, said it was too rushed to ask tenants to move within days.

She said it would be hard to move to the Po Tin Transit Centre in Tuen Mun as it is too far from their homes.

She said the residents include the elderly and children and it is hard for them to find a place to rent in such a short time.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 05:12 AM   #1653
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47,000 homes a year proposed to ease woes
The Standard
Wednesday, September 04, 2013



A 10-year target of 470,000 flats has been proposed by a top-level committee to address the housing shortage.

If approved, it will be the first time the government has set a target since former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa announced plans to build 85,000 units a year after the handover. That target sparked a property bubble.

The Long-Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, chaired by Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, proposed the new target in a consultation document.

Cheung assured yesterday it will not cause prices to tumble "because private homes will be limited to 40 percent of the target." The other 60 percent is meant for public housing.

Up to June 30, the number of family and elderly applicants on the waiting list for public housing had reached 118,700 while the number of non- elderly, one-person applicants below the age of 60 under the quota and points system reached 115,600.

The committee suggested increasing the overall quotas and reforming the calculation of points for different age groups.

"This is to enable those who are relatively older among the non-elderly singletons to have a better chance for public housing," Cheung said.

The waiting time for non-elderly one-person applicants above the age of 35 should be reduced to three years, he added.

The committee also suggests providing "transitional housing" on vacant government land and enhancing cooperation between public and private development projects. It is also proposing issuing licenses for subdivided flats.

The consultation ends on December 2.

The document raises 22 open-ended questions - including how many Home Ownership Scheme units should be set aside for single people and the minimum income level for white-form applicants for future sale of HOS units to improve the chances of eligible first-time homebuyers.

A source said the target will be reviewed annually and that if the property market tumbles, the government will continue to develop land.

Lee Wing-tat, who chairs housing think tank Land Watch, said the target is too conservative.

The 47,000 thousand units a year are only "several thousand more compared to the current policy to build more than 40,000 annually," he said.

"It is inadequate to solve the more than 200,000 applications in line for public housing or the living problems of the 60,000 to 70,000 subdivided unit tenants."
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Old September 8th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #1654
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Scheme targets triads in building trade
RenoSafe programme launched amid rising criminal involvement in renovation work
5 September 2013
South China Morning Post

As the age of Hong Kong's buildings creeps up and renovations are increasingly required, opportunities for criminals to cash in on the construction trade are growing, according to police.

But yesterday a new initiative, named the RenoSafe scheme, was launched to fight back against crime in the trade.

"The potential gains from [building renovation projects] are huge and criminals are not going to ignore the opportunity to make money," said Matthew Kwok Ho-fai, a police chief superintendent in the force's Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.

Over the next couple of years, more than 500 ageing buildings are expected to undergo renovations annually. The police have said that crimes related to building revamps are on the rise, with 22 cases recorded in the year to August - as many as were logged for all of last year.

Such crimes often involve the use of threats such as criminal damage, intimidation and even arson to force owners to award renovation contracts to businesses that may involve triads.

Corruption is also a problem, manifest in practices such as rigging bids for renovation contracts and bribing members of building owners' corporations. Project consultants and contractors are bribed in exchange for turning a blind eye to the use of substandard building materials.

Criminal groups can make illicit earnings running into the millions of dollars each time they win a renovation contract whose price has been inflated by double or three times the estimate of an independent project consultant.

The RenoSafe scheme aims to curb these practices by providing building owners planning renovations with advice from government departments and operational support from the police.

It offers regular workshops and seminars on preventing renovation-related crimes - jointly organised by the police, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and the Hong Kong Housing Society - for owners of buildings in need of repair.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Buildings Department and the Home Affairs Department will also participate in the scheme.

The scheme has no single hotline for one-stop service, but the government departments involved in it will refer requests to relevant parties when they receive calls for assistance.

A police officer will also be assigned to each case once a building's owners have joined the RenoSafe scheme.

Meanwhile, the URA yesterday said it was in talks with the Housing Society to improve renovation tendering arrangements by reducing the risk of information about owners and contract bidders being leaked to potentially threatening outside parties. Details of the new bidding arrangements will be announced soon.
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Old September 16th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #1655
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Planner cool over homes in parks
The Standard
Monday, September 16, 2013

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Pat Sin Leng 八仙嶺 by Pangkin, on Flickr

There is no urgent need to consider country parks for housing development, says the director of planning.

Ling Kar-kan said the land is important to Hong Kong's ecological system and other sites are being looked at for development.

Speaking after attending a public function yesterday, Ling said that land in the government's proposed North East New Territories development project and other areas in Hung Shui Kiu in Yuen Long could be used.

Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee member Michael Choi Ngai-min said society should be allowed to discuss whether greenbelt zones and country parks could be used for housing.

"I don't think that such a proposal is untouchable and unthinkable," he said.

Democratic Party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei said using abandoned land and even the golf course in Fan Ling should be considered first rather than merely exploiting the country parks.
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Old October 2nd, 2013, 04:49 PM   #1656
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Causeway Bay to lose an urban oasis as I.M. Pei's Sunning Plaza faces wrecking ball
1 October 2013
South China Morning Post


Source : http://offices.leegardens.com.hk/sun.../overview.aspx

Tenants of Sunning Plaza in Causeway Bay are bidding farewell to the 31-year-old I.M. Pei-designed building, which is to be torn down for redevelopment.

A bar-restaurant, cake shop and office tenants had to move from the site yesterday.

"I feel like the sky today - crying," said John Palis, operations manager of the Inn Side Out bar and restaurant.

He started working there when it opened in 1999, but now he has had to close it.

"This place is one of a kind in Hong Kong - a big outdoor area with four palm trees."

The restaurant will reopen at the South China Athletic Association next month for association members and their guests.

A bigger, mixed-use office and retail complex with more retail space will be built on the site and in place of adjacent apartment building Sunning Court, which will also be demolished.

It has not yet been decided whether the open area used for the Inn Side Out's outdoor tables will be kept, said a spokesman for landlord Hysan Development.

Palis said he has heard that the outdoor area will be enclosed.

"It's depressing because this place is an oasis in the urban area for people to feel what life is," said architect Joseph Tang Chun-sing, one of the restaurant's regular customers. "Making money is important, but you should maintain some integrity to society. Humans need this kind of space."

The building was Pei's first project in Hong Kong before his only other - the Bank of China Building in Central. Chun said it was a shame that such a precious building would be torn down. He said very few buildings of its class were left in Hong Kong.

Another customer, magazine food writer Brian Chung, had strong words for the developer.

"I hope they lose money," he said. "It's a shame - this is an oasis in the business district of Causeway Bay for people to unwind. Greedy landlords like this are not helping Hong Kong or diversifying Hong Kong."

Palis said he has asked Hysan not to cut down the four palm trees. He told them Inn Side Out would try to take them to its new location.

Italian restaurant Da Domenico, next door, has already closed and was moving out yesterday.

Hysan has said the demolition is mainly to create offices for tenants moving out of Central. According to plans, the gross floor area will increase by about a quarter after the project is completed in 2018.
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Old October 5th, 2013, 05:05 AM   #1657
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New chief signs up to protect parkland
Ex-police commissioner affirms opposition to idea of building flats by backing green charter to safeguard 'every inch' of HK's countryside
5 October 2013
South China Morning Post

The new head of Hong Kong's country parks signed a green group's charter yesterday promising to protect "every inch" of the land he administers.

Tang King-shing, the former police commissioner and now chairman of the Country and Marine Parks Board, answered the challenge from Save Our Country Parks, an alliance of 20 green groups firmly opposed to the idea of building flats in the parks.

While the charter is not legally binding, activists said it amounted to a public commitment.

"It's a promise made publicly. He is now under moral obligation to defend our country parks," said Friends of the Earth director Edwin Lau Che-feng.

The issue erupted into a public debate after Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po floated the idea last month of building flats in parks to solve the housing shortage.

Tang, whose nomination was deemed controversial because of his government background, was attending the first meeting of the board that he chairs.

"[The board] will strive to protect our country parks in accordance with the law," he said.

The board is the statutory advisory body overseeing all of Hong Kong's 29 parks and has the power to approve construction within parks. Most of the nonofficial members of the board yesterday voiced strong objections to the development idea. Elvis Au Wai-kwong, an assistant director of the Environmental Protection Department, insisted the government had "no intention" to alter the status quo of the country parks.

Meanwhile, a little-known study has come to light showing many Hongkongers were willing to pay HK$100 a year to maintain and preserve country parks.

The University of Hong Kong questioned 613 people between August and October 2009.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology last February.

It received little attention at the time as no one believed Hong Kong's parks would ever be under threat. Researchers said the study showed how highly people valued their parks.

The survey was not intended to be a fundraising proposal, said Professor Jim Chi-yung, of the University of Hong Kong.

"The aim was to estimate the parks' economic value, to raise awareness among policymakers and the general public of the poorly recognised economic benefits of conservation and to justify financial support from the government," he said.

The respondents were randomly selected from visitors to Pok Fu Lam, Shing Mun and Clear Water Bay country parks.

Their household incomes ranged from HK$10,000 to more than HK$40,000 a month.

They were asked if they would be willing to pay an annual fee to enhance the conservation and educational elements of the parks and how much they would like to pay if they could choose.

Only six per cent said they would not pay. Most were willing to give HK$95 to HK$133 a year.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 05:49 PM   #1658
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Shatin-Central Link Wanchai construction
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Old October 10th, 2013, 04:54 AM   #1659
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New private hospital `not just for the rich'
The Standard
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The new dean of the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Medicine has vowed its private hospital will not be exclusively for the rich.

Gabriel Leung Cheuk-wai said this as he detailed the new Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital in Wong Chuk Hang, which is expected to open in 2017, with construction to be completed by the end of 2016.

The university won the site near Aberdeen to build the 500-bed private hospital.

The university clinched the deal in a joint venture with local property developer New World Services Holdings (0659) and Singapore-based health-care operator Parkway Pantai.

Leung, the 40-year-old former undersecretary for food and health and former director of the Chief Executive's Office, began his five-year term as dean on August 1.

Leung said he has three major tasks in his new post, namely, the reconstruction of Queen Mary Hospital, operating the University of Hong Kong- Shenzhen Hospital and organizing the construction of the new private hospital.

Associate dean (teaching and learning) Lau Chak-sing said the hospital will provide full outpatient and Chinese medicine services.

With teams of resident doctors, he said the new hospital needs to hire 150 full-time doctors and a minimum of 800 nurses.

He said it is recruiting overseas doctors from Britain and the United States and is confident that the university will attract adequate doctors who can speak Cantonese and Putonghua. "We will provide an environment for doctors to not only teach, but also to do research," Lau said, adding that he will consider different options and does not rule out operating with other hospitals.

Associate dean (clinical affairs) Law Wai-lun said that to facilitate better services, the surgery and intensive care units will be located on the same floor of the new hospital.

Law stressed that the new hospital will use a new kind of operation.

"We hope there will be cooperation between the private and public sectors. We will refer to overseas experience to give more options to the public," Law said.

On medical service fees and charges, he said the hospital is not to serve the wealthy.

"It is for the public to have more options," Law said. It will try to provide packaged charging with high transparency.
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Old October 12th, 2013, 06:57 PM   #1660
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Peak hotel go-ahead was 'hasty'
Councillor slams move to approve conversion of historic mansion, saying it lacks foresight
11 October 2013
South China Morning Post







Transport and planning chiefs were accused by district councilors yesterday of a lack of foresight in hastily approving a proposal for a 97-year-old mansion on The Peak to be converted into a hotel.

Central and Western district councillor Joseph Chan Ho-lim of the Liberal Party slammed the two departments for allowing the conversion of the four-storey property at 27 Lugard Road despite strong opposition, and for not giving enough time to a public consultation.

A motion put forth by Chan to oppose the development received the unanimous support of 15 other council members. Two members abstained.

Chan criticised the Transport Department for not taking into account potential traffic hazards and the fact that Lugard Road was the first section of the Hong Kong Trail, which is ranked as one of the world's top 10 hiking trails by the Lonely Planet travel guide.

The mansion was also put forward to become a grade-two historic building earlier this year.

Chan said the road, the only one leading into and out of the site, measured just 1.8 metres at its widest point. Vehicles using it would pose a danger to the hundreds of hikers and tourists who frequented the area, he said.

"Cars using the road will have to share it with pedestrians, with only the space of a hand in between, making it extremely dangerous," said Chan.

The Transport Department sought to address the issue in an August proposal that involved the use of 1.5-metre-wide electric cars and limiting the number of journeys per vehicle to two an hour on weekdays and non-public holidays. But Chan said this idea was "impractical, impossible and lacking logic" as it ignored the fact that vehicles delivering supplies, as well as hotel staff and guests, would also need to use the road at times beyond the hotel's control.

Councillor Chan Choi-hi also added that the rule would be nearly impossible to enforce.

Transport Department senior engineer Tam Chung-on said the two cars an hour solution had already been offered to the developer, Crown Empire, and it was "up to them to make it work".

Tam said cars could give way to pedestrians.

Built in 1916, the house was bought by Crown Empire in September for HK$384 million.

The developer's proposal for a 17-room boutique hotel and the construction of two new villas was approved by the Town Planning Board last month.

The Antiquities and Monuments Office and Development Bureau did not oppose the project as the owner had promised to preserve the overall appearance of the building.
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