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Old December 6th, 2013, 07:03 PM   #1681
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Villagers vow to fight on despite key Legco defeat
5 December 2013
South China Morning Post

Lawmakers vote down motion to keep enclave out of park; kuk chief says rule of law ‘shaken’

Nature conservationists last night scored what appeared to be a better than expected victory, as lawmakers voted to include a Sai Kung enclave in a surrounding country park. But rural chiefs and their supporters vowed to carry on their fight inside and outside the courts.

A majority of Legco members voted against an amendment to the bill tabled by Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat which would have excluded Tai Long Sai Wan village from a Sai Kung country park.

Lau’s amendment was voted down 22 to nine by geographical constituency lawmakers. But it might be even more embarrassing for Lau that the motion was rejected by the functional constituency sector 14 to 13.

The defeat means that the plan to incorporate the 17-hectare enclave into the Sai Kung East Country Park, approved by the chief executive in May, is now passed.

Some lawmakers expressed sympathy for villagers frustrated by officials’ perceived inaction in safeguarding their livelihoods.

Some legislators also expressed concern that that there could be even fiercer battles ahead over including enclaves in country parks. Villagers, who gathered en masse outside the legislature building during the debate, vowed to challenge the decision in court.

Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing rejected the argument that the plan robbed villagers of property rights.

“We will not rob [the villagers] of their properties. All existing uses and ownerships will be respected and protected. Applications for new houses will continue to be allowed,” Wong said.

He assured lawmakers that villagers will benefit from improvements to local infrastructure as a result of the plan.

Ahead of the vote, Lau told fellow legislators that officials were “violently robbing” villagers of property and land rights. “The land value has already dropped to a very low level. Landowners have been reduced to mere symbolic owners of their properties,” Lau said. The plan would “shake” the rule of law and breached the Basic Law, he added.

Cyd Ho Sau-lan, head of the subcommittee dealing with the issue, called on the government to improve local facilities and services, and foster “green tourism”.

Elizabeth Quat, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which backed Lau’s motion, claimed the government was “driving villagers to desperation”.
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Old December 10th, 2013, 01:30 PM   #1682
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South China Morning Post
Decision to ditch flats for Hong Kong's elderly 'bewildering'
Housing Society accused of conforming to government's new housing policy after project ruled financially unviable after six years
10 December 2013



Two sites designated for upmarket elderly flats are instead being returned to the government to help achieve its housing target because the six-year-old project was suddenly ruled "financially unviable".

The decision by the Housing Society to drop the project in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, was described by real-estate professor Chau Kwong-wing as "incomprehensible".

Chau, of the University of Hong Kong, believes the move may have been influenced by the government's pledge to provide 470,000 flats in the next decade.

But a spokesman for the society insisted yesterday: "This is entirely a decision of the Housing Society without government interference.

"After prudent consideration, we consider that the financial and manpower resources saved from the project could be better utilised in other housing and social projects, including public estate redevelopment."

Chau said: "I don't think redeveloping public estates would be more financially viable. The challenges have been known for six years. However, the move is not surprising as building high-end flats is politically incorrect these days.

"The society is deemed to have aligned with the new direction of the government's housing policy," he added.

The Development Bureau said the two sites would be returned to the government for private residential development. The project would have provided about 1,000 elderly-friendly units, a wellness centre, a residential care home for the elderly, a hotel, and various vocational training and recreation facilities.

Back in 2010, when Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was secretary for development, she said the project was expected to reduce social and economic problems in the remote area by creating 1,500 jobs and attracting commercial activities.

The flats were part of a Joyous Living Scheme in which 2,000 elderly people had registered their interest.

A source close to the Housing Society said yesterday that caves had been found in the porous karst landscape around the Tin Shui Wai site, and, with the soaring price of labour, the construction cost had at least doubled.

In March this year, the Housing Society had HK$19.8 billion in financial assets.

Elderly Commission chairman Alfred Chan Cheung-ming said the government needed to build homes for the ageing population. And lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing, chairman of the housing panel, said the sites should be used for subsidised housing instead of private units.
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Old December 15th, 2013, 06:05 AM   #1683
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New temple marks 20th birthday of the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping, Lantau
Sunday, 15 December 2013
South China Morning Post

It was an early 20th birthday celebration yesterday for the Tian Tan "Big" Buddha, sitting aloft above the smog-shrouded Ngong Ping plateau on Lantau island, overlooking the Po Lin Monastery. And its gift was a multimillion-dollar new temple.

Since its completion on December 29, 1993, the 34-metre-tall bronze statue has sat serenely through Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China, the Asian financial crash, Sars and bird flu.

Yesterday, monks and distinguished guests were out in force to celebrate both the birthday and the grand opening of the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

The monastery was founded in 1906 and over the years became the largest religious complex in the city, a collection of temples and pavilions that attracts pilgrims and tourists from around the world. Visitor numbers soared with the opening of the Big Buddha.

The Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas has been under construction since 2007, and was originally due to be completed in 2010, with some of the oldest buildings on the site being demolished. Building work destroyed a number of pre-war structures to make way for the new temple.

However, the work has been beset by delays, and workers are not now due to move out completely until October 31 next year. Meanwhile, the cost is now thought to have doubled to around HK$500 million.

Yesterday, however, the abbot of Po Lin, Sik Chi Wai, was in no mood to discuss rising costs. Despite concerns over its financial health, the monastery handed out in excess of 100 lai see packets. One containing HK$500 was handed to a Sunday Morning Post journalist, but the gift will be returned to the monastery.

The new, five-storey, 5,600 square metre temple includes a library, multimedia hall and, of course, altars.

Inside the main exhibition hall are exquisite golden carvings detailing the life and death of Buddha.

The abbot has said an entrance fee to the temple and the Big Buddha may have to be introduced.

The last time fundraising schemes were proposed in 2006, Sik said the monastery was not "eager to make money" but a HK$10 charge for tourists was a reasonable request.

It has ruled out going cap-in-hand to the government, but Sik revealed in 2007 that government officials had helped negotiate the land premium down to just HK$11.98 million, according to Land Registry figures, from a reported HK$30 million.

Facts about Big Buddha
Biggest outdoor seated bronze Buddha in the world
Weighs 250 tonnes
Made from 202 bronze pieces
Cost HK$60 million to build
34 metres high, including the base
268 steps to reach it
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Old December 19th, 2013, 05:37 AM   #1684
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12/11

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Tung Chung (HDR) by mickyj_photos, on Flickr

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Visionary buyers to get deep discounts
19 November 2013
South China Morning Post

Nan Fung Development will offer the first batch of 318 units at the Visionary development in Tung Chung at discounts of up to 22 per cent as it seeks to compete for buyers amid a downturn in the property market.

To drum up sales, the developer will offer 10 per cent off for buyers who opt for cash payment, plus 3 per cent of extra discounts and a 9 per cent subsidy to help them meet stamp duty payments.

The average price for the first batch of flats is HK$9,686 per square foot, in line with transaction prices in the secondary market.

"After the discounts, prices will go down to HK$7,600 per square foot, which is 10 per cent below the current transaction prices in the area," said Sammy Po, a director at Midland Realty.

The price per square foot would be 13 per cent below the current average transaction price of HK$7,910 per square foot at Caribbean Coast, a 10-year-old development opposite the Visionary.

A 434 sqft unit is also being offered for HK$3.31 million, or HK$7,646 per square foot.

Po said buyers would only be able to find properties with such price tags in Yuen Long if they were intent on buying a flat in a new project.

He said he expected sales in the secondary market in Tung Chung to come to a standstill as individual owners would be unlikely to offer big price cuts to compete with the developer.

More than 10,000 people visited the Visionary development, which comprises 1,419 units, to view show flats at the weekend.

Developers are racing to offer discounts and sweeteners to speed up sale of new projects after the number of transactions plunged 44 per cent from January to 4,648 last month.
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Old December 29th, 2013, 05:15 PM   #1685
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Century shines in record of decade
The Standard
Friday, December 27, 2013

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杯靈雙渡 Hiking from Tuen Mun to Yuen Long-20 by Leung Ching Yau Alex, on Flickr

Sales of new homes during the traditionally quiet Christmas period reached a 10-year high of 170 units - all making up the fresh batch released by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) at its Tuen Mun project.

That comes a decade after the nearly 335 flats sold during the holiday season in 2003, with annual sales since then never topping double digits. About 30 or 40 homes were sold in the period last year and in 2011.

This time around, it took SHKP just three hours to sell out its second batch at Century Gateway phase two.

The 170 units were priced below secondary homes nearby and came with discounts of up to 11.5 percent. They had racked up as many as 3,600 registrations.

Flats at the project at Tuen Muen MTR West Rail station average HK$10,795 per sellable square ft, or a discounted HK$9,575 per sellable square foot

Midland Realty said three buyers splashed out more than HK$12 million each to buy two units apiece.

Centaline Property Agency residential chief executive Louis Chan Wing-kit attributed the robust response to the low interest rates, which he expects will prevail for up to two more years

A mainland buyer named Luo said local homes will remain attractive as long as interest rates lag those across the border.

Meanwhile, the latest transactions saw SHKP price a new batch of 400 flats at Century Gateway at an average of HK$11,143 per sellable square foot.

Sized from 372 sq ft to 1,317 sq ft, the units carry price tags of between HK$4.09 million and HK$20.19 million. Most are two-bedroom flats, with eight special units. Sales start on Monday.

In contrast, the secondary home market was quiet over the past two days. A 532 sq ft unit at Mei Foo Sun Chuen changed hands for HK$5.1 million after its price was reduced by HK$200,000.

And a 1,428 sq ft flat at Harbour Green near Olympic MTR station sold for HK$21 million after the owner agreed to a discount of HK$1 million.
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Old January 5th, 2014, 08:17 AM   #1686
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South China Morning Post
Lawmakers vote down HK$6b funding for new RTHK headquarters
Critics say new headquarters too costly; officials say broadcaster's development will be hindered
PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 January, 2014, 11:40pm



Plans to expand Radio Television Hong Kong suffered a setback yesterday when lawmakers rejected a HK$6.1 billion proposal to build a new headquarters for the public broadcaster, saying it was too costly.

Officials expressed disappointment and said the rejection could hinder RTHK's development of digital radio and TV broadcasting, which is already lagging.

Most pro-establishment lawmakers at a meeting of the Legislative Council's public works subcommittee opposed the budget request, which was nearly four times the previous estimate of HK$1.6 billion in 2009. It was voted down by 10 votes to 15.

One pan-democrat who supported the project suggested the government had put forward a seemingly unacceptable request in the hope it would be vetoed, since RTHK current affairs programmes had been highly critical of it.

The government can still put the proposal to the full Finance Committee at a later date. But unless the funding is approved by March 20, the present quotation will expire and another round of tendering will be needed, leading to further delay and higher costs because of inflation and rising construction labour wages.

At the centre of the dispute is a long-overdue plan to build a new headquarters for RTHK in Tseung Kwan O to expand its services as part of its promised mission to fulfil the role of a public service broadcaster. The services would include 24-hour television news, enhanced digital audio broadcasting and digital terrestrial television.

RTHK plans to launch digital terrestrial broadcasts in 2018 and trials are under way. Households already receiving digital TV should be able to receive the trial signal once they have tuned their televisions to show the RTHK channel.

The plan for the new headquarters dates back to 2000, when it was estimated it would cost HK$1.5 billion. This was revised to $1.6 billion in 2009.

At yesterday's meeting, Director of Broadcasting Roy Tang Yun-kwong argued that the previous estimates were very rough. "At that time, there was no detail of the design," he said.

He warned further delay would increase the cost, citing the new Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai border crossing, for which costs rose by more than 50 per cent, to HK$24.8 billion, in just 18 months.

Legislator Elizabeth Quat, of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: "The DAB is not against building a bigger headquarters for RTHK. But must it be for such an astronomical sum of money?"

Michael Tien Puk-sun, of the New People's Party, was the only pro-establishment member to vote for the funding. "RTHK deserves a better environment," he said.

Albert Chan Wai-yip of People Power, who voted for the proposal, was sceptical. "It is well known that one of the political missions of [Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying is to 'fix' RTHK. Now the government actually wants us to vote down the project by putting forward such a lousy funding request."

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung expressed disappointment with the result.

"When we lobbied the councillors, we heard of some concerns over the amount and whether the project was value for money. Politics was not mentioned," he said.

In the latest survey on media credibility by Chinese University, RTHK was ranked the most trusted medium in Hong kong.
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Old January 10th, 2014, 11:12 AM   #1687
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RTHK to revise costs of new headquarters
South China Morning Post
9 January 2014

RTHK aims to take a revised plan for its new headquarters to the Legislative Council this month after lawmakers rejected its HK$6.1 billion funding request on Friday.

The station revealed the plan yesterday as it geared up for the launch of its new digital channel RTHK TV31 on Sunday.

Deputy director of broadcasting Tai Keen-man said that without the planned new building in Tseung Kwan O, it would be difficult for the broadcaster to offer programmes to fill the channel throughout the day.

He said the public broadcaster was now looking at different options including cost reduction before taking the amended proposal - to be completed within two weeks - back to Legco.

The HK$6.1 billion request rejected by Legco's public works subcommittee last week was almost four times the 2009 estimate of HK$1.6 billion.

While declining to spell out details, assistant director of broadcasting Forever Sze Wing-yuen said construction costs constituted the biggest part of the expense. "We have been in discussion with the Buildings Department over this," Sze said.

Tai said the new channel would enable RTHK to show its programmes on its own channel for the first time, rather than on TVB or ATV. Programme production would increase from 700 hours this year to 1,300 hours next year, with Sunday's annual Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award Concert kicking off the service.

From Monday, there would be eight and a half hours of content broadcast on weekdays and 131/2 on weekends, with 30 minutes of English programming every day. In addition, some acquired variety programmes such as current affairs show Vanguard and travel programme Somewhere on Earth would be available in both Chinese and English.

Two new drama series would be broadcast next week, as well as the restored classic Below the Lion Rock series.

The station had aimed to broadcast around the clock from 2018, but, with the new headquarters in question, this was now in doubt.

Only residents of buildings with communal aerials upgraded for digital signals can watch the new channel.

Those who have yet to upgrade can watch live broadcasts online or through the mobile phone app RTHK Screen.
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Old January 11th, 2014, 03:36 PM   #1688
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Border project hits snag in Legco
8 January 2014
South China Morning Post


Source : http://www.cedd.gov.hk/eng/projects/...ceo/5013gb.htm

Multibillion-dollar crossing with Shenzhen runs into a hitch, with lawmakers refusing to boost the budget funding by more than 50 per cent

A plan to pour another HK$8.5 billion into the construction of an eastern border crossing linking to Shenzhen failed to get past lawmakers in a vote yesterday.

The Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai crossing, for which HK$16.25 billion has already been set aside, is the second works project to suffer a setback in five days for running over budget, after legislators halted funding for RTHK’s planned new headquarters.

Two more legislature bodies are set to vote on the crossing project, with the Finance Committee having the final say.

Yesterday, members of the Legislative Council development panel blamed the concentration of major works projects within a few years for a rise in construction costs, which was seen as the biggest reason behind the government’s proposed extra funds.

“Will the cost increase be lower if projects are spread out across different times?” Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing asked.

The HK$8.5 billion accounts for more than half of the budget, approved in July.

The lawmakers questioned whether the project must be finished by 2018. The work began in 2003 to link the northeastern New Territories with Shenzhen. Major structures include a checkpoint, a new road connecting it with Fanling Highway, a tunnel and five cross-border bridges.

Joining the chorus of doubts was the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which said the crossing might not be needed urgently.

“We supported this project. But now is there really no space to postpone it?” lawmaker Ip Kwok-him said. The DAB abstained from voting.

The administration insisted on its timetable. Hon Chi-keung, director of the Civil Engineering and Development Department, warned that delays could lead to further cost increases.

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee agreed. Ip and engineering-sector legislator Dr Lo Wai-kwok were the only two panel members who backed the funding application, while 10 pan-democrats voted against it.

The government can press ahead with its application at the public works subcommittee and the Finance Committee.

The subcommittee, meanwhile, agreed to let the government table to the Finance Committee its request for HK$7.93 billion more to continue with controversial road works.

The Transport and Housing Bureau wants the extra cash for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and its link to the Island Eastern Corridor, bringing the revised total cost to HK$36 billion.

Official estimates of public works projects came under fire as being unreliable. The Labour Party’s Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung suggested reviewing the way that costs were assessed.

Deputy secretary for development Chan Chi-ming said the government had sought more funding for only 34 of its 600 projects in the past decade.

Undersecretary for transport and housing Yau Shing-mu said the existing assessment mechanism was appropriate.
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Old January 11th, 2014, 10:50 PM   #1689
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Are there any supertalls in the pipeline? Hong Kong used to be #1 in supertalls but it's falling behind quickly in the past couple of years.
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Old January 12th, 2014, 05:24 AM   #1690
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Are there any supertalls in the pipeline? Hong Kong used to be #1 in supertalls but it's falling behind quickly in the past couple of years.
Nothing right now. Lots of tall residentials are going up above train stations though.
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Old January 15th, 2014, 04:35 AM   #1691
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Action seen on height limits in Pok Fu Lam
The Standard
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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Ruins by Ding Yuin Shan, on Flickr

An extra 20,000 flats, including public rental housing and those under the Home Ownership Scheme, can be built after the height restriction in Pok Fu Lam is relaxed or lifted, a source said.

And that is among announcements expected in today's policy address by Leung Chun-ying.

Redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate is expected to be greenlighted but the government may need to study ways to beat traffic problems expected to remain even after the MTR South Island line opens.

The relaxation of height restrictions at Pok Fu Lam and Mid-Levels was one of the 10 measures on housing and land supply in last year's address.

A source said it is believed traffic capacity will increase after the MTR West and South Island lines, and the Central-Wan Chai bypass start operation.

As-yet undeveloped government land could yield several hundred flats if restrictions are lifted.

But even then, projects there would have to comply with Urban Renewal Authority restrictions.

A source said the government is studying potential development of Pok Fu Lam to increase land supply for housing in the long term.

One of the proposals is to build public housing on a plot near Chi Fu Fa Yuen as the receiving estate for the 47-year-old Wah Fu Estate.

The Wah Fu Estate plot could be used for public housing or mixed with private flats, though that proposal would need to be studied further. But a Transport Department study found traffic would be a problem as the South Island Line (West) would be quite far from the new public housing.

The department has spent HK$1.2 million to commission consultants to evaluate the effect on traffic if the development restriction is relaxed.

The source said as the current traffic situation is saturated, there may be congestion on Pok Fu Lam Road, Bonham Road and Queen's Road West with an increase in population in the district. A Central and Western District Council motion last year demanded the restriction be relaxed only after the South Island Line (West) starts operation.

Council member Cheng Lai-king said relaxing the development restriction would be difficult as Pok Fu Lam Road cannot be widened further.
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Old January 16th, 2014, 04:00 AM   #1692
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Bigger Wah Fu may get life line
The Standard
Thursday, January 16, 2014



The MTR South Island Line may be extended to Wah Fu Estate, which will be redeveloped to provide an additional 11,900 government subsidized units.

The redevelopment would be able to provide a total of 21,000 units - under both Public Rental Housing and the Home Ownership Scheme - more than double the existing 9,100 units at Wah Fu Estate, which were built over four decades ago.

The whole project at Pok Fu Lam will take at least 10-15 years to complete, as nearly 30,000 residents will have to be relocated in stages, Eddie Hui Chi-man, professor of the building and real estate department at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said.

The development moratorium on the six land plots close to Wah Fu Estate, whose original use was meant for recreation, green belt and government organizations, will first have to be lifted, government sources said.

But Southern District councillor Henry Chai Man-hon is concerned that the redevelopment will result in great traffic congestion in the area, as residents use mainly buses and minibuses to travel.

Meanwhile, Hui believes the proposed MTR line could significantly lessen the traffic problem.

As the redevelopment will take more than a decade, the traffic network could be enhanced to match the gradual increase in population, he added.

In another development, Queen's Hill Camp site in Fan Ling will be used to build public housing instead of the private university development originally planned, sources said.

Located in the North District, the site has a total area of 20 hectares.

It is believed that 13 hectares are planned for developing public housing.

A further one hectare will be used to build an international school and the rest will be given over to private housing.
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Old January 17th, 2014, 08:42 AM   #1693
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`Blind eye' claim in construction row at Hoi Ha
The Standard
Friday, January 17, 2014







The government has been accused of turning a blind eye to construction at a conservation area in Hoi Ha, Sai Kung - even though it was banned three years ago.

A group says trees have been felled and soil plowed to make way for construction.

Friends of Hoi Ha is chaired by Nicola Newbery who arrived from England 18 years ago and has been living at Hoi Ha ever since.

Newbery said the Tolo Adventure Centre was established at Hoi Ha more than 30 years ago.

"But three years ago, the Planning Department ruled that for conservation purposes, there should be no further construction or redevelopments in the area," she said.

Newbery alleges that despite this, a second story is being added to the premises of the center.

"I want to know if the government is turning a blind eye to the construction as the center is located in the middle of the conservation area."

Newbery said that in 2012, the center submitted an application seeking permission to expand the premises, but this was rejected.

"Yet the work goes on despite warning signs posted by the Lands Department," she added.

Newbery said that in November she was assaulted by a worker when she came across the construction site. Her last contact with the center was an e-mail she sent two years ago to ask for support in protecting the coast of Hoi Ha. It refused.

The Tolo Adventure Centre was established in 1978 by a Christian couple. It mainly helps teenagers develop a positive life attitude through outdoor activities and to spread Christianity. The Standard tried to contact the center but nobody answered the phone or replied to an e-mail.

The Development Bureau said it is studying relevant information and will reply later.
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Old January 19th, 2014, 06:00 PM   #1694
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Visionary, Tung Chung
12/18

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Old January 26th, 2014, 04:43 AM   #1695
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RTHK HQ cost cut by $720m
The Standard
Thursday, January 23, 2014

RTHK will cut the cost of its proposed new headquarters in Tseung Kwan O by more than HK$720 million, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said.

The Legislative Council's public works subcommittee turned down a HK$6.1 billion funding request this month because of the project's high cost.

After meeting with So, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun said the new cost of HK$5.38 billion was still too high.

He said that, as a public broadcaster, RTHK should not increase its expenses infinitely, adding that there is a lot of room to reduce the construction fees. The new plan deducted the expenses for furniture and facilities by HK$300 million, emergency expenses by HK$240 million and consultation fees and salaries by HK$36 million.

"After the deduction, there is only about HK$30 million involving hardware purchase. I am concerned whether there would be a need to replace the equipment eventually," Chung said.

He criticized the government for lacking a plan in developing the broadcaster and said that RTHK had expanded its service too widely.

He also questioned the need for RTHK to have 11 studios for its digital TV programs.

But So later corrected the number, saying RTHK will only need one more studio on top of the four in the old RTHK building on Broadcast Drive.

So said the reduced funding is about 12 percent lower than the previous estimate, which is "very significant."

He added: "If the bidding has to start all over again, the construction of the new Broadcast House would be delayed by 18 to 24 months.

"If construction costs rise by that time [the cost] would be even more expensive than now."

RTHK pledged to move its current equipment to the new Broadcast House and delay the purchase of equipment.

So believed the public would support the funding for RTHK to raise quality as its credibility remains high.

Civic Party lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said supporting the new funding proposal will depend on whether the service RTHK pledged to provide would be affected.

He questioned whether the pro-establishment lawmakers believed that the cost was too high or did not want it to produce more programs with critical views.

"I hope the general public would understand the need for funding by the concept of public broadcasting," he said.

The original cost of the project was just HK$1.6 billion in 2009.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 10:59 AM   #1696
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Only three in queue at rail stop
The Standard
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Only three developers submitted tenders yesterday to build homes atop the MTR Corp's Tin Wing Light Rail stop.

That response was sharply below expectations. For 19 developers had indicated their interest last month for the 196,249-square-foot plot in Tin Shui Wai.

So Cheung Kong Holdings (0001), Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) and Sino Land (0018) had the field to themselves.

Surveyors expect the site to yield a gross floor area of 982,298 sq ft and the cost of development to be between HK$1.96 billion and HK$2.45 billion. That would translate to HK$2,000-HK$2,500 per buildable square foot on a plot for 1,500 flats.

The site did not receive any bids last February because of the high land premium, which was set at HK$2.69 billion. The MTRC then relaunched the tender, taking an unprecedented step of waiving the need for developers to share profit from flat sales.

Also, HK$410 million for the station will be paid by the corporation. Still, the MTRC can buy the project after completion.

Looking at another factor, Stewart Leung Chi-kin, head of the Real Estate Developers Association, expects the construction cost will be more than the land price as there are caves in the area.

And Cushman & Wakefield director Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho said two larger plots near Hong Kong Wetland Park that are coming soon will be more attractive.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 03:02 PM   #1697
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Visionary, Tung Chung
12/18

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1/19

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Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong by DangerousBiz, on Flickr
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Old February 7th, 2014, 06:45 PM   #1698
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RTHK chief in funds request U-turn
The Standard
Friday, February 07, 2014

The director of broadcasting has made an about-turn, saying he will ask the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to resubmit the funding request for RTHK's new Broadcasting House.

Roy Tang Yun-kwong's U-turn came in a meeting he had with an RTHK staff union yesterday. Tang said staff would like the bureau to resubmit the proposal, rejected earlier by the Public Works Subcommittee.

"Our colleagues believe that even if the proposal will be rejected again, it should be submitted to Legco for further discussion, to reflect RTHK staff's efforts and to leave historical records."

Tang said there is no room to further reduce the project's budget.

Union chairwoman Choy Yuk-ling said staff were disappointed that Tang did not oppose the bureau's decision to withdraw the request for HK$5.3 billion funding, which was trimmed from its original proposal for HK$6.1 billion, and which lawmakers rejected.

She said Tang told the staff that he did not oppose the decision as there was nothing much he could do.

Public Works Subcommittee member Christopher Chung Shu-kun, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he still has to decide whether to vote for the modified proposal. "I will see if they have made any modification," he said.

Chung earlier said the HK$5.3 billion project was still too expensive.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing said: "We have discussed it many times. It is meaningless to resubmit the same proposal." Veteran commentator Johnny Lau Yui- siu said it is possible Tang's U-turn will briefly deflect the political pressure within the station. "After all, it is [commerce secretary] Gregory So Kam-leung who will decide whether to resubmit the proposal."

A bureau spokesman said the proposal was withdrawn as it would be rejected. On Wednesday, Tang denied accusations he betrayed RTHK's interest in agreeing to withdraw the request.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 04:21 AM   #1699
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12-year-low prices for pair of Tuen Mun plots
The Standard
Thursday, February 13, 2014







Two small residential plots in Tuen Mun have been bought for around HK$2,000 per buildable square foot - a 12-year low for the district.

The plots on Leung Tak Street, which both carry flat stipulations, were sold below market estimates of HK$2,800 to HK$4,000 per buildable sq ft - prompting home sellers in the district to cut their asking prices.

Private developer Nan Fung Group and Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) are the buyers.

For the first site, at the junction of Tsun Wen Road and Leung Tak Street, Nan Fung paid HK$455.88 million, or HK$2,162 per buildable sq ft.

The 33,465 sq ft plot, where at least 370 flats have to be built, has a gross floor area of 213,830 sq ft.

SHKP, the world's third-largest developer by market value, acquired a 26,264 sq ft site on Leung Tak Street for HK$430 million, or HK$2,599 per buildable sq ft. It has to provide at least 290 flats on the site.

Victor Lui Ting, deputy managing director of SHKP, said a total of HK$1.4 billion will be invested in the development. He said the site's advantage is it is near the Light Rail's Kin Sang stop.

Residential plots in the area cost HK$2,915 to HK$7,119 per buildable sq ft from 2003 to 2013.

One plot on Hoi Chu Road, which was sold to Sino Land (0083) in 2002, was an exception as it cost only HK$805 per buildable sq ft.

Surveyors said the two bids reflect the pessimistic views of developers.

"They were conservative in bidding amid a lackluster home market following a series of housing curbs," said Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, national director for Greater China at Cushman & Wakefield.

He expects future homes at the two sites to cost HK$9,000 to HK$9,700 per sellable sq ft.

Surveyor Leo Cheung Sing-din agreed, but noted that developers were not expected to submit high bids as the plots are small and are not located in prime districts.

Secondary homeowners in Tuen Mun, meanwhile, immediately cut their asking prices yesterday by 1-3 percent. For instance, the asking price of a 521 sq ft flat at Chelsea Heights was trimmed by HK$100,000 to HK$4.1 million.

The asking price of another unit at Marina Garden was cut by HK$50,000 to HK$4.65 million.
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Old February 22nd, 2014, 10:48 AM   #1700
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Hundreds of poor Hongkongers to lose homes in Sham Shui Po redevelopment
Urban Renewal Authority wants to redevelop warren of subdivided flats and illegal structures
PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 12:31pm
South China Morning Post







Hundreds of residents, many crammed into subdivided flats and illegal structures, will have to move out if the Urban Renewal Authority goes ahead with plans to redevelop a group of Sham Shui Po tenements built nearly 60 years ago.

Many flats in the buildings, huddled cheek by jowl between Castle Peak Road and Un Chau Street, are subdivided into cubicles, and rooftop structures are common. In one, 15 people are crammed into a two-storey structure made of wood.

Announcing the HK$1.8 billion project yesterday, the authority said it hoped to improve the run-down district's living conditions through this and other projects.

"The buildings are generally in poor condition, with unauthorised building works, subdivided units and cubicle apartments," said the authority's acquisition and clearance director, Ian Wong Wai-kuen.

One owner said he was hoping for more than HK$10,000 a square foot in compensation.

The six-storey blocks, occupying 1,900 square metres, were built between 1955 and 1956. A two-month consultation period began yesterday, with the project subject to the government's final approval.

About 230 flats will be built, providing 12,000 square metres of residential floor area, plus some 2,400 square metres of commercial space if the project - expected to be completed by 2022 - goes ahead.

Wong said a survey showed the buildings were generally dilapidated. Owners had received maintenance orders from the Buildings Department, and some parts had been renovated.

On the rooftops, dark, narrow alleys link 20 structures - three of them two storeys high. Some households share a common toilet and kitchens in the alleys.

A woman giving her name only as Fu, who lives in a two-storey structure with 14 other family members, said she hoped to get a public flat even though she arrived in the city only five years ago. "It's only fair for the government to arrange a public rental flat for us when it's demolished," she said.

Although she does not yet qualify for permanent residence, she hopes her baby granddaughters, born in Hong Kong, will be able to register for a public flat.

Fu, in her 40s, has three bunk beds, a bathroom and a kitchen in the 300 sq ft structure, housing herself and her husband, their two sons and two daughters-in-law, two granddaughters and a few elderly relatives.

The couple bought the structure from a former owner. Fu said they often saw rats, and the summer and winter weather made conditions even worse.

"It's not our choice to live here," she said. "We couldn't afford anything better."

Leung Yau-pui, who owns a 1,000 sq ft flat, said acquisition company Richfield had approached him earlier offering HK$5,000 a square foot, but he hoped the government would offer more than HK$10,000.
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