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Old July 24th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #221
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士丹頓街申減規模今審議
2009年07月24日(五)


為抗衡市建局的收購重建計劃,中區士丹頓街/永利街部分小業主連番向城規會提交規劃申請,建議保留士丹頓街60至66號4幢舊樓,惟規劃署認為,此舉令重建過於零碎,故不支持;另城規會今將審議市建局縮減上述發展項目規模的申請,地積比率較以往降44%,最新為4.5倍,規劃署並不反對。

市建局及部分小業主均就士丹頓街/永利街項目提出申請,前者申請縮減發展規模,擬建3幢6至28層高商住大廈,提供133伙,公眾諮詢期接獲411份反對意見;至於士丹頓街60至66號部分小業主提兩申請,均建議原址保留上述士丹頓街舊樓。
旺角漢普頓售1.4億

規劃署諮詢律政署後認為,小業主有權挑戰市建局的發展建議,惟保留士丹頓街舊樓會令項目過於零碎,故不支持。另界限街170C至F號申請放寬高限至89.47米,但不獲規劃署支持。

土地註冊處資料,市建局斥約1.0783億元,購入觀塘裕華大廈2至5樓其中49個單位及高層地下B舖及C舖。另旺角長沙街11號漢普頓酒店以1.47億元售出。
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Old July 29th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #222
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皇后碼頭的禮物
29 July 2009
香港經濟日報

  兩年前的 8 月 1 日,皇后碼頭被清拆-在許多反對清拆的聲音中,這些聲音從此壯大起來。兩年後,他們互贈禮物——他們,是曾參與及關心香港本土文化保育的人。他們所保衛的碼頭、街道,雖已煙消雲散,但留下了豐厚的饋贈,而他們又以行動、自己的作品回報這一饋贈。

  讓我們先回到 6 月 27 日,在兆基創意書院舉辦的「回憶中創造-多媒體詩歌錄影匯演」,可視為一系列紀念行動的先聲,也是對過去兩三年文學、藝術界參與社會保育的成績回顧展。

詩樂悼念

  在兩年前的行動中,反應最快的文藝作者是詩人和音樂人,而始終同步創作的還有影像人,所以這次匯演也是這三者為主。陳滅、葉輝、璇筠等詩人朗誦了《廢墟碼頭》等詩歌,他們當時都在皇后碼頭,主持或參與過文學沙龍和「廢墟之花-皇后碼頭文化節」的。

  為詩歌做即興伴奏的,恰是當時保衛碼頭的中堅分子:音樂人黃衍仁、林森和潘志雄。因有共同的回憶和激情,他們的結他和鼓產生的節奏,和讀詩人的節奏起伏拍和,讓人想起曾經的皇后碼頭被維港潮水拍擊的陣陣柔和,以及最後的陣陣憤怒。

  是日還有年輕獨立樂隊「粉紅 A」的 MV,由麥海珊製作,剪輯出現的是 1968 年她叔叔拍攝的超八菲林維港景象,看得讓人難過!正如「粉紅 A」歌詞所說:「來不及說一聲再見。」

小說狂想

  李維怡是當天壓軸演出的,她一直是社區保育抗爭的中堅分子,早在碼頭保衛戰之前已經活躍。她以紀錄片製作人的身份在運動中立身,曾拍攝關於利東街的《黃幡翻飛處》;偶爾又以民謠唱作人的身份出來鼓舞發聲;但在今年書展,她的身份回復原初,終於出版了第一本小說結集《行路難》。她小說家的身份一直不多為人知,作品實際涉及了香港本土社區保育的根:我們是怎樣從這些迅速捨棄的「草莽世界」中成長、蛻變為蝶的?如果是這樣,這個被「進步香港」無情碾碎的草根香港,是否含有香港最真正的價值?

  這些年,書寫涉及社區保育、抗爭主題的香港小說不少,但李維怡的小說最為觸動人,也許是因為她書寫之初,並沒有想著許多主題,而她自己就是主題的一部分,但同時,她又常常「離題」。在小說世界中「離題」是好的,離開愈遠,這世界隨之瀰漫愈大——保育抗爭,不止是保育抗爭者的汗與血;小說耕作,也不止是小說耕作者的汗與血。匯聚連結,發現除了汗與血,我們有更多微笑和狂想,這是取得勝利的最大能源。

不死回饋

  古代有惜字亭,庇護一切流離的字和紙,當字和紙變成一座亭的時候,它們又轉身來愛惜這個世界。天星、皇后碼頭、利東街……都曾經是培育我們文字和音樂、影像的亭子,現在它們消失了,也許是它們衍生的藝術,該出來建築和保衛的時候。將會在 8 月 1 日皇后碼頭被毀紀念日,正式發布的謝至德攝影集《皇天後土》,就是因此而來的「建築」之一。那天,也將有一場盛大的聚會:由當年保衛碼頭的「本土行動」召集,到時在皇后碼頭遺址除了有「一人一皇后」流動攝影展,展出專業攝影師和市民的皇后影像,還有詩人唸詩、行為藝術表演和說故事,彷彿時光倒流,把人們帶回碼頭尚未變成一堆黃泥廢墟之前的美好時光。這些時光,在謝至德的攝影集便做了一個感情充沛又不失理性的保留。

  正如梁文道的序言所說:「謝至德不是在拍必死的建築和風景,而是在拍一些『不死』的人。」這攝影集的重心明顯是在參與保衛碼頭的人身上,一張張正視被攝者尊嚴的 4 × 5 大照片,旁邊是他們的獨白:「皇后碼頭最美一刻是甚麼?」而環繞他們前後,皇后碼頭那些樸素的柱子、橫欄,結構出一個開放又安穩的所在。他們一起告訴我們:世界是為每一個普通人而創造的,公共空間給予人「家」的感覺,是一年一年點點滴滴累積而成的,絕非耗資千萬編造的山寨版空間所能取代。這個道理,應該是已逝的碼頭給我們最寶貴的禮物。
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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #223
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Photographer on mission to save Asia’s lost images
29 July 2009
The Saigon Times Daily

HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s colonial architecture and early street life may now have largely vanished, but a new foundation in the city is aiming to revive these bygone times by hunting down a trove of old photographs hidden overseas.

Tens of thousands of rare historical images from Hong Kong and other countries across Asia are now believed to lie buried in the vast collections of universities, libraries and individuals the world over, largely hidden from public view.

“Photos such as these deserve to be given a fresh audience today,?said writer and photographer Edward Stokes who set up the Hong Kong Photographic Heritage Foundation in 2008 to unearth, contextualize and publish such images.

The foundation’s first book “Hong Kong As It Was?features the striking black-and-white images of German photographer Hedda Morrison depicting everyday life in the 1940s.

“Morrison has 60,000 negatives held at Harvard and Cornell. About 10,000 have great historical, cultural and social meaning, yet only about 1,000 of them have ever been seen, have ever been published,?Stokes said.

“They show a Hong Kong so far removed from what we know today; a place struggling with its sway of refugees, its squatter shacks and its early public housing.? Since he accidentally stumbled upon Morrison’s photos in a local university library, Stokes has traveled the world trying to dig up more vanished images.

The foundation’s list of future projects runs long. Apart from reviving the works of a little-known 19th century Chinese photographer, Stokes also plans to publish other forgotten photographs from China, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

?These photographers) set out to record Asia on film, yet despite the quality of their work ... many remain little published today and that surely is a loss today to the place they portray,?Stokes said.

Urbanisation

For Hong Kong, Stoke’s mission carries added poignancy given the city’s rampant urbanization. The recent demolition of the Star Ferry Clock Tower and Queen’s Pier sparked a massive public outcry and forced the city’s leader Donald Tsang to pledge to make it his “personal mission?to improve heritage conservation.

“Are we sacrificing too much for another skyscraper??Tsang asked during a recent speech on the issue.

With many old Hong Kong photos now scattered, some say a solution could be to create a centralized facility similar to the government-funded Hong Kong Film Archive -- where thousands of vintage movies are now stored.

“To a certain extent, it is more convenient to work with a public body status,?said Richie Lam, the archive’s director.

For the likes of Sylvia Ng, the former editor of Hong Kong’s oldest photo magazine “Photo Pictorial,?finding a secure public facility to store the countless images its built up since 1964 hasn’t been easy.

“I really want these photos to have a good home, like how a mother will want her daughter to settle in a good family.? While the Hong Kong Museum of History and other public archives are home to at least 20,000 historical images, these numbers are dwarfed by initiatives elsewhere. In Singapore, around 4.6 million images are stored in its National Archives.

Other experts can’t overemphasize the importance of Hong Kong’s old photographic legacy as a unique testament to its remarkable transformation from a cluster of fishing villages to the teeming metropolis of 7 million people it is today.

“I specialize in the history of the area and they (these photos) fill in a lot of the gaps, in particular albumen photography from the 1860s to the early 1900s. They’re very popular and they’ve literally disappeared,?said Jonathan Wattis, an established dealer in historic maps and images in Hong Kong.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 08:53 PM   #224
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Art deco building another architectural treasure that looks set to bite the dust
2 August 2009
South China Morning Post

Another of the city's architectural gems faces an uncertain future.

The three-storey building has stood proudly in Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley, for more than 70 years, at one stage the centre of a protracted legal tussle. Now its days appear numbered, with a demolition order recently posted on its wall.

But its distinctive architectural style - large balconies and French windows with wrought-iron frames - has attracted the sympathy of heritage-loving Web surfers. One said: "It's a great-looking building. [It] needs a bit of love and attention."

Lee Ho-yin, director of the architectural conservation programme at the University of Hong Kong, who visited the site recently, identified the building as one of the few remaining examples of art deco architecture in the city.

"Such a building style, with terrazzo finishing, was typical in Shanghai and south China, including Hong Kong, and was very popular in the 1930s and 40s," Dr Lee said.

Conservation specialist Angela Ngai said the use of geometric patterns on the outside of the building was characteristic of art deco.

"These features are also rare in Hong Kong," she said, adding that it would be a pity if it were demolished.

Bamboo scaffolding has been erected around the building, which is wrapped in plastic sheeting. The front gate has been removed and workers are busy with tools and welding gear.

A property agent in Yik Yam Street said the owner was renovating the property to rent out. But another agent said he had heard the owner intended to pull it down and build a residential block with two units per floor.

K&W Architects, the firm responsible for the project, would not discuss plans for the building.

The distinctive design aside, the building has had a convoluted past.

It was first acquired by Ng Hop-yick in 1933.

The title was kept in the family until 1978, when Lee Chun-kong, claiming the family owed him money, began to collect rent from tenants of the property.

Mr Lee's chauffeur, Chan Kwok-chun, who collected the money for him for 20 years, somehow acquired ownership of the building by adverse possession - meaning he was considered to have had control of the site for a long period.

Mr Chan then sold the property to Mr Lee for HK$9 million while still collecting rent for himself.

The saga took another twist in 2005 when Mr Lee decided to evict the tenant, Wong Yeung-on.

Mr Wong counterclaimed that he was entitled to the building by adverse possession; he claimed the Ng family had granted the Wongs tenancy "for life" as long as they kept paying rent.

Mr Lee and the Wongs became entangled in a two-year legal battle until the courts ruled in Mr Lee's favour.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 01:29 PM   #225
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Fund-raising bid to help pier activists
4 August 2009
South China Morning Post

Netizens have launched a fund-raising campaign to save two activists who are close to bankruptcy after losing a court case they fought two years ago to preserve the 56-year-old Queen's Pier.

Ho Loy and Chu Hoi-dick, members of the group Local Action, were asked to pay a HK$270,650 legal bill incurred in seeking leave to obtain a judicial review that started in July 2007, which challenged the government's decision against giving monument status to Queen's Pier.

They were told by the Department of Justice last month that their legal aid, only approved a day before the hearing, would not cover the costs involved in earlier legal proceedings. "The amount is unaffordable. Or we would not have applied for legal aid," Mr Chu said.

A fee paid to the government's senior counsel, Benjamin Yue, accounts for more than 70 per cent of the expenses. Other expenses cover eight phone calls, 12 e-mails, preparation of legal documents and photocopying incurred by the government side.

Hundreds of users of the social networking website Facebook have backed the two activists by launching a fund-raising campaign - with each supporter donating at least HK$10.

More than HK$27,000, one-tenth of the legal expenses, was pledged from over 240 netizens on the first day of the campaign yesterday. Supporters only need e-mail the organiser citing the amount they are willing to donate, and do not need to pay immediately.

Mr Chu said the legal aid was given on the grounds that the activists fought for the public interest, and he would write a letter of objection to the Department of Justice with donors' signatures.

"I do not fear being bankrupted. I'm just concerned that people are given a fair chance to challenge the government's decisions," said the freelance writer, who has few savings.

The two activists asked for a costs exemption two years ago but it was denied. At a court hearing in September 2007, Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon said the issues raised in the judicial review were not of sufficient merit for such an exemption.

Research assistant professor Karen Kong of the University of Hong Kong's law faculty said the threshold set by the court was too high.

Associate professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting of the University of Hong Kong's Law Faculty said the activists could ask to pay in instalments to avoid going bankrupt, adding that the government would not want to encourage judicial reviews by exempting legal costs.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said the deadline for paying the cost had not been set since the amount payable had yet to be agreed by the activists.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 07:00 PM   #226
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I recognize the author :
Back to the future
Christopher DeWolf
3 August 2009
SCMP

Then: a row of ornate stone houses graced by balconies and verandas. Now: a car park. The sharp contrast is typical of the then-and-now images posted by Lee Chi-man on photo-sharing website Flickr. For two years, under the alias HK-Man, Lee has taken old photos of Hong Kong street scenes and paired them with new photos shot at the same locations and angles.

Lee's simple juxtapositions highlight the rapid changes in the city over the past century. Its colonial villas and low-rise shophouses have all but disappeared. In recent decades, footpaths have been hemmed in by metal railings and open, cluttered shopfronts glassed-in and tidied up.

"Old Hong Kong had such a special feel," says Lee, a computer animator. "I can't understand how change has come so quickly. It upsets me. The old Hong Kong you see in photos has been destroyed."

Lee is just one of many locals taking their interest in local history and heritage online with blogs, photo-sharing and networking websites. And in the process, they are contributing new histories, memories and insights.

Last month, former computer programmer David Bellis launched Gwulo, a website that he hopes will become a hub for history-related discussion. A spin-off from the popular expatriate website Batgung, it combines regular blog posts with users' photos and information about Hong Kong's past, with places mentioned on the site cross-referenced to online maps.

"It's not just about bringing out the content, it's about revealing the links," Bellis says.

A lot of services let users know when and where a photo was taken, but many people also want information about the buildings, streets and places depicted. Such details are often available in books, library archives and newspaper clippings, but not in a user-friendly online format, he says.

"Our idea is to link everything so if you see people or a place in a photo, you can easily find out more."

As well as scouring official databases for clues on Hong Kong's past, Bellis wants to tap the resources of Gwulo users. He has already had some impressive results. When he began compiling a Google map of tunnels built by the Japanese during their occupation of Hong Kong, he only had four listed. Now there are 25, thanks to exhaustively detailed recollections, photos, maps and reports posted by his readers.

"There's so much stuff locked away inside people's heads," says Bellis. "Instead of keeping it in there, let's open it up."

Jack Tam Wai-kai, who grew up in a Wong Tai Sin squatter settlement in the 1960s and 70s, echoes that message. A creative media graduate, he swaps stories and photos of old Hong Kong on Flickr and Discuss.com.hk, an online forum.

In the past, he says, most Hongkongers were too poor to be concerned about the city around them, so they focused on building better lives for themselves. Now that the city has prospered - often at the expense of its physical and cultural character - "we can only find the old Hong Kong in memories".

His own memories are poignant reminders of the struggle many Hongkongers faced in the decades after the war.

"It was tough growing up in a shantytown. We didn't have two major amenities - toilets and fresh water supply," he recalls. "The public toilets and fresh-water taps were hundreds of metres away from our homes. For kids, everywhere was a toilet. You can imagine that.

"[But] we young kids could also enjoy near-rural lives as we lived near the hills and mountains. We would climb the mountain when the weather was good, go swimming after a heavy downpour, catch insects, beetles and all kinds of wild stuff on the hillside."

Scavenging was the norm for those who lived in squalor. With no sex education in schools, young men in the squatter camps learned about sex from porn magazines dumped in the rubbish heaps outside their houses. Kids would scour filthy nullahs for trinkets dropped by passers-by, "ranging from coins to wedding rings and toy cars", says Tam.

Many people use discussion boards and online groups to share their memories of the past. In a Yahoo group dedicated to wartime Hong Kong, one woman posted her 86-year-old brother's vivid account of finding a live mine on the beach near his house on Cheung Chau. Another contributor, Barbara Anslow, recalls the water shortages prisoners faced in the Japanese detention camp at Stanley.

"[Our] four-room flat was occupied by 25 internees, including a young couple with an infant who lived in the tiny kitchen and a mother with toddler who lived on the little landing between the first and second floors, whose only privacy was an eye-high piece of curtain suspended from the walls," she writes. "Chlorinated drinking water was available from a tap in the courtyard. There was a constant queue all day long in the courtyard for hot water for tea from a couple of small domestic boilers, but you could only get enough for that purpose - never enough for a wash."

But the discussion isn't limited to old memories. Philip Kenny, a stay-at-home dad in Tai Po, uses his blog, Hong Kong Stuff, as a way to explore Hong Kong's more overlooked corners. On Hong Kong War Diary, historian Tony Banham posts detailed accounts of his research, including copies of old photos and letters he has found.

Many heritage enthusiasts hope to make such resources widely accessible. Tam, for instance, often takes photos from government sources such as the websites of the Government Records Service or Hong Kong Public Libraries, which do not allow users to tag them or post comments, and uploads them to Flickr.

Tam and Bellis criticise many official heritage resources for failing to embrace so-called Web 2.0 tools such as commenting and social media functions. While many digital government collections around the world allow users to share and redistribute their content, most of Hong Kong's online archives feature outdated designs that make it hard to even link to an object. The online image catalogue of the Government Records Service hasn't been revised since 2005.

But advocacy organisations have little Web presence either. The Conservancy Association's Peter Li Siu-man admits its website needs work, but says such a revamp isn't a priority, given time and budget constraints.

"Hong Kong is fairly backward about social activism online," says Diane Stormont, who teaches online media at Hong Kong and Baptist universities. The only recent heritage campaign that made use of blogs and social media, she notes, was the fight to save a Central street market from redevelopment.

But even that campaign's website, Savethestreetmarket.com, has been inaccessible for months.

Still, if the growing online interest in heritage is a reflection of greater public awareness, it may only be a matter of time before heritage activism makes itself felt on the Web. Concern is mounting on discussion boards over the plan to relocate the bus terminal at the Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui; 1881 Heritage, a nearby luxury shopping mall that was carved out of the old Marine Police Headquarters, is also the subject of angry discussion.

"Collective memory is a great concern these days, as landmarks which marked the success of Hong Kong, and wherein the success of Hong Kong lies, have been vanishing rapidly," says Tam.

"That's why young people are coming out and crying for the conservation of old buildings [such as] Queen's Pier, the Tsim Sha Tsui pier, King Yin Lane and Bruce Lee's old residence."

Although Lee is only in his 30s, he has seen much of the city of his youth disappear. Reclamation has left the waterfront, once his favourite spot to meet friends, a tangle of disjointed development, he says.

"I used to enjoy the wideness of the water. I grew up in Hung Hom and I would go to the old pier to ride my bicycle while my dad fished," he says. "Now the pier has gone and it takes ages just to walk to the new one. The harbour is narrow and there's highways all along the shore. I don't see why we are trading our old street life for new development."
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Old August 13th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #227
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360 submissions received on historic buildings assessment
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Government Press Release

The Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) had received about 360 submissions from the public on the proposed grading of 1,444 historic buildings, a spokesman for AMO said today (August 12).

The public was invited by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) in mid-March to give views before the end of July on the proposed grading and provide additional information on those 1,444 historic buildings in Hong Kong.

The concerns expressed by building owners were mainly over the grading implications on their properties and development rights. Some owners suggested that their buildings should be downgraded or taken from the list.

There were also suggestions to upgrade certain historic buildings, such as the Central Market, Shek O Tin Hau Temple, Lei Yue Mun Tin Hau Temple, the shophouses in Shanghai Street, the pill box and stone house in Diamond Hill, and the former Royal Air Force Station Buildings in Kai Tak.

In the case of the Central Market, which is currently a Grade III building, suggestions for a higher grading are based on its social, historical and architectural merits, as well as its rarity and authenticity. As for the Shek O Tin Hau Temple and Lei Yue Mun Tin Hau Temple, views have been expressed that they are landmarks of the areas, having a long history and bearing much social value. As regards the shophouses in Shanghai Street, the pill box and stone house in Diamond Hill, and the former Royal Air Force Station Buildings in Kai Tak, the suggestion for a higher grading is due to their group value and rarity, and being historic structures barely left in their respective districts.

During the consultation period, the AAB met representatives from 17 District Councils and four professional bodies - Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects, Hong Kong Institute of Planners and Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors to listen to their views.

Based on comments received from the public and owners of those privately-owned historic buildings, AMO will review the preliminary assessment result in consultation with AAB’s Expert Panel, and submit recommendations to the AAB for consideration.

AAB will have more meetings in the next few months to go through all the 1,444 buildings in detail and consider public feedback as well as AMO/Expert Panel’s advice. It is expected that the final results will be available by the end of the year.

The assessment results of the historic buildings and the proposed grading, are available on AMO’s website www.amo.gov.hk/en/aab.php.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #228
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Public pressure for status of Central Market to be upgraded
13 August 2009
SCMP

The fate of Central Market will return to the agenda of government heritage advisers after submissions in a public consultation that it should be upgraded and protected.

The grade-three historic building in Des Voeux Road Central, on the government's list of sites for sale, has no legal protection and is subject to commercial redevelopment.

The Antiquities and Monuments Office said yesterday there were public submissions calling for an upgrading of its status, based on its social, historical and architectural merits, plus its rarity and authenticity.

When the site was put on the land sale list in 2006, conditions were laid down to require the purchaser to display items of historical and architectural interest for public viewing.

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said the government had no intention of removing it from the land sale list.

The community has in recent years become more outspoken in campaigning for the preservation of the building. The Institute of Architects conducted a study in 2005, which said the four-storey structure would be the last piece of 1930s Bauhaus architecture in the city after Wan Chai Market was partially demolished for a high-rise. It also said it was the most advanced market in the city when opened in 1939.

Katty Law Ngar-ning, convenor of the Central and Western Concern Group, said it was a magnificent building and should eventually be declared a statutory monument.

"The current grading was made almost 20 years ago and public sentiments have changed drastically in recent years, reflected by strong public call for preservation of the Star Ferry Clock Tower and Queen's Pier. There is an urgent need to reassess the heritage significance of this important public building," she said.

The chairman of the Institute of Architects' heritage and conservation committee, Eric Lee Chung-ming, said the market should be preserved. "It should be given temporary uses to prevent further deterioration," he said.

Kam Nai-wai, Democratic Party district councillor in Central and Western District, said the council had always hoped the market would stay "not only because it is historic, but also it is an important low-rise space in the very dense Central".

The Antiquities Advisory Board will start to review in the next few months all the proposed gradings of the 1,444 historic sites with the 360 public submissions gathered during the consultation.

Some of the submissions came from building owners who requested their properties be downgraded or taken from the heritage list.

Other sites where there have been calls for an upgrade are Tin Hau temples in Shek O and Lei Yue Mun, and shophouses in Shanghai Street which the Urban Renewal Authority is planning to revitalise. Objections were raised against the removal from the heritage list of a stone house in Diamond Hill that stands on the site of a future railway depot.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 11:26 AM   #229
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Opinion : Should the shoeshiners be allowed to stay in Theatre Lane?
21 August 2009
South China Morning Post

I refer to the report "Brush-off for shoeshiners in Theatre Lane revamp" (August 13). I do not want your readers to think that the shoeshiners are being squeezed out of Theatre Lane by the developer of the adjacent property, Luk Hoi Tong.

Luk Hoi Tong has always supported the presence of shoeshiners in that lane. We have peacefully coexisted with the shoeshiners for more than 40 years and consider them to be part of the historic culture of this area.

We support licences being given to the shoeshiners currently occupying Theatre Lane.

However, all issues of public safety must be thoroughly considered before formally setting the terms of the licences.

In accordance with building regulations and general building plans approved by the Buildings Department and Fire Services Department on January 25, 2006, emergency vehicular access is required for Theatre Lane. The developer had to abide by regulations when the new building was planned and designed.

Our letter to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department reminded the department to take the emergency access into consideration when deciding on hawker licences for the shoeshiners.

We did not object to the issuance of hawker licences in the letter or indicate that "shoeshiners should not be located outside [our] building".

For most of the past 50 years, the shoeshiners operated not in the middle of the lane but at the quieter end near Des Voeux Road.

They occasionally came into the Luk Hoi Tong Building for shelter when there was a downpour.

The shoeshiners have told the local media that they wish to operate in a location close to the end of the lane near Des Voeux Road Central.

We hope the department can take note of these views.

Your graphic incorrectly marked the "area now used by shoeshiners". They are in fact stationed in the area that is designated as the emergency vehicular access. This has caused a misunderstanding among some of your readers, including Clement Wong (Talkback, August 17).

Overall, Luk Hoi Tong is confident that the shoeshiners can be given licences to operate in Theatre Lane, and at the same time public-safety concerns with regard to emergency vehicular access can be respected.

This is possible if the government licensing process is carried out in a thoughtful manner.

Lau Chi-keung, project manager, Luk Hoi Tong Co Ltd Redevelopment Project
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Old September 1st, 2009, 05:33 AM   #230
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Group hopes for miracle to save Central Market
The Standard
Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Central & Western Concern Group is hoping for a miracle to save Central Market.

The group wants to preserve the building - the city's only remaining large Bauhaus-style market built in 1939 - before it is put up for sale.

If the market, located between Jubilee Street and Des Voeux Road Central, is removed from the application list, it would bar the building from sale for the time being. "It will also allow the government to consider how to make good use of it without demolishing it," said Katty Law Ngar-ning of the concern group, adding it is hoping for a heritage impact assessment.

It will also apply to the Town Planning Board to change the use of land to make it impossible to build a commercial building. The market is marked as a Grade III historic building and can be demolished. "The former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters was on the application list. It was removed from the list after pressure from concern groups. We are hoping for a miracle again," Law said.

Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said: "One more 40-story building in the district will ruin Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang- wah's measures to cut emissions to make the air cleaner."

Vincent Au Yeung Wai-hon, whose family worked in the market selling seafood until its closure in 2000, said: "The building has good ventilation and our family never felt hot despite having no air-conditioning in the 80s."
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 04:33 AM   #231
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Four more historic sites need sensitive renovation
29 August 2009
South China Morning Post

The government is inviting applications to renovate four other historic buildings - the Old House in Sha Tin, the Stone House in Kowloon City, the Old Tai Po Police Station and the former Fanling Magistracy. Whoever takes on the projects will face the challenge of preserving their architectural style and the ecologically sensitive surroundings of some.

Take the Old House, built in 1911, which is in Wong Uk Village - a typical Chinese village residence that sits on what was once the Sha Tin waterfront. The government has suggested it be turned into a cafe, gallery or activity centre. But it is small - 328 square metres - so facilities such as toilets and a machine room would need to be added. The new structures must be of a scale and style harmonious with the original, guidelines for would-be applicants say.

They should not be so close to the house that they affect appreciation of its facade, and should not be bigger or taller than it. The roof parapet of the house is 8.45 metres high.

Similar restrictions apply to renovation of the Stone House in Kowloon City. The 208 square metre property is in a row of five houses built in the 1940s. It once housed a film studio whose stable of actresses included Josephine Siao Fong-fong and Connie Chan Po-chu.

The Old Tai Po Police Station is next to an important habitat for egrets and herons, and trees identified as old and valuable are on or near the site.

The government says interested organisations should not disturb the area's sensitive ecology. It suggests the former police station be turned into an educational institution, an arts and cultural village, a youth hostel or a holiday camp.

The government also suggests that Fanling Magistracy be used for arts or educational purposes. The biggest of the five buildings on offer, it is expected to be incorporated into an arts and cultural centre the Leisure and Cultural Services Department proposes to build next door. The centre will house a 1,200-seat auditorium to serve the eastern New Territories.

Henry Lo Ka-yu, project manager of Chinese University's Centre for Architectural Heritage Research, warned that applicants for the renovation projects should not repeat the mistakes that were made with the former marine police headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui - which recently opened as an upmarket shopping centre and hotel, Heritage 1881. Any new structures built should be distinguished from the historic buildings and should not overwhelm them, Mr Lo said.

One of the criticisms of Heritage 1881 is that it is hard to tell the historic buildings from new structures built alongside it, which include a three-storey podium housing shops. Critics also faulted developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) for levelling the hill on which the headquarters stood and removing many mature trees on the site in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui.

Heritage Commissioner Jack Chan Jick-chi said there were two options for developing the Old House. Small organisations which might not be able to afford the upkeep of an 8,700-square metre open space in front of the building will be offered the option of taking around 4,000 square metres of it, with the government taking the rest.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #232
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Tsang set to free up old factories for artists
31 August 2009
South China Morning Post

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is expected to announce steps in his policy address to speed up the reuse of old industrial buildings in districts like Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan to boost the development of creative industries.

It is one of the measures being considered to develop the arts into one of the six new economic "pillars" to diversify the city's economy.

A government official said that in his October 14 address the chief executive was likely to unveil a series of measures to help convert more rundown or underused industrial buildings to affordable working space for artists.

"Underutilised industrial buildings in districts such as Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan are possible sites for conversions," the official said.

Another official said the measures would apply to both government and privately owned factories.

The Housing Authority manages eight government factory estates in Kwai Chung, Kowloon Bay, Cheung Sha Wan, Chai Wan, Tuen Mun and Fo Tan, providing a total of 9,300 units.

The Development Bureau is studying possible incentives to encourage the conversion and redevelopment of the buildings, including lowering the land premium.

It might also lower the threshold at which the sale of a building can be forced, from 90 per cent ownership to 80 per cent. A nine-storey industrial building in Shek Kip Mei was transformed into the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre last September to provide affordable working space for the city's artists.

The project, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, was supported by the Baptist University and the club.

The Planning Department is conducting a survey to look at the vacancy rate and possible uses of industrial buildings.

The survey, which is scheduled to be completed in October, covers more than 80,000 units in various districts.

A senior town planner said some projects, such as those setting up design centres and multimedia studios, were already allowed in existing industrial buildings in Tsuen Wan East and Chai Wan Kok without the need to gain Town Planning Board approval.

The planner said the study's preliminary findings showed that some industrial buildings were still in use and converting them would take effort and care.

"For example, industrial operations might pose fire risks to artists and other occupants if they are all in the same building. Sudden change of land use will also bring extra traffic to the district," the planner said.

The other five pillars identified by the government-appointed Task Force on Economic Challenges are education, medical services, environmental industry, innovation and technology, as well as food safety and product testing.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #233
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Heritage 1881
Source : http://ecfoto.net/ansonkong/photo_sh...N0p_lUr0ITfwTQ























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Old September 14th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #234
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Property tycoon disputes heritage value of building
Mid-Levels pre-war building is earmarked for historic status

12 September 2009
South China Morning Post

The head of the city's biggest real estate firm has challenged official plans to award historic status to his Mid-Levels property, a pre-war European-style building.

The house on 44 Conduit Road is described by the Antiquities and Monuments Office as "a rare example of the early Western-style buildings that were once there {hellip} and should therefore be regarded as a valuable piece of heritage" in the light of intensive development in the area.

Shih Wing-ching, chairman of Centaline (Holdings), confirmed yesterday that he had written to the office asking why it had proposed, in a review of 1,444 historic sites, a grade-three status for his building.

"I bought the house not because it was a heritage piece. I got it only to earn rental income," Shih said.

Now dwarfed by apartment towers in the Mid-Levels, the two-storey block was built before the second world war and initially used as living quarters. The block, with a flat roof and a chimney stack, featured neo-classical architecture such as an imitation stone plinth, ornamental apron mouldings under the windows and cornices below the walls, the antiquities office said.

While conduits, lighting and signage on the facade had compromised authenticity, all these features were reversible, the office said. Restoration of the front facade was needed, it added.

But Shih doubted the architectural value of his house, saying that what he found on the internet about neo-classical features were different from what the site showed.

"The historic value is also limited as the public have little memory of it," he said. He did not know when it was built as no occupation permit was available.

The building is leased to a branch of Centaline Property Agency under Shih's group, with the second floor used as a showroom of a new residential estate for sale in the area.

He declined to say whether he had any sale or redevelopment plans for the building.

Shih is among the owners of 10 private properties who have asked for a delisting from the heritage list.

Bernard Chan, chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, said it would invite Shih and the other owners in the next few months to a meeting, and if necessary a site visit, to clarify their doubts.

Chan also said the antiquities office would soon publicise the detailed grading criteria and reasons for all the 1,444 historic buildings.

"A grade will give the owners benefits, such as grants for repairs and maintenance. And it will not affect your property rights," he said.

Gradings do not grant legal protection to historic sites, but the government would make efforts to negotiate with owners for preservation if they wanted to demolish properties, in particular for grade-one sites.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #235
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Thanks a lot. I think it's funny too.
Works great! Thank you for posting this.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #236
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FS visits Tsang Tai Uk
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Government Press Release





The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, today (September 16) visited the Tsang Tai Uk to see how maintenance of its ancestral hall was progressing.

Accompanied by the Commissioner for Heritage, Mr Jack Chan, Mr Tsang toured the open courtyard and the ancestral hall of the residence, a Grade I historic building constructed in 1847. The residence is a notable example of a traditional Hakka style walled village house, and it is also the best preserved one in Hong Kong.

During his visit, Mr Tsang was briefed on the progress of the application for financial assistance for restoration of the building's ancestral altar and front hall roof, and the main hall and ritual hall of the ancestral hall. The financial assistance scheme was introduced following the Chief Executive's 2007-08 Policy Address which announced that financial support would be offered to privately owned graded historic buildings in a bid to conserve historical and heritage sites for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Mr Tsang said the application was approved in July this year, with $1 million being granted. The appointment of a consultant for the renovation works would begin soon.

Before ending his visit, Mr Tsang also met representatives of the village to exchange views on preserving the historic building.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 11:51 AM   #237
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Councillors fear historic sites were downgraded to make way for depot
22 September 2009
South China Morning Post

District councillors will confront heritage officials today when they vote on a motion opposing the downgrading of two historic structures in Diamond Hill that may be removed to make way for a large railway depot.

Lam Man-fai - who will table the motion at the Wong Tai Sin District Council when officials from the Commissioner for Heritage's Office pay a visit today - said many councillors were unhappy the three heritage sites in the former Tai Hom village had been left to decay, and two had been downgraded without a reason.

The Antiquities and Monuments Office has proposed that the grade-three Old Stone House - home of actor Qiao Hong in the 1950s and '60s and part of the village that was home to many directors and stars - be removed from the heritage list.

On the other side of the site, a second world war pillbox, or military bunker, faces having its status diminished from grade two to three.

The stone house and the pillbox, together with the former Royal Air Force hangar, which keeps its grade-three status, are all that is left of the village, which was taken over by squatters before being cleared in the late 1990s. Lam said the stone house had been damaged by intruding tree roots and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. "These three items are almost the only heritage in our district. But officials just fence them up and never come to repair them."

Lam suspected the government was downgrading the buildings to make it easier for the MTR Corporation to clear the site to build the depot for the future Sha Tin-to-Central link.

Just two weeks ago, the Antiquities and Monuments Office said the depot's tracks would encroach on the stone house and the hangar, so in situ preservation was impossible, and it may not be feasible to restore the two after dismantling.

The MTR Corp plans to cover the 7.2-hectare site with a 17-track depot, which will be partly underground for rail maintenance and storage. On top will be a residential and commercial development. An MTR Corp spokeswoman said the three historic structures would be "reprovisioned" but declined to give details.

"After depot construction, they could be moved to somewhere else or returned to where they are."

The company is preparing an environmental impact assessment for the railway and relocation plan.

Wallace Chang Ping-hung, a professor of architecture at Chinese University, said the MTR Corp had never been able to explain to him why the depot had to be so large as to cover the whole site, given there were other depots in Kowloon and Sha Tin.

"It's always the money-and-time argument. Their plan amounts to raping the heritage," he said.

Taking the depot underground and making it smaller might enable the heritage buildings to remain and also reduce noise, but the MTR Corp had told him that would take more time and cost more.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 02:00 PM   #238
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great

Spongo que preservar las construcciones no solo en Hong Kong sino en todo el orbe ha de ser prioritario para las administraciones locales.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:15 AM   #239
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Concern over owners' objections to gradings
24 September 2009
South China Morning Post

Heritage advisers are at a loss on how to deal with building owners who may object or even pose a legal challenge to the historic gradings proposed on their properties.

Antiquities Advisory Board members queried whether they should accept owners' objections to changes to a grading or listing.

Their concerns come as the board is receiving owners' feedback on the proposed gradings of 1,444 historic sites in a heritage review completed earlier this year. So far, 10 owners have asked for a delisting, and there were requests to upgrade 83 buildings and add 92 sites.

Board chairman Bernard Chan said he was confused about the policy when it came to objections.

"Our grade one to three buildings have no legal protection {hellip} Should we agree if owners ask for a downgrade? But then what's the use of this if they can demolish their buildings anyway?" Chan asked.

He urged the government to advise on the matter before the board consolidated the gradings by the end of the year.

Board member Dr Lee Ho-yin said he was worried the board could be sued if it did not accept owners' objections.

An appeal mechanism should be introduced for owners and the public, another board member, Professor Simon Shen Xu-hui, suggested. He said this would be important in such controversial cases as in the Queen's Pier saga. Conservation activists called for a judicial review against the government's decision not to declare the pier as a monument.

Commissioner for Heritage Jack Chan Jick-chi agreed to seek legal advice. He also declined to comment on a report that the government plans to withdraw Central Market from the land sale list for conservation.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #240
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From news.gov.hk:
Central Market to become (HK)$500m 'oasis'

More info from the Urban Renewal Authority

Notes: US$1=HK$7.8
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