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Old August 12th, 2007, 06:07 PM   #41
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Council runs jail tours in bid to save historic Central complex
6 December 2006
South China Morning Post














Nine thousand people will get a glimpse of life behind bars over three weekends next month as part of a campaign to save the historic Central Police Station complex from commercial redevelopment.

Trained guides will lead visitors on tours of the 150-year-old Victoria Prison, organised by the Central and Western District Council, explaining daily prison life and demonstrating prisoners' tasks.

Democratic Party district councillor Kam Nai-wai said it was hoped the open days would boost the public's knowledge of and respect for the city's heritage, and show the government that turning the heritage site into a commercial project was not the only solution.

The cluster of buildings on the Hollywood Road site - the prison, the Central Police Station and the Central Magistracy - have been declared monuments, which protects them from demolition.

It had been planned to call for tenders to redevelop the site commercially, but protests forced the government to reopen the consultation. No decision has been made.

"We hope the public will join us to persuade the government none of the buildings should be demolished," Mr Kam said.

Henderson Land general manager for sales Tony Tse Wai-chuen said: "Development doesn't equal demolition. The most important thing is the historic buildings will have economic value. Preservation shouldn't rely on public coffers."

Henderson Land and Town Gas put up HK$100,000 to sponsor the open days.

The prison will be open on January 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. Tickets are available at www.hkticketing.com or by phone at 3128 8288. Tickets are HK$25 but Central and Western District students can buy tickets for HK$20 at the Caritas Centre.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:30 AM   #42
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Fair's pictorial books on heritage prove popular with youth
20 July 2007
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong's young readers are turning to books on local culture and history, made more accessible by a growing popularity of "comic essays".

Nestled among the vast variety of books at the Book Fair are many types of pictorial books, which tell the story of Hong Kong, including tales of Queen's Pier and the old Kai Tak airport.

One author, Albert Sung, who has written and illustrated The Sung Family - a story of his family's life with a history of Hong Kong as a backdrop - said these kinds of books often reflected local culture and history, interspersed with black humour and social commentary.

That these books have more images than words, Mr Sung said, made them more attractive to young readers brought up on comic books.

"Young people don't like words too much," he said. "They often find hard-data history books too boring. These books are certainly an easier approach to telling them the history of local culture."

He added that a lot of younger readers turned to history as a means of finding their own identity.

Urban sociologist Denny Ho Kwok-leung from the Polytechnic University said many young people were not confident about their future, so they looked back to the old days as a way of dealing with the present.

"They use collective memories to romanticise the past for the redevelopment of the future, to reinstall the past generation or to protect the good old days." he said.

He explained that a lot of young people saw the past as more idyllic than the future, while some adults also refused to embrace adulthood, remaining "kidults".

The comic essays may be a new form of media, Dr Ho said, but he was worried about their use. "It may result in a lack of imagination among younger readers," he said.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 07:35 PM   #43
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Preserving Shek Kip Mei
http://www.meihohouse.hk/competition/eindex.php

Shek Kip Mei Estate was Hong Kong’s first resettlement estate with a long history of more than 50 years. It also marked the beginning of public housing development in the city. Having regard to Mei Ho House’s significant role in the history of public housing, it has been accorded Grade I historic building status by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 2005. With the redevelopment of Shek Kip Mei Estate, Mei Ho House is the last “H” shaped resettlement block still standing in Hong Kong. In line with Shek Kip Mei Estate’s redevelopment, the Competition will encourage members of Hong Kong’s professional institutes/associations of Architects, Engineers, Planners, Surveyors, Landscape Architects and Designers and the general public to suggest creative ideas that will rekindle the life of Mei Ho House and its vicinity.

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Old August 17th, 2007, 07:37 PM   #44
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擁70年歷史 數十萬元「復古」
赤柱郵局重塑舊貌

17/08/2007
太陽報









【記者張偉光報道】香港郵政決定動用數十萬元保留全港最古老、擁有七十年歷史的赤柱郵政局。郵局全面翻新後,外貌和內部裝置全面復修至三、四十年代時的樣貌,除提供郵政服務外,亦能成為赤柱旅遊景區的新成員。

展現佐治六世時期風格
赤柱郵政局位於黃麻角道二號的一間單層小屋建築物,面積約只有五百平方呎,自一九三七年落成至今的用途都是郵政局。香港郵政內部經討論後,認為該建築物有歷史價值,亦可作為旅遊景點,故決定保留有關郵政局,並投放資源翻新。

赤柱郵政局開放至明(十八)日後便會暫時停止服務,翻新工程隨即在下周一(二十日)展開,預計到今年十一月底前完成。工程包括翻新外觀,但會盡量保留原貌,而內部將會由現時較現代化的陳設,復修至三、四十年代的仿古裝潢;並拆除現有假天花,展示原有橫樑屋頂,櫃位將用回當年的設計,令人可感受英王佐治六世時的建築風格。

而香港郵政將安排休局期間,在黃麻角道十四號(即赤柱郵政局鄰近)的赤柱公立醫局附近停車場,設置流動郵政車為赤柱居民提供郵政服務。

香港郵政較早前曾諮詢南區區議會意見,該區區議員歡迎決定,認為有助推介赤柱一些具特色的建築物成為區內的景點,亦能保留其實用價值。
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Old August 18th, 2007, 05:58 AM   #45
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Tours promote Central heritage
17 August 2007
South China Morning Post

The Central and Western District Council is organising tours to raise public awareness of its remaining heritage after the destruction of the Star Ferry and Queen's piers, and the looming removal of other landmarks.

It will hold walking tours of eight streets between now and late next month.

These will take visitors to places of interest such as the Duddell Street Steps, Staunton Street, Hollywood Road, Lyndhurst Terrace, Graham Street, Pottinger Street and Li Yuen Street east and west, as well as the lane known as Chop Street.

"Central has lots of historical edifices," said district councillor Kam Nai-wai. "It is a place with character and should be preserved."

He said the two piers had raised public concern about community conservation, and the tours would help people appreciate the district and understand the importance of conservation.

The 15-metre-long Man Wa Lane, dubbed Chop Street because it has more than 20 stalls with craftsmen carving personal seals from stones, is one of the highlights.

Hiking Association chairman Johnny Chow Kwok-keung, one of the guides, said most of the stalls had operated for two generations and "display delicate craftsmanship".

Lyndhurst Terrace, built in the 1840s, was infamous for brothels in the late 19th century. The area is now home to a well-known traditional flower market.

Participants will be introduced to the characteristics of the eight streets by professional guides. There are tours conducted in Putonghua, English and Cantonese.

Tour charges are HK$10 per person. Advanced bookings are required. Interested parties may call Hong Lok Travel on 2246 9223.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 07:19 PM   #46
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Call for antiquities board to be replaced
20 August 2007
South China Morning Post

An independent statutory body with the authority to declare monuments should be set up to replace the Antiquities Advisory Board, a conservationist said yesterday.

The idea of a heritage conservation board was proposed by People's Council for Sustainable Development chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak at a forum organised by Local Action, which led the campaign to prevent the demolition of Queen's Pier. "It should have the power to declare not only historical buildings as monuments, but also intangible items of historical interest," he said.

Mr Lai's group is an NGO that was established in September 2003 to push for sustainable development in the city.

Regarding Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon's judgment on the judicial review over the ferry terminal, he said the power and the discretion to declare a building a monument were in the hands of the Antiquities Authority, while the board played only an advisory role.

Mr Lai suggested that the conservation board have a two-tier structure, with subcommittees in eastern and western New Territories, eastern and western Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island to consult the public.

Meanwhile, Chu Hoi-dick, a core member of Local Action, said it would make a decision on whether to appeal against its defeat in the judicial review in the next few days.

About 20 members of the group made more than 100 paper planes and a huge paper crane penned with their best wishes for the pier in Edinburgh Place before yesterday's forum. They flew the paper planes over hoardings and water barriers at the site.

Mr Chu said some members wanted to stand as candidates in the coming district council elections to air their heritage opinions. Local Action and Heritage Watch, a loose alliance of conservation groups, was also planning to hold a forum for candidates of the Legco by-election for Hong Kong Island to urge them to include heritage conservation in their platforms.

Separately, the Chinese University Student Union started an online petition urging the government to explain how it would balance conservation and development.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 01:34 PM   #47
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A taste of the past will benefit our city
21 August 2007
South China Morning Post

The discussion about preserving Hong Kong's past and present has focused on sights: buildings, street markets and ferry piers. A society is about more than what we see around us, though; if the picture is to be truly complete, we have to also consider our senses of smell, hearing, touch and taste.

A cultural expert rightly pointed this out at the Food Expo yesterday, saying that there are a number of types of food that our city can call its own. We should, he suggests, make every effort to keep these for the enjoyment of future generations.

Many younger residents, growing up surrounded by fast-food restaurants, have probably never tasted these - chicken pie, egg tarts and che chai noodles among them. Not having eaten them, nor will they have ventured into the small restaurants in older parts of Hong Kong where people from generally not-so-young generations put their heart and soul into preparing and cooking such specialities.

Hong Kong is the home of these foods. They were created here and their recipes have been passed down through the generations. Just as development is threatening buildings and streetscapes, so too are these tastes of Hong Kong in danger of disappearing. Fast food is taking away potential customers. Shops are being torn down to make way for redevelopment. The cooks are ageing, and the low pay and hot kitchens are unattractive to younger generations, who can secure office jobs that not only pay better, but also offer air-conditioned comfort.

Tastes change with time, of course. So do trends: a gleaming fast-food restaurant is, perhaps, a more fashionable place for young people to hang out with friends than a somewhat less modern establishment in a run-down part of town. Some teenagers would prefer to be seen eating western food than a steaming bowl of noodles.

The expert says it is a matter of perceptions; that if parents took their children to sample such specialities, they might like them and word would spread. If the government and media helped out, there is a good chance that this part of our culture would be saved. Perhaps the restaurants would even become part of the tourist trail.

Culture cannot be forced on people. Over time, aspects are either embraced, adapted or discarded by societies. The matter is not one of policy, but likes and dislikes. Nonetheless, the issue is a valid one which should be considered as the discussion about Hong Kong's heritage, in a wider sense, continues.
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Old August 27th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #48
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Activists to turn attention to reforming preservation system
27 August 2007
South China Morning Post

Activists from Local Action have decided not to appeal against the ruling over the fate of Queen's Pier because of the "unbearable financial risk". Instead, they will shift their focus to reforming the heritage preservation system.

"Although we could still debate this case on legal grounds, we would need to bear an unbearable financial risk because the chance of getting legal aid to pursue the case is very bleak," Chu Hoi-dick and Ho Loy of Local Action said in a statement yesterday.

The group will now try to "reform the current heritage preservation system; in particular, to change the current shortcoming about the excessive power of the Antiquities Authority chief".

On August 10, High Court Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon declared lawful former home affairs secretary Patrick Ho Chi-ping's decision against granting monument status to Queen's Pier. This ruling cleared the way for not only its demolition, but also the final stage of the Central reclamation project, which began 10 years ago.

Speaking after the judgment, the activists - who initiated the judicial review of Dr Ho's decision - said they were disappointed the judgment did not mention the need to review a "seriously outdated and flawed" ordinance on heritage conservation and were discussing with their lawyers the possibility of an appeal.

Local Action's legal representative had earlier argued that Dr Ho, who was then the Antiquities Authority, acted improperly by not adopting the May recommendation of the Antiquities Advisory Board to grant the pier Grade I status. The guidelines state that every effort should be made to preserve Grade I structures.

Yet Justice Lam said in his ruling that the power and the discretion to declare a building a monument belonged to the authority under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.

Members of Local Action camped at the pier for three months until the August 1 deadline for clearing the pier before demolition proceeded.

"We failed to save the pier, but we've gained the public echo on preserving the public space," said Ip Lam-chong, another Local Action member.

"Hongkongers are much more concerned about the demolition of historical architecture and public space than before."

Meanwhile, a team of engineers and activists will be formed to monitor the demolition of Queen's Pier. Mr Ip said they were worried components of the historic structure would be damaged while it was being dismantled.

"We urge government to replace the barriers around the site with transparent plastic hoardings so the public can see what's happening," he said.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #49
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Heritage preservation grips Hong Kong amid building boom

Sun Sep 9, 2007 10:41PM EDT

By James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) - In the dim confines of the time-worn Wing Woo grocery, a short hop from Hong Kong's gleaming financial towers, Kwan Moon-chiu, 73, quietly arranges supplies of salted-fish and eggs, knowing his store's days are numbered.

"This shop is 130 years old, I have deep feelings for it. But if the government wants to tear it down, what can I do?" he said.

The plight of Kwan's rickety store, which faces demolition for a massive urban renewal project, embodies the dilemma faced in Hong Kong -- one of the world's most densely populated places with 7 million residents -- of whether to raze or save.

While development has long taken precedent over heritage preservation -- the recent demise of two iconic colonial-era piers sparked widespread public outrage among Hong Kongers tired of seeing their history effaced in the name of progress.

"I would see it as a major social movement in Hong Kong and it's an emerging attitude among the young," said Lee Ho Yin, an architectural conservation expert at the University of Hong Kong.

Activists who chained themselves to the doomed piers and who wrote protest banners in their own blood helped foment heritage-preservation an emotive, hot-button civil cause, alongside other long-established Hong Kong issues like the push for greater democracy and social equality.

"Our city would be identical to any other, lacking personality. It would just be blasts of glass, steel and concrete blocks," said Hong Kong resident Bonnie Yiu.

Kwan's shop stands to be demolished in a controversial HK$487 million redevelopment that rips the heart out of one of Hong Kong's oldest neighbourhoods centered on Central's last surviving street market on Graham and Peel Streets.

Thirty-seven mostly post-war tenement blocks will be replaced by four 30-40-storey skyscrapers including a hotel and new shops that will displace the quirky, old stores including noodle-makers and incense sellers lining the narrow, sloping streets.

The numerous, boisterous street hawkers selling all manner of produce from broccoli to live crabs in wicker baskets and pig trotters hung on metal hooks also face an uncertain fate.

"This market must really be preserved for its historical, economic and social value," said Katty Law, an activist with a network of social and heritage groups who have been campaigning against the project.

"Other countries have charters guiding the preservation of old areas but Hong Kong has never done this," Law added.

In the 1950s -- Hong Kong's waterfront was still filled with red-brick Edwardian and Victorian buildings with columns and elaborate facades. These have since been largely demolished.

A historic Victorian building called Murray House was dismantled and rebuilt in 1999 on the other side of the island in a manner which critics say was tasteless and failed to preserve its original character.

Neighboring Macau on the other hand -- which is even more densely populated than Hong Kong -- has managed to preserve much of its historic Portuguese core -- and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The chairman of Hong Kong's Urban Renewal Authority, Barry Cheung, defended the development project by saying it would create more open, greener spaces, resettle residents now stuck in the decrepit buildings and generally gentrify the area.

"If somehow through what we do or what we haven't done, that street market dies, then I'll take it upon myself as having failed," Cheung told Reuters. But he said he was also "touched" by the wave of public concerns regarding heritage preservation and was willing to rethink existing plans for the market.

"Not everything has been cast in stone," he said.

MATURING SOCIETY

With Hong Kong marking its tenth anniversary since returning from British to Chinese rule, observers say the city's growing civil activism -- of which heritage preservation has become a part -- is tied to a greater sense of belonging and a desire to preserve the city's cultural roots and unique identity.

"Up to 1997, people were not focused on the living environment because Hong Kong had a sell-by date," said Paul Zimmerman, an expatriate activist opposed to the reclamation of large chunks of Victoria harbor for redevelopment.

"The whole mentality has changed," he added.

But for activists like Chu Hoi-dick -- who fought to save Queen's Pier -- Hong Kong's heritage activism boils down to a simple lack of democracy and the government's heavy-handed policy-making without adequately involving the public.

"I do not deny this is just the beginning of a new political movement. It is a movement to re-establish the identity of Hong Kong people, not controlled by the British and not controlled by Beijing," said Chu.

Hong Kong's Urban Renewal Authority has said it will preserve several older buildings in the area including the facade of the Wing Woo grocery -- but some say the development will still bleed the district of its vitality and color.

"What makes Hong Kong such a unique city is all the local markets, otherwise it's just the same as any other city," said Aaron Martin, one of many tourists who flock to the market daily to soak up its quintessential Hong Kong charm.

(Additional reporting by Farah Master)

-----------------
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/inDep...23926620070910
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Old September 10th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #50
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Hong Kong's temple for slackers

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 10/09/2007

Man Mo Temple is a sandlewood-scented haven in the smoggy sprawl of Hong Kong, says Steven King.

You couldn't call it an "attraction", but in the past few years the air itself in Hong Kong has become a "sight" - something for visitors to marvel at. Day and night a smutty haze hangs over the city, most of it blown in from the factories of the Pearl River delta, which are multiplying a few miles to the west in mainland China.

Worshippers burn incense at Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong's temple for slackers
Man Mo Temple has become popular with schoolchildren, Kung Fu stars and Triad members

One of the loveliest spots in Hong Kong is also one of the most thoroughly polluted - if sandalwood-scented incense counts as a pollutant. Man Mo Temple is squashed among the looming apartment blocks and overflowing antique shops of Hollywood Road. It was built in 1847, which makes it, by Hong Kong standards, a genuine relic.

Whether you're a temple fancier or not, Man Mo is oddly moving. The air is thick with burning incense. Row upon row of huge conical coils waft prayers beyond the rafters to the spirit world. Shafts of light struggle to filter through. Altars and shrines glimmer in the holy smoke. At the back stand statues of the god of literature (Man) and the god of war (Mo). Man wields his calligraphy brush, Mo his sword. Worshippers arrange tidy piles of roast pork, chicken and oranges as offerings to the deities.

There are 600-plus temples in Hong Kong, both Buddhist and Taoist. Despite some differences of emphasis, the two religions rub along comfortably. The nominally Taoist Man Mo has long been popular with schoolchildren - or at least with their ambitious parents. The real-life Man, born in AD287, is said to have ruled the careers of civil servants. Now fleets of BMW-borne families make the pilgrimage to Man Mo to suck up to Man. Youngsters rub his gold-encrusted writing hand for good luck, and parents can buy stationery that the scholastic god has somehow officially blessed.

The temple isn't just for swots: there's something for slackers, too. Mo may be shunned by the brainiacs, but he was a distinguished fellow in his own warlike way. Some 1,800 years ago, his prowess in battle made him a hero, and he came to embody loyalty and righteousness. Today he's the patron saint of policemen, kung-fu stars and triad members.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 05:45 PM   #51
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Blueprint exposes delays on heritage
Plan to save old sites ignored for 8 years

10 September 2007
South China Morning Post

A blueprint for a heritage conservation policy was drafted and endorsed by a government advisory body eight years ago, a government document has revealed. But it was largely ignored and historic buildings have since been demolished.

In another sign of government foot-dragging, a public consultation launched earlier this year repeated questions originally put forward three years ago.

A policy document, prepared and endorsed by the Antiquities and Advisory Board in 1999, recommended measures to revamp the conservation system, including financial incentives to encourage landowners to protect historic properties.

It called for more power for the Antiquities and Monuments Office, and hastening of the grading process of 8,000 pre-1950s buildings.

The document was written against the backdrop of the 1999 policy address, in which former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa called for a review of heritage policy.

It asked the government to look into the compensation involved in heritage protection. Among the recommendations were a set of incentive schemes, such as bonuses and transfer of development rights, extended leases, land premium exemption and tax incentives.

The government was also asked to explore the feasibility of a development levy to ensure a steady funding source for heritage preservation. And it advised that appropriate use be found for historic buildings that were lying empty.

Suggestions in the document were further reinforced by a policy recommendation report submitted by the Culture and Heritage Commission in 2003, which was headed by Chang Hsin-kang, former president of City University.

The commission said the government should consider establishing a heritage conservation board, directly headed by the Home Affairs Bureau, to take on wider responsibilities.

It urged the government to encourage private owners to protect heritage, adding that the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust Fund covered mainly promotion and education.

In response to the recommendations, a consultation was launched in 2004 in which the public was asked what to conserve, how to conserve it, how much should be paid and who should pay. Those questions were put to the public again this year.

Desmond Hui Cheuk-kuen, a former member of the Antiquities Advisory Board, said: "It was disappointing, it is unnecessary for the government to step back to square one."

He said some historic buildings had been demolished during the eight years of consultation.

"Only 607 buildings have been graded, and 54 of them have been demolished since 1980. Unlike monuments, historic buildings are not legally protected from development."

A government spokeswoman said the future set-up of the Antiquities and Monuments Office would be examined in the context of the review of heritage conservation policy, adding that the government would formulate a host of improvement measures for further public consultation by the end of the year.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 01:38 PM   #52
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RTHK News:
Move to declare mansion monument

Govt move to prevent mansion's demolition

-- That Owner is really irresponible to the future generations!!!!!!!!!!
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Old September 14th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #53
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King Yin Lei declared proposed monument
*

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam says King Yin Lei, an antique building at 45 Stubbs Road, will be declared a proposed monument, after gaining the unanimous support of the Antiquities Advisory Board members.

Speaking after meeting the board at a special meeting today in her capacity as the Antiquities Authority, Mrs Lam said the declaration will be gazetted tomorrow and take immediate effect. The declaration will be valid for 12 months, enabling the authority to consider whether the building should be declared a monument and to negotiate preservation options with the owner.

Once a building has been declared a proposed monument, it will be subject to stringent controls, including the ban of any building or other works to demolish, remove, obstruct, deface or interfere with it without a permit.

Mrs Lam stressed the Government has no intention to interfere with any property transactions, adding the Antiquities & Monuments Ordinance empowers the Government to preserve antique buildings.

The board's Chairman Edward Ho hailed the Government's decisive action. He urged antique building owners to discuss with the Government options to preserve such buildings, achieving a win-win situation.

Government departments inspected works at the building yesterday. While no demolition has been conducted, people on site have been reminded that approval must be obtained before continuing work.
---------------------------------
http://news.gov.hk/en/category/healt...914en05002.htm
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Old September 14th, 2007, 08:42 PM   #54
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Conservation Concept for Nga Tsin Wai Village





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Old September 14th, 2007, 09:47 PM   #55
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Looking at the existing picture (first one) and the concept drawing (second one), it doesn't seem like there the small buildings are even existed today besides the existing Tin Hau Temple (in orange roof). According to the URA, only 12% of the existing buildings are original which are in very bad shape and reday to fall apart. All the structures need to be rebuilt basically, but then it's just another creation of Ngong Ping Market.

Then the two towers on both sides don't fit in the village setting at all. In order to squeeze more traditional looking house in the site, the buildings have to be raised in the air. How tall are they going to be? Structurally, I am sure they can be designed and built to look that way, but is it even feasible to do that. The narrow bottom core has to be so strong to hold up the entire building. It has to somehow transfer the load from the peripheral back into the central core and also withstand the big moment due to heavy wind load.

I would rather the site is filled with some short buildings, maybe 10-20 floors.
Maintain the key central aisle in front of the temple, with small houses on both side, like a park in between some short buildings with ground level retail. I think it will probably be better than this with two tall walls on both sides. There are a lot of temple sin HKI are surrounding by short buildings, and the contrast is still here and everything fit in the community.

This new concept plan just don't go along with me.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 06:13 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
King Yin Lei declared proposed monument
*

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam says King Yin Lei, an antique building at 45 Stubbs Road, will be declared a proposed monument, after gaining the unanimous support of the Antiquities Advisory Board members.

Speaking after meeting the board at a special meeting today in her capacity as the Antiquities Authority, Mrs Lam said the declaration will be gazetted tomorrow and take immediate effect. The declaration will be valid for 12 months, enabling the authority to consider whether the building should be declared a monument and to negotiate preservation options with the owner.

Once a building has been declared a proposed monument, it will be subject to stringent controls, including the ban of any building or other works to demolish, remove, obstruct, deface or interfere with it without a permit.

Mrs Lam stressed the Government has no intention to interfere with any property transactions, adding the Antiquities & Monuments Ordinance empowers the Government to preserve antique buildings.

The board's Chairman Edward Ho hailed the Government's decisive action. He urged antique building owners to discuss with the Government options to preserve such buildings, achieving a win-win situation.

Government departments inspected works at the building yesterday. While no demolition has been conducted, people on site have been reminded that approval must be obtained before continuing work.
---------------------------------
http://news.gov.hk/en/category/healt...914en05002.htm
Releated Document from the HK Gov't Gazette
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Old September 15th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #57
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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #58
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One more reason for a clear heritage policy
16 September 2007
South China Morning Post

The bulldozers and demolition workers have, thankfully, stopped their destructive work at King Yin Lei mansion after being ordered to stand down by the government. But while the Antiquities Authority now has a year to ponder whether to declare it a monument, the future direction of our city's heritage policy remains unclear. A new direction is clearly needed and lessons must be learned from this latest in a string of controversies.

In 1999, the then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa called for a review of heritage policy. The government launched one public consultation in 2004 and then another in January this year. Both dealt with broad principles rather than specifics. More detailed proposals are expected later this year in yet another consultation.

In the years since 1999 the public has often cried foul when it became clear that a building or landmark was under threat. They include Kom Tong Hall in Mid-Levels, Dragon Garden in Sham Tseng, Jessville in Pok Fu Lam, the Star Ferry piers in Central and Queen's Pier. Each time the government has scrambled to react. There is an urgent need for a more sophisticated and innovative approach.

Similar problems have arisen with valuable ecological sites. The Sha Lo Tung valley in Tai Po, rich with dragonflies and butterflies, and Sham Chung, a wetland in Sai Kung, were the subject of controversy when landowners proposed building on them.

The century-old National Trust in Britain, a charity independent of the government, may be one example from which to learn. Its mandate is to protect and maintain threatened coastline and countryside, not just historic buildings. In many instances, the well-funded organisation simply buys the land or property outright.

Clearly, Hong Kong needs to take a similarly integrated approach to conservation, be it of ecological sites or heritage buildings. The government must balance conservation and development, property rights and heritage protection. It is a complex issue, but one which needs to be resolved.

In the case of nature conservation, the government already has a policy to encourage partnerships with landowners in return for the lifting of its ban on development in less ecologically sensitive parts of the New Territories. This is done in return for the owners making a commitment to conserve the site. Its aim is to revive valuable ecological sites at risk of degradation and neglect. It remains to be seen how successful that scheme will be. But it is the sort of creative move which is needed to protect our physical heritage. We need to work out what is worth preserving and how this can be achieved.

The ultimate status of King Yin Lei is still in question. It remains to be seen whether it can be restored to its former glory, even if declared a monument.

While the fate of the mansion is in the balance, a new policy must be put in place. Hong Kong needs an integrated system operated by a body with the necessary authority, expertise and financial resources to effectively manage our city's long-term heritage protection and conservation.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 06:33 AM   #59
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Experts say thousands of historic buildings at risk
Official list of graded buildings tip of iceberg, says activist

16 September 2007
South China Morning Post

There are thousands of buildings in Hong Kong which could be demolished without drawing public attention, conservationists have warned.

The bleak warning followed a last-minute decision to classify the King Yin Lei mansion on Stubbs Road as a potential monument - only after the owner embarked on a two-day demolition binge on the building's distinctive features.

Even as Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the new classification on Friday, jackhammers continued pulverising the 71-year-old building.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of the People's Council for Sustainable Development, said there were 10 times as many buildings of historical value than were mentioned on a list released by the Antiquities and Monuments Office in January.

That list graded 496 buildings from one to three. The 117 which are graded one are closest to becoming monuments. However, the gradings do not give the buildings legal protection. King Yin Lei was not on the list.

Mr Lai said The Falls, the home built on The Peak by Sir Robert Ho Tung, chief comprador of Jardine Matheson and a financier of the Chinese revolution, was one example. Another was a mansion at 64 Kennedy Road, Wan Chai.

"There are many buildings in Hong Kong that are even grander than King Yin Lei and they are not on any list," Mr Lai said. "There are less familiar ones that are being lost every day; treasures all over Hong Kong which very few people know about.

"The lesson from King Yin Lei is this kind of thing can happen every single day without us even knowing. You can't expect conservationists to be doing inspection tours 24 hours a day all over Hong Kong."

Mr Lai said the partial destruction of King Yin Lei highlighted the inadequacy of government heritage policy, which he said was also harsh on owners of historic properties.

"If they [the government] can't do a proper assessment over the last three years but they can do it in 48 hours, there must be something going on," he said.

Paul Zimmerman, of Designing Hong Kong, said the owner had resorted to vandalism to get government attention. He said the then owner had made it clear he wanted to sell in 2000 and the Town Planning Board had inspected the site in January 2003.

"The owner could not sell the site because there would be no developer interest in the building because they couldn't get an approval for redevelopment or demolishment," he said.

"The owners have made it clear what they want to do with it, yet the government did not come in and make the deal. If they had ... declared it a proposed monument, none of this would have happened."

Mr Zimmerman said there were rumours that there were 5,000 historical sites on a secret government list which had not been released.

"The government just refuses to deal with this issue," he said.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 06:37 AM   #60
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Mansion owner in bid to avoid heritage status
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, September 21, 2007



The new owner of a Chinese-style mansion that the government is belatedly trying to save is considering launching a judicial review against the proposal by the Antiquities Advisory Board to declare it a historical monument.

Wong Chi-keung, managing director of Yue Tai Property, which signed the land sale agreement on behalf of the mainland owner, said yesterday a decision would be made shortly.

The mansion was being renovated when the order to stop work was given last weekend.

Development Bureau chief Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor admitted yesterday government officials had ignored the opportunity to save the building five months ago, but hoped the new owner would discuss the matter with her rather than go through the courts.

"I have been handling the matter personally. I hope the owner can appreciate my sincerity," Lam said.

She said in April architect Philip Liao Yi-kang had written to the chief executive on behalf of the former owner, Stephen Yow Mok-shing, requesting a meeting to discuss the future of 70-year-old King Yin Lei.

The letter was passed to the Home Affairs Bureau and then to the Antiquities and Monument Office but was unanswered. "I agree those who handled it were not sensitive enough to realize that the public cares about these old buildings," Lam said.

She said the bureau had so far been unable to contact the new owner, Ice Wisdom Limited. She denied the government was passing the buck by asking the new owner to initiate a meeting.

Antiquities Advisory Board member Bernard Lim Wan-fung said the declaration made last Friday was in accordance to the law and the Antiquities Authority had been consulted.

Officials from the Antiquities and Monument Office finally entered the site yesterday. Initial inspection revealed that most of its color-glazed roof tiles were gone while railings, some with Chinese-styled decorations and embossments, had been hacked off. One of the red brick walls surrounding the mansion had also been destroyed.

Lam met with Yow on Tuesday and found the site had been handed over to the new owner on September 6, though the land sale agreement was to become effective yesterday.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects' Board of Local Affairs, Wong Kam-sing, said the focus will be on Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen when he delivers his policy address next month to see how he will respond to demands to save Hong Kong's heritage.

Wong said he was not surprised the former owner's letter had become entangled in government red tape. "They have also not replied to the institute's letters on preserving Wan Chai market and Queen's Pier," he said.

To prevent another tragedy, Wong said the conservation policy should be overhauled and the compensation mechanism for heritage buildings on private land be clearly spelled out. He said the new owner of King Ying Lei could be offered alternatives such as a plot ratio transfer or allowed to build around the mansion as was the case with the Morrison Building in Tuen Mun.

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