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Old June 11th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #261
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New boundary crossing – for people and property prices: New checkpoint brings property prices closer between Macau and Zhuhai
11/06/2012 10:07:00
Macau Daily Times

The government announced a new boundary crossing last month between Macau and Zhuhai, with the objective of alleviating the burden on the current Border Gate. However, while pressure will ease on customs and immigration and there is pleasure for investors and property owners, pressure is looming on the horizon for the average wage-earners and shopkeepers. The checkpoint is still years away but property prices are already starting to cross the new boundary.

The details are yet to be finalized, but it will likely be a 24-hour crossing point, just hundreds of meters away from the current crossing point at the northern Border Gate, and is expected to receive some 200,000 to 250,000 people each day. The Border Gate now has a daily average of 260,000 travelers, and is expected to hit the 100 million benchmark for the whole year of 2013, as it is the busiest checkpoint in China.

Macau and Guangdong are still waiting for the go-ahead from Beijing and the construction will take years, but some stakeholders are already hoping for the best, and some expecting the worst. The Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io met with Macau’s major construction associations, real estate agency groups, architecture firms and property development groups, for a brainstorming session on the project development.

The industries asked the government for a realization of the new crossing point, which will be constructed wholly by Macau, and the government is set to hand out lucrative public works contracts.

The completion of the checkpoint construction is three to five years away , but the sensitive property market, like the stock market, is always ahead of the trend, with some agents expecting a three-fold jump of rent in the area, and shopkeepers are already worrying about the possible implication for their business operation costs.

“The (property) prices in northern Macau are rising, like the Bayview we sell, it’s already climbed over 4000 dollars (HKD) per square foot,” Gregory Ku, Jones Lang LaSalle’s managing director in Macau told Macau Daily Times, “the district is popular for new immigrants and Fujian people, who have considerable purchasing power as we all know.”

Although he said there was no concrete projection yet for the rise in property prices in the district neighboring the new checkpoint, the northern part is set to see higher property tags just like other districts, given the economic growth and the huge number of foreign workers and new immigrants. The launch of new public housing estates in nearby Ilha Verde, the real estate veteran said, would have no practical influence on the private property market at all due to their limited number and the target buyers.

As for the Zhuhai’s part, especially the Gongbei area linking to Macau, Ku said the Mainland property market depends more on government policies rather than economic factors or supply and demand rules, and as a result it is more difficult to predict if the central government will tighten or loosen the restrictions.

Some agents in Gongbei are already setting up a new pricing scheme for some projects near the crossing point

Either way he expected the opening of the new crossing point would make Macau and Zhuhai similar to Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

The establishment of the 24-hour Lok Ma Chau Checkpoint in 2003, together with the day-time-only crossing points in Lo Wu and Huanggang, has witnessed Shenzhen properties catching up, and sometimes overtaking their counterparts in northern Hong Kong in terms of prices. Some agents in Gongbei are already setting up a new pricing scheme for some projects near the crossing point as reported by Mainland media, selling on the news of the new checkpoint.

Not all sides are as positive as the industry players. Jack Chang, Deputy Chairman of the Macau Economic Association, told Macau Daily Times that people on the two sides of the connection point should not be too optimistic on the monetary prospect, and that there are possible twists and bumps on the road leading to the checkpoint.

“The new checkpoint is at least three to five years away, I predict it will take at least four years for construction,” he said, “if the government really want a 24-hour new connection point, I've said many times before that they can immediately have one by scrapping a vehicle passage at the current Border Gate checkpoint to make way for a new crossing point.”

“There are people who are worried about the possible (economic) impact on Macau, such as more local people going northwards to live and spend money”. He was conservative on property prices factors, saying negative impacts due to the new crossing point, if any, will be minor on northern Macau. For Zhuhai’s part, he believed any influence will be limited to the immediate areas near the border in the Gongbei district, with only short-term effects.

As for the possible implication for businesses along the connection point, he said it mostly depended on the way the crossing point is constructed, if it allows people easily stop along the way for shopping, or if the shops and potential shoppers are separated intentionally, which will make the passage more focused on the traffic and transportation purposes rather than commercial ones.

Some Zhuhai agents told Macau Daily Times that fewer Macau people are buying flats in the northern neighborhoods after the Macau-Zhuhai vehicle plates were abolished for new buyers. The plates offered to new buyers as an incentive to stimulate the property market, are estimated to worth MOP 400,000 each. The agencies are hoping the new checkpoint to bring some alternative impetus for the market.
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Old June 14th, 2012, 07:00 AM   #262
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Old June 16th, 2012, 05:39 AM   #263
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LRT starts construction on all Taipa and Cotai segments
14/06/2012 09:47:00
Macau Daily Times

Four months after the beginning of construction for the first section of the Taipa Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for two more sections of the city’s first railway. This marks the start of a full force construction of the entire mass transit system, and is expected to be completed in 3 years, with the public tender for a section in the Peninsula had also been initiated.

In the commencement ceremony held in the Estr. Flor De Lotus, Lei Chan Tong, Coordinator of the Transportation Infrastructure Office, and dozens of other leaders from the government and from the construction and business sectors witnessed the beginning of construction for LRT’s Cotai Section and Lotus Border Crossing Section.

Lei said in his opening speech that the LRT system plays an integral part in the upgrade of Macau’s public transportation network, training of local railway operators, as well as offering Macau companies a platform to participate in railway construction. Lei also mentioned that the works may impact on nearby residents, but the relevant authority has already stepped up safety measures and set up communication networks with the public - including an enquiry hotline for related issues or complaints.

The 3.4kilometre Cotai Section consists of four stations covering the major resorts in the Cotai Strip as well as the centre of Taipa village, whilst the 3.1kilometer Lotus Border Crossing Section has three stations linking the Macau University of Science and Technology, the airport and the Pac On Ferry Terminal. The 1.9kilometre section with five stations linking Taipa village and the Sai Van Bridge started its construction in February.

Lei pointed out that as construction of the overall LRT Taipa section has begun, the timeline for construction of the Peninsula section is now under the spotlight. Lei told media that preliminary work has begun, and that the public tender for an underground passage near the A-Ma Temple began yesterday. He did not, however, provide a timeline for the construction of the railway itself in the Peninsula. As for the Taipa section, Lei stated that the original target for completion by 2015 remained unchanged. When asked about individual members of the public influenced by the works, who warned earlier of taking the government to court, Lei said unexpected events are natural in these major projects and the authority has monitoring mechanisms and contingency plans in place for the uncertain elements. Lei stressed that there was no suggestion that the possible lawsuits would result in a delay of the 2015 target. The whole LRT system is estimated to cost Macau MOP 11 billion to build. There have already been several budget inflations, and the authority has not ruled out further upward adjustments.

As an aside, Lei said the manufacturer of the LRT trains, Japan’s Mitsubishi, had already finalized a model of the “Ocean Cruiser” trains which will be running on the LRT railway after its completion. The model will be demonstrated openly for the public to see, and sit in. The manufacturer is now making some adjustments on the model after collecting initial feedbacks from the public. Sources said the model in 1:1 ratio to the real train car, will be displayed in the open area by Sai Van Lake.

The train was specially designed for Macau as a tourism hub and so the train cars have panoramic windows for passengers to enjoy the views outside. Environmental friendly features are also adopted to cut noisy pollution.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #264
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the best combination
between western & Eastrn building
love this city, Macau is a Country rite?
leme know
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Old June 20th, 2012, 05:04 AM   #265
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Maritime Terminal to keep its current location and size
20/06/2012
Macau Daily Times



The Maritime Terminal is likely to keep its current location and size, after a public consultation showed most respondents wanted to keep the ferry terminal. But the pier will not be extended to raise its capacity because of space limitation; instead, the authority will take measures to alleviate traffic congestion around the facility.

The task force for Planning of the New Reclaimed Lands, headed by Lao Iong, head of the Urban Planning Department of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), and representative from the Maritime Administration, Transport Bureau and Environmental Protection Bureau, held a press conference yesterday to brief the media on the result of the second round of public consultation from October 22 to December 23 last year.

As a major concern raised by the consultation, 232 views were received in relation to the Maritime Terminal, also called Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal. 132 of them want to keep the pier at its present location, on the grounds that any relocation may be inconvenient to residents in the Peninsula, which is the center of Macau’s political, economic and cultural activities: where most of the city’s 15,000 companies are based, and where 85.2 percent of the population reside.

50 of the feedbacks want the facility to move somewhere else to soothe the traffic congestion and create a new traffic center in the city. Dozens of other views hold a neutral position on whether to relocate the pier.

The task force conclusively decided to recommend the authority to keep the pier at its current position. Lao Iong brushed aside the public’s concern that the terminal may not be able to cope with the growing number of visitors: “Although statistics show that about 15 to 16 million of the 28 million visitors came to Macau by ferry last year, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is completing in 2016, and the Pac On Ferry Terminal will finish all construction and come to full operation within next year.”

The new Taipa Ferry Terminal was initially scheduled to open by 2007, but a construction delay pushed back the date of completion to the second quarter of 2013. By then it will have a capacity of 15 million passengers a year and will become the territory’s main maritime border crossing.
“We expect the two facilities to greatly alleviate the burden on Maritime Terminal,” Lao said, “especially the Bridge. HK lawmakers released a survey earlier saying that many visitors prefer going to Macau through the land connection.”

Asked if the pier would be extended to receive more visitors, Lao said this is not an option because the facility is tightly flanked on all fronts by other facilities or buildings, and could not be further expanded. But he said they recommended the authority improve the operation of the current facilities in the site to reinforce its efficiency, and adopt measures to channel road traffic around the pier to avoid congestion.

Macau businessman and former lawmaker David Chow Kam Fai was opposed to the possible relocation of the Maritime Terminal, saying it will not be convenient for local residents. Soon after the public consultation was launched last year, Chow conducted a private survey which showed that “around 470,000 local residents spend most of their time in the peninsula will have to pay a lot each time they want to go to Hong Kong or if they receive visits from friends and relatives.”

Chow, the owner of the tourism and gaming project Fisherman’s Wharf - which is adjacent to the Maritime Terminal - said last year if the government builds the main ferry terminal in Taipa, it will hinder the development of local small and medium sized enterprises, while the emergence of the Cotai Strip will “provoke the collapse of the Macau peninsula.”

The two-month consultation received 3,185 views from members of the public: 70 percent more that the first round of consultation on the possible use of the five reclaimed lands. While the ferry terminal is opposite to Zone A, Zone B is off from the Av. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, extending from the Science Centre all the way to the Macau Tower.
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Old June 24th, 2012, 06:12 AM   #266
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Leaving Cotai
19/03/2012 11:11:00
Macau Daily Times



Cotai is that part of Vegas most of us know best and none of us fully understands.

A few years back it was a swamp where a fine and rare kind of bird used seasonally as their habitat. At night or day it was inhospitable to humans. Then, the marsh became filled with concrete, giving structure to some of the largest buildings in the world and to a show that never ends. The swamp, like the Nevada desert, was transformed to a point that defied the wildest of imagination. Nobody would believe it. Yet, now, it looks familiar, even cozy. The resorts, the LEDs, the limousines, the buses, the crowds seem like they were always there. It’s mission-impossible for the 30 million people that land on the old swamp every year to imagine it as it was. They don’t even care. They are seasonal creatures like the birds, but they fly from closer places. Like the birds, they feed from the swamp and leave with nothing much more than feathers.

The thing is, everybody looks content, a substantial few happy, and the very few very wealthy. In the end, anybody leaving Cotai leaves the old swamp in some way fulfilled. It’s only human.
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Old June 24th, 2012, 07:25 AM   #267
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That is beautifully written. I love it. It really makes me think about what was origionally there and how humans impact on the planet. I'll always be a fan of Macau but this really tugs at the heart strings..
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Old June 25th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #268
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Tradition and economy for Coloane stilt houses conservation
21/06/2012 08:17:00
Macau Daily Times

Experts say Coloane’s cultural traditions and tourism potential should be taken into consideration for the government’s plan to rejuvenate the seafront areas of the old fishing village. The authority announced the plan to renovate the stilt houses along Rua dos Navegantes in Coloane village. But residents expressed reservations over the government’s intention to take ownership of the sea-front pile dwellings during the redevelopment initiative. The plan by Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) involves complicated property ownership issues, which the government hoped to solve through the massive revamp project to preserve its tradition and history. But current tenants would have to give up their proprietary rights and rent the renovated stilt huts. Cultural preservation groups expressed concerns of the plan, and called for proper preservation of the village’s traditional living and working conditions, as well as redevelopment works to make the area a new tourist attraction.
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Old June 26th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #269
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Ao Man Long-granted lands behind LRT dispute
26/06/2012 08:23:00
Macau Daily Times

The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) has announced the final design of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system’s NAPE/ ZAPE segment, which would pass London Street and Porto Street despite strong opposition by local residents. Neighbourhood leader said that there is a reason behind the authority’s tough stance, and it is the lucrative land deals approved by Ao Man Long. The disillusioned residents vowed to take the dispute to the court, but now they are thinking of going beyond lawsuits.

The LRT blueprint in 2007 proposed two possible routings for the section between the stations of Golden Lotus Square and Parque Dr. Carlos d’Assumpção. In addition to going through London Street and Porto Street, one alternative was to go the Av. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen on the outer (or eastern) side facing the harbour. But the inner side is chosen.

With a view to win residents’ concession, GIT proposed cutting the height of the elevated railway from 15.5 meters to 13.6 meters, or below the fourth floor of residential level, but residents said privacy matter is always not their prime concern.

Chen Lian Jin, President of Association Community Development Macau, which was formed to defend the neighborhood’s interests, told Macau Daily Times that GIT could not explain why the elevated railway has to go the inner but not outer route, which he said would be much better because of much wider space and scenic views of the sea.

“They could not raise a single disadvantage for not going the outer route, nor any advantage for choosing the inner route,” he said. “They only say the path’s chosen based on ‘mainstream opinion’. But unfortunately what they described as ‘mainstream opinion’ was based on fake public consultations. For example they claimed to have the support of eight major social groups, which we called one by one to verify. But the groups told us GIT workers only turned up to take photos with their staff and have a tea before leaving,” Chen said, “they didn’t even manage to meet the groups’ leaders.”

“They also spent MOP 600,000 to commission a local university to organise a consultation campaign, with only four participants, who were elderly residents lured into the meeting by cheap souvenirs. Then three university students briefed them on the goodness of LRT.”

Chen started his investigation into the possible reasons behind the GIT’s decision, and he found two land plots, granted at unreasonably low deposits to private developers in 2001 and 2004, by then Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Ao Man Long, who is now serving his prison term for bribe-taking.

The lands coded 25 (A1/G) and 19 (A1/M), were intended for a twin-tower hotel, which was never built. Instead, government records show they were being transferred repeatedly from one owner to another.

“Each time of sale the land owner made millions and millions of Patacas, and the government did not take the trouble to reclaim the lands in accordance with the law since the hotel was never built,” said Chen Lian Jin.

So many years’ after Ao Man Long’s arrest, government officials are still doing the same dirty things - Chen Lian Jin

“So many years’ after Ao Man Long’s arrest, government officials are still doing the same dirty things, you can see there’s huge flows of money behind these deals, and that’s why the LRT could not have its footings on these vast lands, instead it has to cram into the narrow streets inside.”
Chen has already reported the case to the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC), which declined to disclose investigation progress due to secrecy reasons.

Shop owners and residents in the two streets all expressed strong opposition to the LRT when being approached. They are worried that the railway would cause safety and security reasons. “You can see the huge protest banners outside”, the shopkeeper of Estabelecimento de Comidas told MDTImes, “the construction will cause disruption, railway operation will cause noise pollution and block the sunlight.”

Asked if the railway will bring more customers, she said she was more worried about security problems as more unknown people are likely to flock to the neighbourhood.

Chen said GIT failed to convince them the railway is safe for the street: “the street is 24 meters wide, pedestrian ways occupy some 5.4 meters, on the remaining space they want to build an double-way railway 13 meters high, you can imagine when a fire break out, the fire engines will have no place to enter, not to mention the scaling ladder.” Even a retired Fire Services chief was unable to say the space is enough for rescue efforts.
Chen said they would bring the case to court once GIT announce a public tender for the project, which the authority is trying to kick off construction later this year. “We’ve already raised enough fund to go through the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and Final Appeal. Our lawyer said if the judiciary system is fair and impartial enough, we have 90 percent chances of wining the lawsuit.” Chen said, “but he is quite pessimistic on that, so the estimation is 70 percent of losing the case.”
He said individual residents are getting radical: “some say they’re not sure if they’re gonna throw a LPG cylinder onto the LRT track when a train approaches, while others mentioned about setting fire to the facility, I’m worried because I’m living upstairs.”

He said individual residents also suggested “battering” the government headquarters in order to raise public awareness: “nobody cares about what we think, and what we say are always blocked by the media.” Some “radicals“ even wanted to take to the street: “and who knows if during the rally somebody will get injured when protesters turn violent, and how if the injured is an American tourist?”

“Shop owners are going to lose billions of Patacas if the railway is built and block their shops, property prices will drop significantly. We’ve no choice because every one of us spent entire life just to save up and buy one apartment here, and we just can’t let go.”

Official “mainstream public opinion”

Talking about “mainstream opinion”, based on which LRT route decides to go into London Street, Chen Lian Jin said the same tricks were also adopted during the public consultation sessions for the political “reform”. As a participant in several sessions, he said the government would call people to listen to their views on the “reform”, and once the respondents expressed opinions in line with the official one, they will be invited to the sessions open to the general public, and depending on how acceptable their views are, some of them will be given the chance to speak. Of course a few oppositionists give have the chance to touch the microphone too. And this is how the “2+2+100” is generated.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #270
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Pac On expected to start operation in 2014
04/07/2012 07:56:00
Macau Daily Times

The Pac On Ferry Terminal is expected to start operation in early 2014, the Maritime Administration was quoted as saying. According to the Island Social Services Advisory Committee, the Maritime sent officials to attend the Committee’s regular meeting yesterday, during which the authority briefed the committee members on the details of the new ferry services facility.

According to a TDM report, the Committee was told the new pier, which is in partial operation now, will finish its construction in the middle of next year, and be operational by early 2014. The facility in Taipa, near the airport, will have as many as 16 berth spaces - 3 of them for large ships in contrast to the jetfoils currently linking Macau to Hong Kong and neighbouring Mainland cities. There will be auxiliary facilities such as luggage transportation belts.

The Committee told media after the meeting that they believed the Pac On pier would help to alleviate the burden on the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, which has been the major gateway for external transportation. Some Committee members also urged the authority to prepare for transportation linking Pac On, such as buses and parking spaces for private vehicles, in order to encourage more residents to use the new pier.

The report said that some Committee members asked the authority to come up with harsher punishments for operators suspending ferry services without justified causes.

On Sunday, the Hong Kong North West Express Limited suddenly suspended its services linking Macau and Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun Pier, citing technical problems with its ferry fleet. Days earlier, the company denied reports that it is closing its ferry operation amid news reports that the operator had stopped pre-selling tickets beyond June 28.
Last Tuesday night some passengers failed to buy tickets after the date, prompting rumors that the company was terminating its services after June 28. 


After contacting the company, Macau Maritime Administration clarified that the ferries are still functioning as normal, but added that the company conceded the high rents for Tuen Mun pier as causing pressure to its operation.

Maritime Director Susana Wong inspected North West Express’s facilities in the Outer Ferry Terminal, and said the authority is investigating the issue and may penalise the operator.

North West Express operated as many as five daily trips between HK and Macau during its peak, including one night service and four daytime services. But since June 12, the company cancelled the night services, and ceased the pre-selling of tickets beyond June 28, prompting fears that the company will become another Macau Dragon, which went bankrupt last year amid financial troubles.

Some reports also linked the problem to the New Century Hotel dispute as Chen Meihuan, who is fighting with Ng Mun-sun for the hotel’s ownership, is the Managing Director of North West Express.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 06:12 PM   #271
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694 new social houses available in late 2014
09/07/2012 07:45:00
Macau Daily Times

The government announced another major public housing project in Taipa, amid surging property prices and public dissatisfaction over the size of public houses and the ratio between those for rent and for sale.

A day after the Secretary for Lands and Public Works Lau Si Io expressed likeliness to reopen social houses applications next year, the Housing Bureau announced last Friday the second “post-19,000” public housing project. Last month the Bureau announced another major public housing estate in Section 1 and 2 of Ilha Verde, as the first project after the “19,000 public houses” set to be built this year.

The latest housing estate on the coastal strip in Estr. Nordeste Da Taipa will provide 694 flats, all of them designated as social houses that will be leased to the less well-off residents. According to the Housing Bureau and the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau, the estate measures 5,000 square meters in total area, and will consist of two 24 and 26 floor blocks with 694 flat units, about 70 percent or 495 units of which are single-bedroom flats (T1), 155 of which are double-bedroom flats (T2), along with 44 triple-bedrooms (T3).

Last month the Housing Bureau statistics showed many public houses applicants gave up their rights to T1 houses, and last Friday the Bureau said that the proportion between the three categories was decided based on applicants’ preference, 70 percent of the 6,800 residents in the waiting list opted for a T1 house. The Bureau said the figure was updated to June 30 of this year.

Asked about recent public calls for more economical houses, or affordable public houses for sale, the Bureau said the new project was listed as social housing based on the principle that the rental ones are the core of the public housing policy, while the saleable ones play an auxiliary role.

The authority promised to update the ratio between the two categories after renewing the applications and updating relevant statistics. In addition to residential areas, the project also contains amenities and social services facilities, with transportation support also planned.
The public tender for construction of the new houses will start in the third quarter of this year while works are expected to begin the following quarter. The authority expected the construction to take about two years, which means the new flats will be available in late 2014.

Also on last Friday, lawmaker Lee Chong Cheng urged the government to review the current public housing policy which puts the focus on social houses while economical houses are used as supplement. In addition to the call for more affordable houses to satisfy public demand for self-owned properties, the lawmaker also urged government to address the public’s concern that T1 houses are too small in space and not popular among local families.
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Old July 13th, 2012, 11:05 AM   #272
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Architects draw a negative balance on Seac Pai Van estate: “Nothing about this construction cares about the environment”
13/07/2012
Macau Daily Times


Photo from : http://www.macaunews.com.mo/content/.../lang,english/

The construction of the economical housing estate Edifício Kio Nga nears completion and covers the view of the Coloane hills. Some potential buyers complained that the subsidized housing for less well-off residents is too small and expressed concern about whether or not the transportation network will be ready when the flats are completed later this year.

Macau Daily Times asked the architects Maria José Freitas and Rui Leão for an evaluation on the new constructions. Ms Freitas visited the apartments two months ago and presented three major concerns. The first being the living space of apartments, which she considers to be “very small”. Her second criticism is that “the buildings are not built according to some principles that should be taken into account. This is, “to save energy”. She specifies: “The walls are very thin and the building is exposed to the sun. Also, the windows are very thin. This means everybody needs to use air conditioning, which creates a lot of emissions.” She concludes “nothing in this construction cares about environment.”

The architect thinks the government should teach other constructors how to build sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings. Why it hasn’t been done already, she doesn’t know. “Maybe they were in a hurry.” Ms Freitas also mentions that “there are still no laws in Macau to preserve the environment. In Portugal and Europe you need a certificate for buildings in terms of protecting the environment. In Macau this is not yet the case, so people don’t care about that.” But she thinks that “the government should set a good example.” Another task of the government should be to “consider where these people will work.” This is her third major concern: To “have an efficient public transportation system to carry all these people. It’s not enough to consider that they will have motorcycles”, says Ms Freitas. “Because they are also producing more emissions, there must be environmentally friendly transportation option.” Thus, apart from “destroying the image of Coloane”, she says: “We don’t know what will happen in the future with around 40,000 people living there.” According to the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau a major bus terminal is planned to connect the Seac Pai Van estate to the peninsula and other parts of the city.

“There is still no law in Macau in order to preserve the environment” - Maria José Freitas

The vice-president of Macau Architects Association, Rui Leão, starts by saying that he didn’t go the houses in Taipa and hasn’t seen the project yet as “they are not public.” His main question is whether the government “is planning to build a tunnel connecting Seac Pai Van to Hac Sa Bay” or not. This “Coloane master plan was made in 1997”, in this case the architect thinks, the “housing district is not going to be a dead end.” Also, he thinks that the connection of this area with the future metro is under consideration. As for the visual impact, he says it was “quite a rigid solution to fill the end of the Cotai strip with a housing mono functional district.” As for the criticized size of the apartments, Mr Leão mentions that the social houses in the 90’s were “quite generous.” He explains; as these apartments were “similar to common houses” their value increased and created speculation problems. “People were just buying, not living there”. He thinks that this may have caused the change in the space of the new ones.

In regards to the Macau Light Rail Transit planned for Macau, apart from the question of whether it will reach the Seac Pai Van estate, Maria José Freitas, is worried about the construction. “The Rua de Londres and Cidade do Porto (where the light rail will pass) were not planned for massive transportation, just for local traffic.” Also, the located green area will be destroyed, as “in the middle you will have the metro station. Lots of people will be coming and going, affecting this very nice garden where people like to go from morning till evening to do exercise, to rest, to sing… And this will be destroyed.” Ms Freitas also thinks this area is not suitable for the light rail in terms of safety. She attended some meetings with the government and doesn’t understand why “they say it’s not possible to build underground along Sun Yat Sen Avenue.” She finds it “strange, because after doing the reclamation, they planned building an underground highway. If this is possible, it should also be possible to build underground for metro.” She has asked to see the documents concerning this construction, but is still waiting. The construction for the first section of the Taipa Light Rapid Transit system started in February. The Taipa section of the entire mass transit system is expected to be completed in three years.
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Old July 14th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #273
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1,300 CCTVs to be installed, over 200 at Border Gate
12/07/2012 08:01:00
Macau Daily Times

Four months after the Legislative Assembly passed the controversial video surveillance law, the first batch of over 1,300 CCTV cameras are approved for installation across the territory, 217 of them at the Border Gate. However, none of them will be allowed to record sounds.

According to the Office of the Secretary for Security, Cheong Kuoc Vá has approved the installation of the cameras totaling 1,350; all of them will be operational round-the-clock.

The top “hot spot” for these cameras, intended for crime prevention and investigation, is the Border Gate where tens to hundreds of thousands of travelers are recorded each day. These cameras will be managed by the police, while an unknown number of CCTVs under the governance by the Customs Services will also be set up at the facility.

Other places to be equipped with the “eyes” include the Lotus Square where two cameras will be set up; and three at the Guia Fort and Lighthouse.

Offices of the Judiciary Police, Customs and other security forces will also be equipped with a certain number of CCTVs, to be managed by the authority to which the offices belong.

All of these cameras will be working 24 hours a day but their positions and focus are both fixed, and will not record or collect sounds in the surrounding areas for privacy reasons. Due to this consideration, the cameras also will not film or record images of private spaces such as inner space in residential buildings or shops.

According to the new law, sound recording is permitted but public security forces must request a special authorization before conducting such recording. And the arrangement poses potential problems as some lawmakers accused the government of trying to spy on people without having to ask for court authorization.

Cheong Kuoc Vá said in other countries such as Portugal, legislation allows for the recording of sound and the same happens in Macau and is consistent with the personal data protection law. He added that sound recording would only happen “in exceptional cases”, such as in case of a serious crime or accident.

And amid lawmakers’ opposition, the government had already removed the provisions that allowed for moving surveillances cameras – an option accepted in other countries. The law allows video surveillance cameras to be installed in public areas only for two-years, after which the government will evaluate if there is a necessity to keep the surveillance system. The Chief Executive will have the final approval on the locations of the new cameras.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #274
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Bloomberg
Sands Gets Extension for New Macau Casino, to Pay Penalty
Jul 16, 2012 6:16 PM GMT+0800

Sands China Ltd. (1928) said it was given more time to build a casino resort in Macau on land granted by the government and expects to pay a penalty for the delay.

The Macau government extended a deadline to develop a plot called Parcel 3 to April 17, 2016, from April 2013, Sands said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today. The government also said the casino operator will be notified about the penalty amount for delaying the construction, according to the statement.

Construction has yet to begin on Parcel 3, which is slated for the company’s biggest project after the $5 billion Cotai Central resort opened this year. Sands’s rivals Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL), SJM Holdings Ltd. (880) and MGM China Holdings Ltd. (2282) are also awaiting land grants or government approvals for construction in the world’s largest gambling hub.

The new resort will target the mass-market and feature “family-oriented” facilities, Sands said in a separate statement. Sands China shares rose 2.4 percent to HK$23.30 at the 4 p.m. close in Hong Kong.

The Parcel 3 resort would increase Sands’s presence on Cotai, a strip of reclaimed land. Operators are adding resorts there to draw more of the Chinese tourists who boosted Macau’s casino gambling revenue by 42 percent last year.

In regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, parent Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) had said it would apply for the extension because it would be unable to meet the April deadline.

If the extension isn’t approved, the company may have to take a charge for some or all of its $96.7 million in capitalized construction costs and land premiums as of March 31, 2012, Las Vegas Sands estimated in a May filing.

The company was initially required to complete the development by August 2011 and the Macau government had already given it one extension, according to the May filing.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 02:21 PM   #275
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UM’s Hengqin campus tunnel collapses, prompts project safety concern
23/07/2012 07:26:00
Macau Daily Times

University of Macau’s new campus in Hengqin saw a serious construction accident in which the cross-harbor tunnel partially collapsed as a result of continuous heavy rain over the past two months, raising concerns about the project’s safety standards and information disclosure mechanism.

According to the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT), the incident took place late in the night at around 11pm last Thursday (July 19). Witnesses working at the construction site told TDM that six night-shift workers were operating at the entrance of the tunnel on the Zhuhai’s side, with four on the ground and two inside the tunnel. The workers outside suddenly heard a strange noise coming from the site and felt abnormal movements on the ground. They immediately told the workers underground through the wireless communication system to evacuate.
The ground sank and parts of the tunnel collapsed when the two workers barely escaping, burying five heavy machines in the tunnel below. Nobody was injured or missing in the incident.

GIT and Zhuhai municipal government have asked the contractor to suspend works immediately. A team of engineers was dispatched to the site to check the safety conditions before a decision on work resumption can be made.

It was not immediately clear what exactly caused the cave-in, but the contractor told media that they believed the rain-season played a role as there had been spates of heavy showers almost every day since June, and the structural integrity of the site was less solid due to the construction taking place on reclaimed land. But the contractor tried to brush away safety concerns for the project by stressing that the collapsed area is a temporary working site and not the core part of the project.

On the other side of the tunnel, Macau lawmaker Kwan Tsui Hang expressed concerns over the safety standards and the quality of the project itself after the incident. She was quoted by JornalVa Kio that the case prompted questions by society over the technical capabilities of the contractor, as well as whether the safety measures were strictly followed during the construction.

She stressed that considerable additional budgetary allocations were granted to the project on the grounds that it involved complicated operations and technical requirements due to its location. But the huge sum of public money did not prevent the serious incident from happening. She urged the authority to conduct a review investigating the adequacy of the site for the project.

Separately, local media also questioned the government over the information disclosure mechanism, as the press only learnt about the incident from Mainland media nearly 12 hours after it took place. GIT said they informed the Macau authority immediately after being alerted to the event. GIT arranged a media tour to the site last Friday and sent journalists to the site on a chartered bus at 4pm, but the media did not receive notice until 3:37pm on that day.

The University of Macau was not immediately available for comment. It was not clear if the suspension of works will affect the construction schedule that was expected to be complete by the end of this year.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #276
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Report on Hengqin tunnel collapse by the end of this month
24/07/2012 06:05:00
Macau Daily Times

A report on the collapse of the Hengqin tunnel connecting the University of Macau’s new campus to Taipa will hopefully be ready by the end of this month.

The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) issued a press release last night, stating that they had formed a team of professionals to follow up the incident and would endeavor to submit a report on the incident by the end of the month. Meanwhile GIT also instructed the contractor of the project to inspect the site for possible safety hazards and the latest condition of the collapsed part.

It did not address the problems on the delay of announcement of the incident to Macau media, as along with any possible postponement of the new campus originally intended to be completed later this autumn.
The incident took place late last Thursday at the entrance of the under-river tunnel on the Zhuhai side. All workers inside escaped in time, though five heavy machines were buried.

The Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On did not comment on the impact of the case yesterday, instead confirming that nobody was injured or missing in the incident.

The GIT and Zhuhai municipal government have asked the contractor to suspend works immediately. A team of engineers was dispatched to the site to check the safety conditions before a decision on work resumption can be made.

It was not immediately clear what exactly caused the cave-in, but the contractor told the media that they believed the rainy-season played a role as there have been spates of heavy showers almost every day since June, and the structural integrity of the site was compromised due to the construction taking place on reclaimed land. But the contractor tried to brush away safety concerns over the project by stressing that the collapsed area is a temporary working site and not the core part of the project.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 09:46 AM   #277
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Workers suspect fellow diggers buried under Hengqin tunnel
25/07/2012 13:23:00
Macau Daily Times

Both the Macau and Zhuhai governments stressed that no one was hurt or killed in the collapse of the cross-river tunnel in Henginq last week, but workers at the site told the media that they suspected some fellow workers did not escape the cave in in time.

In an interview with numerous Macau media, two anonymous and masked workers said instead of 6, as announced by the Zhuhai authority, there were tens of workers at the site during the collapse of the tunnel on Zhuhai’s side. They believed several of them were buried along with the heavy machines under the tunnel. But the governments on both sides of it stressed only machines were interred. The two survivors, however, questioned the official announcement that was made without a careful searching of the buried site, which will connect the University of Macau’s new campus in Hengqin to Cotai on Macau’s side.

They said the workers are secretly discussing the possible death of some fellow laborers, and the managements’ handling of the project without proper concern for the people working there.

One of them told reporters that the construction was hurried despite rainy weather, and workers were working round the clock to meet the deadline. The collapse happened late last Thursday when a night shift team was operating there.

Some diggers, the two survivors said, had already resigned due to concerns of safety problems at the site. The contractor did not immediately respond to the allegations, neither did the Macau authority.

The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) issued a press release Monday night that they had formed a team of professionals to follow up on the incident and would try to submit a report on the case by the end of this month. Meanwhile GIT also instructed contractors on the project to inspect the site for possible safety concerns and the latest conditions of the collapsed part.

The University however, said late on Monday night, that they were in close contact with GIT over the issue, to monitor the progress and safety conditions of the works. The school did not address the problems of the possible postponement of the new campus; originally intended to complete later this autumn.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 04:46 PM   #278
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New pedestrian access to shorten distance between NAPE and Guia Hill
27/07/2012
Macau Daily Times

The government announced new plans to beautify Rua da Encosta and shorten the distance between NAPE, the Guia Hill and Rua de Perreira do Amaral area yesterday. The plans will be carried out based on three aspects. One includes beautification of the Rua da Encosta, accompanied by some modifications to the street. Besides this, a new pedestrian footbridge, together with lifts, will link to a green park area. And two tunnels are to be built leading to the Guia Hill trail and Calçada da Vitoria separately.

The 2nd area of the whole project, that is, construction of the green park with pedestrian footbridge and escalator will be launched first, according to The Land, Public Works and Transport bureau (DSSOPT). The green park, located right below the Chuk kung ting, covers an area of about 1,200 square meters; a 26-meter-high lift tower will connect with the park through pedestrian access.

The bureau announced that the bidding for the construction of the 2nd area would start in mid August; they hope the project will begin by the end of the year and be completed by the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014.

To carry out the projects, the government must take back lands within the construction site that had previously been illegally occupied. “We are in the procedure of hearing,” according to the representative of the Bureau, “and if those illegal owners don’t follow the process, we have to initiate some enforcements.” As for the budget of the 2nd area project, the authority abstained from making any assumptions, only stating that “we will know after the bid opening”.

The first area of the project, which will mainly focus on beautifying street areas, will be located near Colegio De Santa Rosa De Lima. In the 3rd area, the authority plans to build two connecting tunnels, one leading to Calçada da Vitoria, while the other will lead to the Guia Hill trail. More details about the two projects will only be open to the public in the future since both projects are still currently under discussion, according to DSSOPT.

By launching this series of construction projects, the government aims to create convenient and safe access to the area for residents. Gone could be the old days where residents had to travel a long way or rely on vehicles; now the distance between the NAPE zone and the Guia Hill and Rua de Perreira do Amaral area will be shortened.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 03:22 PM   #279
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New road aims to release traffic burden
01/08/2012 06:50:00
Macau Daily Times

Heavy traffic has always been burdening Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga. Government announced details of a new road being built linking Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga and Avenida do Almirante Lacerda. The project started on July 30 and will finish by the end of the year.

The construction site covers an area of 1,600 square meters which will include traffic land with the length of 50 meters as well as pavements. Distance will be largely shortened for residents who want to access the north area.

The budget of the project will be MOP1.5 million according to the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau. “The new road will be put into use by the end of the year. Because the construction site is located at the main traffic point and thus may cause inconvenience to residents and drivers nearby, we hope they can tolerate and understand,” said the authority.

As the second road built within this year in Macau island, right after the project carried out at Rua de Lei Pou Chon, the new connecting road near the red market will hopefully improve traffic environment around zonas de Fai Chi Kei and do Lam Mau. Traffic burden in areas like da Avenida de Horta e Codsta, Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga and Avenida do Almirante Lacerda shall be released in the future.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 05:15 AM   #280
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Wynn Macau ups borrowing by USD2.3B for new resort
02/08/2012 08:14:00
Macau Daily Times

U.S. billionaire Steve Wynn’s Macau casino company says it will borrow up to USD2.3 billion to finance construction of its next resort in the world’s biggest gambling market. Wynn Resorts Macau SA said yesterday it’s expanding its secured loan and credit facilities to fund the design, development and construction of the Wynn Cotai casino resort. The development is expected to cost USD3.5 billion to USD4 billion. Wynn unveiled details in early June of the project, which will include a casino and 2,000-room five-star hotel, shopping, restaurants and convention space. The company said it’s still working on a final design and schedule for the project. Macau’s casino revenues jumped 42 percent last year to USD33.5 billion, more than five times that of Las Vegas.
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