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Old July 29th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #1
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HONG KONG | Mongkok District Developments

A greener Mong Kok is in the pipeline
Plan for more plants, pedestrian facilities

22 July 2009
South China Morning Post

The congested shopping streets of Mong Kok are edging closer to a greener and more pedestrian-friendly environment after six improvement proposals were singled out for detailed designs to be developed.

The aim is to maintain Mong Kok's identity as a shopping area while introducing more plants, better landscaping and more open space.

Pedestrian links across Nathan Road will be enhanced and landmarks added to improve orientation.

The Planning Department unveiled the short-term projects yesterday in the Area Improvement Plan for the Shopping Areas of Mong Kok, after it commissioned a feasibility study in February 2006 and two rounds of public consultation between May and July 2007 and April and May last year.

The plan, spreading over about 58 hectares, covered key shopping areas and tourist attractions. It is bounded by the Mong Kok East MTR Station and its railway track to the east, Dundas Street and Waterloo Road to the south, Shanghai Street to the west and Prince Edward Road West and Flower Market Road to the north.

The six projects, mainly involving greening and pavement improvements, were identified for early go-aheads.

Under the proposals, a petrol station on Nullah Road would be removed to make way for a tree-lined public area, coined the "Green Corridor", running through Nullah Road and Flower Market Road. A pedestrian crossing at Nathan Road near Nullah Road would be widened from seven metres to 10 metres to meet the heavy use.

A park on Kai Chi Kok Road would be enhanced to become an extended part of the Green Corridor. Sculptures and shaded seats would be introduced.

A community centre with multi-functional rooms and rooftop greening was proposed on Soy Street, while pavements at Tung Choi Street would be widened. Some meter parking lots would be removed.

Prince Edward Road West would get an eight-metre pedestrian crossing. The road's pedestrian crossings at the junctions with Fa Yuen Street and Sai Yee Street would be widened by at least a metre to meet heavy use.

The department said traffic impact assessments had been conducted to ensure no adverse effects would arise from carrying out the projects.

Yau Tsim Mong district councillors welcomed the improvement plan and urged the department to speed up the execution.

One of the councillors, Wong Shu-ming, said the area's residents would benefit from the extensive work. "Air quality in Mong Kok is not very satisfactory at the moment. I hope the green project can improve the condition," she said.

Fellow councillor Hui Tak-leung, who also welcomed the green elements of the plan, said the department should look into problems that would arise from having more plants.

"Mong Kok has quite a serious problem with mosquitoes," he said. "When planting more trees in the area, the government should ensure that the problem is under control."
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Old August 4th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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Yau Tsim Mong crash site under review
27 June 2009
South China Morning Post

The government is reviewing the bus and minibus stops at the junction of Sai Yeung Choi Street and Mong Kok Road after an accident two weeks ago in which two women were killed.

During a Legislative Council panel meeting yesterday, assistant transport commissioner Don Ho Yue-man said the department's initial findings were that the junction was not an accident black spot, with only three accidents involving injuries in the past three years. The design of the roads and signs were safe and sufficient, he said.

On June 12, a minibus mounted the footpath after colliding with a double-decker bus at the junction, killing two pedestrians and injuring a few others.

Mr Ho said the department was prepared to review bus and green-minibus stops along Mong Kok Road. "The footpath there could be widened, thereby providing room for shifting the give-way [road sign] control forward, making it easier for left-turning traffic to enter the junction and on to Mong Kok Road," he said.

Yau Tsim Mong District Council was consulted last week and councillors supported the idea, he said.

Measures to deter speeding and improper minibus driving would be stepped up, including a hotline to report speeding and enhanced publicity on safe driving to prevent further accidents, Mr Ho said.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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Opinion : What do you think of the Mong Kok plans?
27 July 2009
South China Morning Post

I applaud the government's plan to improve the environment of Mong Kok's shopping areas ("A greener Mong Kok is in the pipeline", July 22).

While it is encouraging to see that the environment will be improved in one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, I am more eager to see a Mong Kok free of the nuisance caused by dripping air conditioners.

It amazes me to see how the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department turns a blind eye to those residents and tourists zigzagging their way around crowded Tung Choi Street, Soy Street, Nelson Street, and any other streets you can name just to avoid water dripping from air conditioners.

The proposed widening of pavements will not help if water keeps dripping from above.

S. Suen, Ho Man Tin
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Old September 1st, 2009, 05:34 AM   #4
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Street-smart push to make Mong Kok bloom
The Standard
Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Five streets in Mong Kok are to be given a HK$100 million facelift to reflect their rare features and make shopping an enjoyable experience, Urban Renewal Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen said yesterday.

"Careful consideration will be given to the unique character of the themed streets as well as their existing conditions," Chung said. "Streetscape and pedestrian walkways improvement and greening of the environment will be carried out to enhance the street ambience."

The plan calls for the installation of themed street features that enhance businesses, special signs for directions and pavements with decorative touches.

The themes include scenes of birds, flowers, fish and their environments and the world of sport.

"For example, Flower Market Road is noted for its floral business while Tung Choi Street is nicknamed Goldfish Street," Cheung said. "Sai Yee Street and Fa Yuen Street are often called Sneaker Street, while Nelson Street links up Sneaker Street with Ladies Market and Electric Appliance Street."

The authority will commission a consultancy firm to study and produce design elements in detail, he said.

"We will then work closely with relevant government departments on the proposal and will also consult the Yau Tsim Mong District Council and stakeholders," Cheung added.

If things go according to plan, the streetscape improvement scheme should be under way by 2011.

Cheung noted that the project does not involve demolition of buildings or residents having to move, so there should not be any great inconvenience.

The authority is also implementing three redevelopment projects in Mong Kok - Langham Place, Sai Yee Street and Macpherson Indoor Stadium - in addition to helping owners of about 100 buildings in the area to rehabilitate their homes.

It has also started on two preservation projects involving 20 shophouses on Prince Edward Road West and Shanghai Street.

But not all of those who will be affected are enthusiastic about what looks to be in store for them, especially shop owners in Goldfish Street. They say the widening of pedestrian walkways will deter customers who need to drive and shop there.

Some shop owners also fear business will fall off while renewal is under way.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 08:27 PM   #5
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Goverment Renderings :





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Old September 18th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #6
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Mong Kok's makeover makes loyalty of First Division teams' fans crucial
6 September 2009
SCMP

The willingness of their supporters to travel to unfamiliar grounds will be crucial for First Division clubs, forced to visit new venues as the new season gets underway.

A two-year facelift of Mong Kok Stadium, the base of Hong Kong football for more than three decades, means clubs will have to play in Kowloon Bay, Sham Shui Po, Tsing Yi, Siu Sai Wan and Sha Tin, as well as Hong Kong Stadium at So Kon Po.

"There are groups of loyal fans who will watch matches at Mong Kok as a habit and also because of the venue's convenient location," said Football Association director Pui Kwan-kay, who also runs First Division club Citizen.

"But I don't think these groups of fans will travel to Tsing Yi or Sha Tin in the new season. Clubs will now have to attract people in the district to watch their matches and I don't think it will be an easy task considering the standard of Hong Kong football.

"The problem is there is only one team in domestic football that can attract its hardcore fans to wherever the team plays. Other than South China, other clubs still have a long way to achieve this."

Under the new arrangements, the 11 top-flight teams will use eight different venues as their home grounds. The top two sides - South China and Kitchee - will use the 40-000-seater Hong Kong Stadium, while Sun Hei and Shek Kip Mei will be based at Tsing Yi Sports Ground. Fourway Rangers will have a temporary home in Sham Shui Po; Happy Valley and Citizen are in Siu Sai Wan and newly promoted Tai Chung will play in Kowloon Bay.

The remaining three teams - Tin Shui Wai Pegasus, Tai Po and Sha Tin - will use grounds in their own districts. Fixtures will be played on a home-and-away basis. Attendance at games will not be the only concern for clubs: the quality of the pitches will be too.

"The Leisure and Cultural Services Department has agreed to minimise public usage of these grounds in order to maintain a high quality," Kitchee president Ken Ng Kin said. "We hope they keep their word so these venues can be used throughout the whole season." Tai Po had to stop using their own ground near the end of last season after the pitch became unplayable.

They had to finish off their season at Mong Kok Stadium. The clubs, meanwhile, are also under threat because of the economic downturn and facing a lot more difficulties in securing commercial sponsorship.

The First Division League has secured prize-money of HK$210,000 at the last minute thanks to South China boss Steven Lo's company, BMA.

Convoy, a financial company that has funded Sun Hei over the past three seasons, withdrew its monetary support, while Happy Valley also lost HK$3 million in financial backing from their parent club and have to work on a much smaller budget. Fourway slashed one-third of their budget to HK$4 million because of the financial turmoil.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed and hopefully the economic situation will improve soon," Fourway director Philip Lee Fai-lap said.

Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak, who embarks on a second term of office, admitted the clubs were facing a difficult season. "The closure of Mong Kok Stadium has a big effect on the teams, but the situation will change when the renovated ground opens in two years," he said.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #7
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CCTVs in Mong Kok Pedestrian Precinct start to operate
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Government Press Release





The following is issued on behalf of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council:

Yau Tsim Mong District Council's Working Group on Mong Kok Pedestrian Precinct reported in a meeting today (June 9) that the installation and testing of closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) in the pedestrian precinct had been completed, and round-the-clock automatic monitoring of objects falling from a height had started right after the handover at 3pm yesterday.

Working group chairman Mr Hau Wing-cheong said notices reminding pedestrians of the operation of CCTVs were posted in the Mong Kok Pedestrian Precinct. The purpose of installing CCTVs is to deter people from throwing objects from a height and to assist the police investigation when an incident happens.

Mr Hau condemned the acid attacker in the incident that happened in Nelson Street yesterday, and urged swift police action to bring the culprits to justice. He also expressed sympathy and solicitude towards the injured. In accordance with established guidelines, Yau Tsim Mong District Council has already handed the video recordings captured by the CCTV system yesterday to the Police for investigation.

He said, "The video recordings are only used for Police investigation into incidents of attacks from a height. The Yau Tsim Mong District Council (YTMDC) has taken all practical steps to ensure data security and to guard against unauthorised access to or use of the images captured by the CCTV system."

He added, "The District Council will not compile any information on the individuals being captured. Besides, only those parties authorised by the YTMDC, such as relevant government departments and maintenance staff, can have access to the video recording for system review and maintenance purposes.

"The installation of CCTVs is only one of the measures to deter incidents of objects falling from a height and assist police investigation into similar incidents. It is equally important that Police should step up surveillance and patrol work. The District Council will continue to maintain close liaison with relevant government departments and hope this would help the Police to bring the culprit to justice as soon as possible. In the meantime, residents, owners' corporations, mutual aid committees and residents' groups in the district should also be on high alert and strengthen the security systems of their buildings."

The working group, formed under the District Council in December last year after a "falling objects" incident took place in the pedestrian precinct, has held several meetings to discuss the installation of CCTVs in the area. The District Council and the District Office have also consulted the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, government departments and local residents on the installation project. Operational guidelines for the CCTV system have been formulated to ensure that a reasonable balance between the safety of passers-by and the privacy of residents will be upheld. The project was handed over to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) to carry out the required procedures in relation to the tender, design and installation of the system, after the District Council approved the necessary funding in March. The EMSD completed the installation and testing of the system in early June. The CCTV system was put into operation yesterday.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 05:40 PM   #8
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Council wants brothels out to renew old area
30 December 2009
SCMP

Yau Tsim Mong district councillors would like to see one-woman brothels in Yau Ma Tei removed and the tenement buildings housing them revitalised into old-style tea houses and other commercial uses.

This is just one of the ideas proposed by the Yau Tsim Mong District Council under a study sponsored by the Urban Renewal Authority to gather public aspirations on urban planning in old districts, including Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Wan Chai and Central and Western. The councils' ideas, which include preservation and redevelopment, are expected to be completed in March for further study by the authority. Preliminary findings will be released next week.

"The dilapidated blocks have been popular spots for prostitutes and drug-takers. They are causing disturbance to residents," Yau Tsim Mong District Council vice-chairman Edward Leung Wai-kuen said, referring to tenement buildings on Shanghai, Reclamation and Woosung streets. The area has more than 40 one-woman brothels.

Leung said the buildings should be renovated and reused, housing old-style tea houses and other business that would attract tourists. Traditional Guangdong tea houses, many of which have fallen victim to redevelopments, are designed so patrons can hang their bird cages above their tables while eating dim sum.

Other ideas of the council include replacing the 96-year-old Yau Ma Tei wholesale fruit market with art-related facilities and low-density residential development. Residents have complained about the noise and traffic caused by the market.

The district council hopes better links will be planned between Yau Ma Tei and the West Kowloon Cultural District to encourage more art and cultural exchanges. It has urged the government to revitalise the 70 industrial buildings in Tai Kok Tsui and connect them with the popular Langham Place shopping mall and the waterfront to rejuvenate the area.

To tackle the disordered and congested minibus stops on Argyle and Sai Yeung Choi streets, the council proposes a transport interchange opposite the Mong Kok East MTR station on Sai Yee Street.

The site is currently occupied by a car park, a Food and Environmental Hygiene Department depot and a Water Services Department office. "The depot is used to park refuse trucks and the water services office does not serve the public," Leung said, adding that the two departments did not oppose relocation.

"We don't want residential development on that site. It should be left as open space," he said. "The interchange should be connected with the MTR station with a sky garden and a small portion of retail activities."

An urban planning consultant has already been commissioned to gauge public views on the council's ideas, Leung said.

But Chan Hai-yin, project co-ordinator of the prostitutes' rights group Zi Teng, said the sex trade was part of Yau Ma Tei's history and should be conserved, stressing that one-woman brothels are legal.

Chan said prostitutes could barely survive in recent years with the increasing demolition of tenement buildings.

City University criminologist Dennis Wong Sing-wing said the proposal could push prostitutes further down to Mong Kok, which was already a quasi-red light area, causing more social disturbance.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 04:17 AM   #9
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Mong Kok residents losing sleep over noise and neon
The Standard
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mong Kok shoppers might have an hour less for browsing in the pedestrianized area following complaints from sleep- deprived residents.

Ten out of 12 Yau Tsim Mong district councillors voted to support a proposal from the Transport Department yesterday.

They heard that some local residents cannot sleep without sleeping pills because of the neon lights and noise pollution in the pedestrian precincts. But some argued that the arrangement would affect business.

The District Council's pedestrian workgroup will submit the proposal to the full council on February 25.

The department proposes that the pedestrian period at the junction of Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Nelson Street and Soy Street be shortened from 12am to 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and on Sundays and public holidays. The pedestrian period starts at 4pm on Monday to Saturday and at noon on Sundays and public holidays.

The department would review the new arrangement after six months.

But the pedestrian period at Tung Choi Street will remain unchanged.

District Councillor Chris Ip Ngo-tung expressed sympathy for the residents troubled by light and noise pollution in the district.

"Some of the residents told me they have to take sleeping pills to have better sleep. I think shortening the period for one hour would not do much harm to the shoppers and traders. It is totally a win- win situation," Ip said.

Leung Wai-kuen said most traders and residents supported the proposal.

"The proposal is totally correct and only a very few traders oppose it. Why can't we give residents an hour of better sleep?" he asked.

But Henry Chan Man-yu questioned why Tung Choi Street would remain unchanged. "Tung Choi Street is more disturbed. Some traders told me they were not consulted," he said.

Chan Wai-keung said the earlier closure would affect some businesses.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department's William Wong Wai- man said owners of 137 shops and residents of 47 buildings were consulted, with the majority of them supporting the changes.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #10
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LCQ6: Expansion of the footbridge system in Mong Kok
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Government Press Release


Author : http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Following is a question by the Hon James To Kun-sun and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (April 21):

Question:

In his 2008-2009 Policy Address, the Chief Executive stated that the Government would "take forward pedestrian schemes to minimise vehicle-pedestrian conflicts and improve roadside air quality" and also plan to extend the footbridge system in Mong Kok to cover central Mong Kok and the Tai Kok Tsui area. The Government anticipated that the technical feasibility study on the extension of the footbridge system would be completed in early 2010. Meanwhile, it has been reported that in respect of the re-provisioning of the government facilities at Sai Yee Street to dovetail with the extension works of the footbridge system, the Secretary for Development has indicated recently the plan to relocate the offices of the Water Supplies Department (WSD) at Sai Yee Street to a factory building, so as to vacate the site for commercial and public transport interchange purposes, etc. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the latest progress of the above feasibility study; when it anticipates to complete the study as well as draw up the design of the plan and the construction schedule;

(b) of the progress of relocating the offices of WSD, and when it anticipates to formally implement the relocation plan; as the representatives of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) indicated earlier at a meeting of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council that a suitable location had been identified for re-provisioning the facility of FEHD adjacent to the offices of WSD, whether the Government anticipates that the relocation timetable for the facilities of the two departments can dovetail with each other, so as to vacate the two sites for combined development;

(c) given that the extension works of the Mong Kok Road footbridge system across Nathan Road were originally scheduled to commence in 2007, and have so far been delayed for quite some time, and that the Government has indicated recently that the works can commence in the fourth quarter of this year, of the reasons for repeated delays in commencing the works, the latest progress, whether the works can commence as scheduled, and when they are expected to complete; and

(d) apart from the above plan, whether the Government currently has other plans to minimise vehicle-pedestrian conflicts in the Mong Kok district, so as to improve pedestrian environment and safety; if so, of the details?

Reply:

President,

(a) Following announcement of the plan to extend the footbridge system in Mong Kok in the Policy Address delivered by the Chief Executive in October 2008, the Transport Department (TD) engaged a consultant in March 2009 to conduct an initial study on the expansion of the existing footbridge system in Mong Kok. Apart from examining various options for the footbridge proposal, the study also involved the collection of views of the relevant District Council and area committees. The study is near completion, and the Government consulted the Legislative Council Panel on Transport and the Transport Advisory Committee on the proposed initial options on January 22 and February 5, 2010 respectively. Following conclusion of the study in end April 2010, the Highways Department will proceed with the detailed technical feasibility study. We will draw up the works programme after completion of the study and confirmation of the feasibility of the works in question.

(b) According to the information provided by the Development Bureau, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) is exploring the relocation of their office to a suitable industrial building in New Territories West so as to take forward the relocation of their Sai Yee Street office in Mong Kok. At the same time, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) is studying the feasibility of relocating their Sai Yee Street facilities to West Kowloon, and a preliminary planning of the facilities is underway. After they have decided on the new sites, the WSD and FEHD will work closely with various departments concerned, in particular the respective District Offices, on the relocation timetable so as to tie in with the overall redevelopment of their existing sites in Mong Kok.

(c) The westward extension of the Mong Kok Road footbridge system straddling Nathan Road is the remaining part of the Mong Kok Road and Sai Yee Street footbridge system, which is to be constructed by a private developer. The developer has completed the preliminary investigation works for the project earlier. However, as there are legal procedures remaining to be completed, and as the works involve diversion of underground public utilities which requires careful examination of various relocation options, the construction works for the proposed footbridge could not commence as scheduled. In the interim, the Administration has kept the Legislative Council and the relevant District Council posted on developments.

The Administration and the developer have now broadly agreed on the necessary arrangements for the advance works for construction of the footbridge (including the diversion of underground public utilities), and the works are expected to commence in around the fourth quarter of this year. The relevant government departments will liaise with the developer and the public utility companies to take forward the preparatory work required prior to the commencement of works. Diversion of underground public utilities will take roughly three and a half years, while the construction of the footbridge will take about two and a half years. The Administration has informed the District Council of the latest works schedule, and will continue to liaise closely with the developer for an early start of the works.

(d) The TD will continue to monitor the traffic situation in Mong Kok. Apart from actively following up on the extension proposal for the footbridge system in Mong Kok, where necessary, it will also propose improvements and take follow-up actions to enhance the pedestrian environment in the district.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #11
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Opinion : High rents threaten businesses on HK's unique theme streets
6 March 2010
SCMP

I refer to the report ("Targeting shoppers the HK way", February 23).

Theme streets, where shops selling similar products form clusters, are common in Hong Kong and are part of our unique culture.

This culture should be preserved and publicised. Places such as Dried Seafood Street and Sneaker Street can only be found in Hong Kong. It is important that these locations are promoted so that tourists know where to go.

You can find real bargains in these clusters as they are very competitive, and so the shops keep prices low.


This attracts more customers, and a good store gets more business through word of mouth.

However, it is getting increasingly difficult to maintain a business in these theme streets due to the high rents. It can be worse for a booming business: if profits are up the landlord will tend to raise rents.

But it is getting to the point now where not all shop owners can afford to stay open, especially in the prime spots.

It is very difficult to make a profit from a business selling, say, orchids or dried seafood as rents are now so steep. That is why the government's role in promoting theme streets, in Hong Kong and abroad, is so important.

It needs to try and get more visitors to shop at these small businesses.

For example, mainland visitors could be encouraged to go to Dried Seafood Street (in Des Voeux Road West) during Lunar New Year. It is crowded around this time because it is a popular place to buy New Year gifts.

We have been relying on the attractions that have made the city famous. However, we have to come up with new ideas to keep visitors coming to Hong Kong.

Karrie Chan, Tsuen Wan
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Old June 7th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #12
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URA plan will destroy area's creative buzz, filmmakers say
25 April 2010
South China Morning Post

When film producer Amy Chin came across a 1,500 sq ft flat in an old shophouse in the Mong Kok flower market 20 years ago while looking for a new office, she knew she had fallen in love - with its high ceilings, balcony and huge, enclosed verandah.

"This place is very good for creative people because of the ambience," she said. "We work late, until three or four in the morning, when the flower hawkers come out. The air is so fresh."

Over the years, some of the biggest names in Hong Kong film joined Chin: film director John Woo Yu-sen shared an office with her until he moved to Los Angeles, director Fruit Chan Gor rented the flat upstairs, actor Chow Yun-fat's agency moved in and director Ann Hui On-wah used one of the building's flats to film a movie.

Chin credits her landlord, a retired civil engineer, for keeping the building in good shape - and the rent low.

"He's done a better job of taking care of this property than the government ever could," she said. "The reason I can keep on making movies is because of this place."

Now her building is one of 10 shophouses slated for renewal by the Urban Renewal Authority.

The buildings, which were built in the 1930s by the Belgian construction company Credit Foncier d'Extreme Orient, were originally targeted at middle-class homeowners, built with amenities like private bathrooms that were unusual in other shophouses. Today, the buildings house mostly flower shops on the ground floor and businesses and apartments on the upper floors.

But although the URA has assured ground-floor tenants they can return to their shops after the renovations, no plans have been made for the upper floors, which are zoned for commercial and cultural use.

"I'm not sure if, after they've redone this place, creative people will be able to come back if they rent it to us at a market price," Chin said.

The current landlord charges HK$15,000 a month, about HK$10 per sq ft - a rate comparable to those in industrial districts, not Mong Kok.

"This is the creative industry right here," said Chan, whose 1997 film Made in Hong Kong earned him international recognition. He has rented a flat in the building for six years.

"There's art studios, dance companies, people like us. A lot of movies have been made here."

Chan's flat contains an office, a storage room for props and an editing room. He worries that the fate of the Prince Edward Road buildings will be the same as the Woo Cheong Pawn Shop in Wan Chai, which was converted into an upscale restaurant as part of another URA project.

"After they renewed the building, everything inside it was destroyed. Now it's a restaurant for tourists. It's so sad."

URA spokesman Jimmy Sha said nothing had been planned for the upper floors, as the purchase of buildings had just started. Its goal, he said, was to prevent the demolition of historically important shophouses around Mong Kok, which have been at the centre of redevelopment talks in recent years.

At an information meeting with URA representatives last week, Chan asked about the fate of upstairs tenants after the renovations.

"Nobody answered me," he said. "It's hard for an independent film company to survive in Hong Kong. The film industry has been moving to factories in Kwun Tong, but it's nicer here. But we know that in the end, if the government insists on doing something very commercial with this space, we'll have no choice but to leave."
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:20 PM   #13
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LCQ12: Greening works
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon James To Kun-sun and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 9):

Question:

The Government has enhanced greening in recent years. Apart from formulating Greening Master Plans (GMPs) for various districts, the Government also submitted a paper to the Panel on Development of this Council at its meeting on December 18, 2007 to seek the views of this Council on the way forward in greening. Yet, in its recent reply to my enquiry, the Government indicated that the greening works under the GMPs for Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok districts had been completed at the end of last year, but the two greening works at Argyle Street and Shanghai Street had been cancelled due to "some unforeseeable difficulties encountered during the construction stage" and "the strong opposition from the stakeholders and shop tenants in the district" respectively. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that in formulating GMPs, the Government appoints consultants to conduct technical studies and holds a number of district consultation meetings to collect public views, whether the Government has assessed the reasons why it was not until the construction stage that the aforesaid greening works were forced to be cancelled; if an assessment has been made, of the outcome;

(b) among the greening works implemented under GMPs, apart from the two aforesaid greening works, of the number of those which were cancelled during construction, together with the locations and information on the original designs of such works;

(c) whether there is any objective indicator (such as the number of plants planted or the size of the greening area) for assessing if the works under GMPs for various districts have been completed as planned; if there are such indicators, of the outcome of the Government's assessment of the works under various GMPs; if not, how the Government conducts its assessment;

(d) given that the Government had indicated at the aforesaid meeting that it would continue to explore opportunities for collaboration with quasi-government bodies and the private sector to promote greening, among the completed works under GMPs, how many were completed by the Government in collaboration with quasi-government bodies or the private sector, together with the locations and contents of such works;

(e) given that the Government had indicated at the aforesaid meeting that the authorities were developing quality parks and open spaces, had embarked on a number of pilot schemes on vertical greening and were pursuing new techniques in greening, of the progress of each of the schemes and initiatives; and

(f) apart from continuing to promote rooftop greening and green buildings, what new strategies the Government has to promote urban greening?

Reply:

President,

The Government has proactively promoted greening across the territory to create a quality urban environment and enhance our quality of life through extensive planting, visually pleasing landscape designs and proper vegetation maintenance. My reply to the Honourable To's question is as follows:

(a) In the process of formulating Greening Master Plans (GMPs), the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the District Participation Groups formed by District Council members jointly organise community fora and conduct site visits to collect the views of residents in the districts. Before implementing the greening works, the CEDD will further consult the shop proprietors and residents near the planting spots. The CEDD's experience shows that most planting proposals under the GMPs are welcomed by shop proprietors and residents. However, objections may be encountered occasionally. In such circumstances, the CEDD will strive to implement the greening measures by proactively explaining the proposals to the parties concerned. The CEDD had to cancel certain greening measures in individual cases due to differences in views in the local community.

(b) Under the GMPs for Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok districts, 23 planting proposals (apart from the planting proposals at the two locations mentioned in the question) were cancelled due to strong opposition from the shop proprietors and residents in the vicinity. 15 planting proposals could not be implemented according to the original plans due to densely placed underground utilities identified at the proposed planting locations during detailed site investigations. Although some of the greening proposals could not be implemented, the CEDD has enhanced planting in other suitable locations in the districts to achieve the objective of beautifying the landscape in the districts. In addition, to tie in with other public works or railway works, four planting proposals will only commence after the completion of the related works. The planting proposals mentioned above are set out at Annex 1.

(c) When evaluating whether the GMPs have been completed as planned, we focus mainly on the quality and the quantity of planting achieved. In terms of quality, the greening works under the GMPs have resulted in significant improvement in the local environment, and the CEDD has received positive feedback from many locals. In terms of quantity, every GMP has specified a target planting quantity. In respect of those GMPs for which the short-term greening measures have been completed (i.e. GMPs for Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei, Sheung Wan, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay), the total actual planting quantity exceeded the original target having increased from about 5,100 trees and 1.11 million shrubs in the original plan to about 8,200 trees and 1.67 million shrubs.

(d) In the process of formulating the GMPs, Government departments have discussed collaboration in greening works with various quasi-government organisations and the private sector, e.g. introducing greening elements as far as practicable and adopting greening designs that drew upon the planting themes and the recommended plant species of the relevant GMPs in the projects of these organisations. To date, a total of 12 joint greening projects have been implemented. Please refer to Annex 2 for details.

(e) Given that the built-up areas in Hong Kong are densely populated with little room for planting, we have proactively promoted new greening techniques (such as vertical greening and rooftop greening) to beautify our cityscape and to reduce the heat island effect. The progress of the pilot schemes on vertical greening and the studies on new greening techniques mentioned in the paper submitted by the Development Bureau to the Legislative Council Panel on Development on December 18, 2007 is set out in Annex 3.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department, with the assistance of the Architectural Services Department, has been providing a variety of parks and open spaces for enjoyment by the public and has been adopting designs of a good quality. For the 10 parks and open spaces in the above mentioned paper submitted to the Legislative Council Panel on Development which were under construction at the time, they have all been completed. For the 10 planned parks and open spaces under planning then, two of them have been completed, six are under construction and the remaining two are under planning. As regards the development projects with quality design to suit the needs of different districts, examples include the Aldrich Bay Park (which adopts a design theme of an old fishing village and provides several viewing points inside the park for the public to appreciate old fishing boats and to learn about the way of life of fishermen), recreational facilities on the Jordan Valley Former Landfill in Kwun Tong (which is a park with a variety of facilities, including a radio-controlled model car racing circuit) and Ngau Chi Wan Recreation Ground in Wong Tai Sin (which is a park with a variety of facilities, including an archery court on natural turf).

(f) The Government is committed to the long-term objective of turning Hong Kong into a greener city. We will seek to increase greening opportunities in the early stages of land planning and design, for example, reserving adequate space for greening, providing planting zones along roads that are free of underground utilities, and considering specifiying a greening ratio for specific sites, etc. In addition, we will promote rooftop greening and vertical greening to the construction and landscaping sectors. We will also provide technical support to the industry, e.g. conducting studies and compiling information on suitable species for rooftop greening and vertical greening, organising seminars for experience sharing, etc. To achieve a sustainable green environment, we will formulate and promulgate technical standards, guidelines and best practices on quality landscape design, planting and vegetation maintenance, and organise technical sharing sessions, etc.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #14
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Revamp project will ruin unique character of flower market
12 May 2010
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority has proposed a package of renovation projects targeting Mong Kok's theme streets, including Flower Market Road and a row of pre-war apartments in Prince Edward Road West.

I wonder if it will really benefit the vendors who operate there?

I fear that this process of "gentrification" could harm retailers in the flower market.

Business has been tough for a number of years and competition is fierce.

It is difficult for the smaller merchants to make ends meet. The URA claims the flower shops will be able to return at rents that reflect the new market value of the revamped blocks. Yet, after the project is complete a lot of large companies will be keen to invest in the area and this will lead to skyrocketing rents.

The smaller flower merchants will be squeezed out.

The other businesspeople who try to stay on and pay the high rents will not survive for long. They cannot compete with big stores which have financial backing from strong syndicates.

Instead of helping small flower stalls, the URA project will make their plight more desperate. In the end, who will benefit? Certainly not the flower merchants.

The Mong Kok flower market is part of our collective memory.

Flower sellers have clustered round that road for more than a century.

Most Hongkongers will remember visiting the market at least once during their childhood and being amazed by the hustle and bustle.

As adults, when we go back we are reminded of those trips when we were young. The small stores are the soul of the market.

If they are pushed out because of this project, the next generation will not be able to share in those fond memories.

Also, with its low rents, the area is popular with art studios, dance companies and some filmmakers who have offices above the market.

However, there appear to be no plans to help these tenants return after the renovation is completed.

Hong Kong people have often been criticised for lacking creativity, and the government has said it wants to rectify this. So surely the flower market, which is a haven for these creative people, is worth preserving.

The only groups that will benefit from the renovation project are tourists and big business, not the ordinary flower sellers.

I hope the URA will have second thoughts about its plans and consider the creative culture that will be destroyed.

Li Wing-tung, Ngau Chi Wan
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Old August 26th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #15
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Remembering the old school
20 August 2010
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

As an alumnus of the Diocesan Boys' School (DBS) of Hong Kong, I have mixed feeling about the commercialization of what once was an exclusive institution revered for its academic excellence, admired for its sporting prowess and adored for its British quirkiness.

I returned to the school on the hill in Mongkok about 10 years ago for the first time since I left. That revisit was a depressing experience.

The old school buildings, which used to look bright and imposing, were in a sorry state of disrepair. The walls of the classrooms looked like they hadn't been repainted for years. The battered desks and the well-worn blackboards were the same as those we were using when I was a student there. I had no problem finding the desk in which I carved my name with a penknife. It had remained in the same row in the same classroom for all that time.

The grass on the sports field, the largest of any Hong Kong school, had grown too high, and the small garden with the pond looked unattended for too long. The covered playground was dark and deserted, and nearly all the ping-pong tables there were broken.

Apparently, the school was running short of money to pay for the proper maintenance of its facilities. Thanks to the education reform, DBS, like many other schools in Hong Kong, must look for ways to increase revenue to survive.

Some schools raised money by redeveloping their valuable sites in the city districts in joint ventures with property developers. DBS' old boys should be thankful that this was not the option chosen by the board. Redevelopment of the ancient school campus most certainly would have destroyed everything we have held dear in our memories of those distant school days, including the dash up the many steps to catch class, or the fist fights on the knoll we called "butt mound" to settle personal scores.

Instead, the school has scraped together enough money to build a futuristic hostel for over 300 boarders to entice mainland students from well-off families. The boarding fees for each student are said to be about HK$5,000 per month, in addition to tuition fees.

When I was a student, the fees were HK$200 a month for boarding and HK$45 for tuition. At that time, boarders stayed in barracks-like accommodations at the top floor of the three-storey school buildings.

The HK$120 million new facilities are said to be of high standard with a large swimming pool on the ground level and floor to ceiling glass windows. DBS's principal Terence Chang was quoted as saying he hoped to have mainland students enrolled for the senior secondary curriculum next year.

Efforts by DBS and other Hong Kong schools to entice mainland students are widely seen to be in line with the government's plan to develop education as a major income earner. But we wonder how far DBS must change to accommodate the mainland students it hopes to attract.

DBS was primarily an Anglican Church school with a strong British tradition. Saying the Lord's prayer at morning assembly used to be part of our daily ritual. Proper manners were expected of us at all times and sportsmanship was the standard by which our characters were shaped. The school uniform code was vigorously enforced and the sports competition between the various Houses, named after former headmasters, was taken seriously by students.

These are the elements of the DBS style. Without them, DBS will exist only in name.

The author is a staff writer.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #16
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High on promises ... but expectations are low Excerpt
14 October 2010
SCMP

The chief executive announced new help for students and the insured and a more Web-savvy government, and the prospect of traffic black spots Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok being free of trucks and cars

ENVIRONMENT

*Require bus companies to switch to zero- emission buses or the most environment-friendly buses when replacing existing ones.

*Pay all costs to buy six hybrid buses for use by bus companies to test their environmental performance.

*Designate pilot low-emission zones in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok, with the target of having only low-emission buses in these zones by 2015.

*HK$17 billion allocated to improve water quality in harbour.

*Include 50 rural sites into country parks or determine their use through statutory planning.

*Ban trawling in Hong Kong waters.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 05:57 PM   #17
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LCQ9: Public transport measures and pedestrian environment in Mong Kok district
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by Dr Hon Priscilla Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 19):

Question:

As Mong Kok district is overcrowded with people and the roads are narrow, coupled with heavy traffic flows, congestion and dangerous conditions of vehicle-pedestrian conflicts frequently occur. For many years in the past, District Council members of the district and community members have repeatedly asked the Government to monitor the problem of large numbers of pedestrians gathering in the district because of narrow pedestrian walkways and over concentration of bus stops. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the criteria currently adopted by the authorities in vetting and approving bus companies' applications for erecting bus stops in busy areas; and whether they will consult the District Council concerned beforehand;

(b) whether there is at present any restriction on the number of bus routes having buses stopping along the same road section; if there is no such restriction, whether it will consider imposing restrictions by legislation;

(c) of the progress of the relocation plan of the offices of the Water Supplies Department (WSD) and the facilities of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) at Sai Yee Street, and when the relocation is expected to commence formally;

(d) given that some members of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council and community members have suggested that the sites vacated after the relocation of the facilities of WSD and FEHD in (c) should be used as a transport interchange for locating bus terminus, red minibus stands and green minibus stands in one place, so as to reduce the number of vehicle stops and ease congestion on roads, of the Government's position on the proposal, and whether it has conducted a feasibility study and the outcome thereof; and

(e) how the authorities will improve the overcrowding conditions of the pedestrian walkways in Mong Kok at present; of the latest progress of the works to extend the footbridge system in Mong Kok, and when the works are expected to complete?

Reply:

President,

(a) and (b) In vetting applications from the franchised bus companies for designation of bus stops, the Transport Department (TD) will consider the physical environment and other factors of the proposed site, such as the number of alighting/boarding passengers, the width between the bus stop and the pavement, the pedestrian and vehicular flows, as well as the potential impact of the proposal on nearby residents and shop operators. Taking all the above into account, TD will decide whether to approve the applications and, if so, the location and size of the bus stop.

Furthermore, TD has limited the number of bus routes stopping along the same road section, having regard to the actual traffic conditions. TD also keeps a close watch on the utilisation of bus stops, including the numbers of and the changes in the bus routes and alighting/boarding passengers, and relocate the bus stops if necessary.

TD will continue to optimise the utilisation of buses on busy corridors through rationalisation of bus routes and reduction of bus frequencies. Where practicable, the number of buses running along and the frequency of stopping at the busy corridors will also be reduced. The Administration will consult and discuss with relevant District Councils or the locals on specific proposals as necessary.

(c) According to the information provided by the Development Bureau, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) is exploring the relocation of its Sai Yee Street office in Mong Kok to a suitable industrial building in New Territories West. At the same time, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) is studying the feasibility of relocating its Sai Yee Street facilities to West Kowloon, and preliminary planning of the facilities in West Kowloon is underway. After they have decided on the new sites, WSD and FEHD will work closely with the various Government departments concerned, in particular the respective District Offices, on the relocation timetable so as to tie in with the overall redevelopment of the existing site in Mong Kok.

(d) Planning Department (PlanD) completed a study on the "Area Improvement Plan for the Shopping Areas of Mong Kok" in July 2009. The Study recommended the accommodation of a Public Transport Interchange (PTI) in the future redevelopment of the WSD office/FEHD facilities site at Sai Yee Street. PlanD has been working with concerned Government departments, including TD, on the feasibility and details of the recommendation. The preliminary concept includes commercial development above the PTI, as well as provision of public open space and preservation of the existing mature trees at the site. Upon completion of the planning proposal later this year, PlanD will submit it to the Yau Tsim Mong District Council for consultation.

TD will study the possibility of relocating the services of some of the green minibus, red minibus or cross-boundary bus routes in the area to the proposed PTI, and draw up the corresponding planning and technical requirements for the transport facilities. TD will work with the relevant departments in the planning process.

(e) The Administration has always paid attention to the pedestrian environment in Mong Kok and has put in place appropriate improvement measures such as pedestrianisation schemes. Furthermore, TD engaged a consultant earlier to conduct a preliminary study of improvement to the pedestrian links in Mong Kok. The key recommendation is the phased construction of a footbridge system along the section of Argyle Street between Tong Mi Road and the redevelopment at the FEHD's depot and WSD's office at Sai Yee Street. It will connect the two MTR stations in the district with the vicinity of Tai Kok Tsui area. During the course of the study, apart from consulting the relevant District Councils and Area Committees, the Legislative Council Panel on Transport and the Transport Advisory Committee were also consulted on the proposed initial options on January 22 and February 5, 2010 respectively. The Administration is now preparing for a feasibility study on the schematic design recommended by the consultant. Upon confirmation of the feasibility of the proposed works, the Administration will consider how to take forward the project.

As regards the extension of the Mong Kok Road footbridge system, the Administration has issued the road closure order and notice in accordance with the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance (Cap 370) to tie in with the commencement of the works. The consultant of the developer concerned has largely completed the preparatory work required for the commencement of works, and has arranged with the utility undertakings to proceed with the diversion of underground public utilities. Under the current programme, the utility diversion works are expected to take about 3.5 years, and the subsequent construction of the footbridge extension will take about 2.5 years.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:55 PM   #18
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LCQ16: Noise problem arising from railway operation
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon James To Kun-sun and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 5):

Question:

I have recently received complaints from members of the public about the serious noise problem arising from the operation of trains along a rail section of Mongkok East Station near Yim Po Fong Street. They have also pointed out that MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) has already retrofitted noise barriers for the rail section along Peace Avenue, but it has not retrofitted such barriers for the section along Yim Po Fong Street. I have subsequently checked with MTRCL, which has indicated that Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) conducted a study in 1993 and installed noise barriers at a number of locations. However, MTRCL has not explained why it has not retrofitted noise barriers along Yim Po Fong Street. Moreover, I have learnt that MTRCL is carrying out noise barrier retrofitting works to the north of Olympic Station. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of complaints received by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), MTRCL (including KCRC and the former Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation) and other government departments in the past five years which involved noise generated from railway operation; among such complaints, of the number of those confirmed to have involved noise levels exceeding the statutory standards specified in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), with a breakdown by year and rail section;

(b) whether the Government has collated statistics on the number of existing rail sections of MTRCL with noise levels exceeding the statutory standards; of the approximate decibel measurements by which the standards have been exceeded, with a breakdown by rail section;

(c) whether it knows the number and outcome of investigations conducted by MTRCL (including KCRC and the former MTR Corporation) after 1993 on noise problems arising from operation, and whether any noise barrier has been retrofitted for the existing railway lines having regard to the outcome of the investigations; if so, of the details of those projects;

(d) whether various departments such as EPD and the Highways Department, etc., had discussed with MTRCL in the past five years about mitigating the noise problem along railway lines; if they had, of the proposals and efforts actually taken to mitigate noise; whether the Government knows if MTRCL has planned to carry out the projects concerned, including the installation of noise barriers;

(e) whether it knows the factors based on which MTRCL at present decides if noise barriers should be installed; whether the Government has discussed reviewing the guidelines concerned with MTRCL;

(f) given that HKPSG stipulates that "shielding is only effective if it breaks the line-of-sight from the window of a sensitive use to the rail sources", whether the Government knows why KCRC merely retrofitted noise barriers for the rail section along Peace Avenue then but did not do so for the section along Yim Po Fong Street; and

(g) whether it knows when the retrofitting of noise barriers to the north of Olympic Station will be completed; of the effects of these noise barriers anticipated by MTRCL and the Government, and whether retrofitting noise barriers to the south of Olympic Station will be considered?

Reply:

President,

(a) and (b) In general, complaints about the noise of running trains received by other government departments will be referred to EPD for follow up. Over the past five years, the total number of complaints about the noise of running trains received by the EPD is appended in Annex 1.

The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines provides guidance on new railway projects and new developments in the vicinity of railways. The noise levels of trains in operation are regulated by the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO). They should not exceed the corresponding statutory noise limits set out in NCO which are A-weighted equivalent continuous sound pressure level measured over a 30-minute period as shown in Annex 2.

Upon receiving a complaint, the EPD will investigate into each case to ascertain if the noise levels of running trains exceed the statutory limits. For details of the cases with noise levels of running trains exceeding the statutory limits over the past five years, please refer to Annex 3.

(c) In 1991, the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) commissioned a consultancy study and drew up a "noise reduction programme" for the East Rail (ER) Line. The programme took account of the seriousness of noise impact on residents at different locations along the ER Line, the priorities of retrofitting noise reducing installations, as well as the practicability and effectiveness of these measures. Under the programme, noise barriers retrofitting works commenced in 1993 and the works had all been completed now. For details please refer to Annex 4.

For the railway lines of the pre-merger Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation, noise problems mainly occurred on the Kwun Tong Line. The viaducts of the Kwun Tong Line were constructed more than thirty years ago. The design does not allow for the loading of other additional structures such as noise abatement facilities. Therefore, to install effective noise barriers, it is necessary to either carry out piling work or construct self-standing supports beside the viaducts to bear the additional loading. There are carriageways under most parts of the viaducts of the Kwun Tong Line and the piling work or construction of self-standing supports would occupy one carriageway for a prolonged period. The impact on traffic would not be acceptable. Nonetheless, to reduce the noise from trains, the MTR Corporation commenced a programme in 2001 to minimise the rail joints on the Kwun Tong Line. The programme was completed in 2003, reducing 65% of the rail joints on the viaducts. In addition, The Corporation takes into consideration the situation of each location and implements appropriate measures to reduce the noise generated by running trains. These include regular grinding of wheels and tracks, maintenance of trains and tracks, lubricating the tracks and wheels, altering the train speed, installing wheel dampers and using welding at rail joints where applicable to reduce the noise generated by running trains.

The Kwun Tong Development and Renewal Task Force of the Kwun Tong District Council had commissioned the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute Limited to carry out a study on the severity of road and rail traffic noise along Kwun Tong Road and improvement methods. A report on the results and recommendations of the study was published in 2009. The report pointed out that installing noise barriers and covering the tracks were not feasible as there was not enough space and also it would have aesthetic impact on the landscape.

The MTRCL also retrofitted noise barriers near Tung Chung Station and Tsing Yi Station along the Tung Chung Line/Airport Express in 2006 and 2009 respectively. After the merger of the two railway companies, the MTRCL followed up the former KCRC’s work of retrofitting noise barriers at Wo Liu Hang near Fo Tan Station on the ER Line to reduce the noise impact of trains on nearby residents. The work was completed in 2010.

(d) The EPD and the MTRCL hold liaison meetings regularly to discuss, among other things, environmental issues such as noise along the rail lines. In response to complaints about the noise of trains, the EPD has proposed to the MTRCL that a consultancy be commissioned to conduct a comprehensive review of the noise levels of running trains and a study on the practicable improvement measures where necessary.

(e) Currently the noise levels of MTRCL running trains are under the control of section 13 of the NCO. The EPD will request the MTRCL to make improvements if the noise levels of MTRCL trains are found exceeding the standards under the NCO. However, as the MTRCL's ER Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line and Island Line are all built before the commencement of the NCO, there are practical difficulties and constraints if noise abatement facilities are to be retrofitted along these lines. Therefore, section 37 of the NCO stipulates that section 13 shall apply to the MTRCL only so far as is practicable and compatible with the discharge of any function or the exercise of any power or duty conferred or imposed upon it according to law.

As railway is a convenient means of transport, following the start of train services many facilities and buildings would be developed along the railway. Due to the limitations of the original planning, there is a great difficulty in requiring the rail company to implement noise mitigation measures for new buildings developed after the railway is completed.

The MTRCL will adopt appropriate measures to reduce noise generated by running trains by taking into account the merits of each case, the varied conditions of different rail sections, the development of technology and the topography. The measures include grinding the rails and wheels regularly, proper maintenance of trains and rails, lubricating the tracks and wheels, adjusting the running patterns of trains and reducing train speed where feasible, installing wheel dampers, welding the rails at the joints where applicable in order to reduce noise from wheel movements on the track, and constructing noise barriers. These various practicable measures help reduce noise generated during the operation of railway.

New railways must meet the requirements and statutory standards under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance. The MTRCL must also carry out works and operate the railways in compliance with the requirements of the relevant legislation and the environmental permits, including the necessary noise reduction measures.

(f) According to the findings of a consultancy study completed in 1996 by the former KCRC, noise generated by running trains was the main noise source affecting residents along Peace Avenue. The retrofitting of noise barriers would be effective in reducing the overall noise level along Peace Avenue. As for the situation along Yim Po Fong Street, the consultant pointed out that as the noise level of trains there was similar to that of road traffic. Reducing the noise level of trains would not significantly improve the overall situation, and therefore the consultant did not recommend any specific noise reduction measure for the section along Yim Po Fong Street. Nevertheless, the KCRC has retrofitted 4m high noise barriers along Yim Po Fong Street to reduce the noise impact of trains on local residents.

(g) The MTRCL completed the noise barrier works to the north of Olympic Station in late 2010 and will assess the effectiveness of the noise barriers. The assessment is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2011. The noise barriers are designed to reduce the noise levels of running trains to meet the requirements of the NCO. The MTRCL has no plan to retrofit noise barriers to the south of Olympic Station. The development of the estates to the south of the Station has incorporated building design mitigation measures to reduce the noise impact of train operation on residents. As the statutory requirements are complied with, no noise barrier would be required.

Annex 1 : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20110...0205_73834.pdf
Annex 2 : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20110...0205_73835.pdf
Annex 3 : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20110...0205_73836.pdf
Annex 4 : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20110...0205_73837.pdf
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Old February 16th, 2011, 11:47 AM   #19
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Why Mong Kok is not lost in translation
The Standard
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It is quite common for non-Cantonese speakers to mispronounce some Chinese names in Hong Kong.

Part of the problem is because transliteration - converting Chinese sounds into the Roman alphabet - can be misleading. For instance, the family name "Lee" should be pronounced as "lay."

Another example is the "kok" in Mong Kok, which should be pronounced as "gok," or "point."

But in this particular case, non-Cantonese speakers seem to be correctly pronouncing the word.

Mong Kok was originally named after a type of fern, or grass, called "mong." In later years, when fishermen occupied the area, it may have been named after a different sort of "mong," meaning net.

More recently, however, the Cantonese name changed. People started calling the area "Wonggok," which means prosperous point, to, perhaps, reflect the changing status of the neighborhood.

Mong Kok was originally rural, then it became a small fishing port; reclamation took it inland, where it became a busy commercial district. Or maybe the new name was dreamed up by developers who wanted to promote the area. Whatever the reason, nobody ever changed the written form of the English name.

Today, it is one of the most densely populated places in the world, packed with restaurants, clothing, electronics and other retail outlets. Its current Chinese name, with its connotation of a bustling, prosperous place, makes sense.

But those who pronounce the Romanized name are not necessarily wrong. Even if they may not realize it, they are using its original name. Bernard Charnwut Chan, chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, sees culture from all perspectives.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 07:07 AM   #20
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Land resumption for urban renewal project in Mong Kok gazetted
Friday, February 18, 2011
Government Press Release





The Lands Department today (February 18) announced the resumption of land for the implementation of an urban renewal development project at Sai Yee Street in Mong Kok.

The project is included in the Urban Renewal Authority (URA)'s Business Plan for 2007/2008. Its implementation will help improve the general environment of the locality while preserving the local character of "Trainers Street" and enhancing the living conditions of the residents.

A total of 109 private interests at the site bounded by Sai Yee Street, Nelson Street and Fa Yuen Street will be resumed under the Lands Resumption Ordinance. The affected interests will revert to the Government three months from the date of the resumption notice being affixed on site. Details of the private land affected have been gazetted today.

Apart from their entitlement to statutory compensation, eligible owners of domestic properties will be offered an ex-gratia home purchase allowance or supplementary allowance as appropriate. Eligible domestic occupiers will be offered rehousing in the Hong Kong Housing Authority or Hong Kong Housing Society units, or an ex-gratia cash allowance.

Eligible commercial property occupiers, including owners and tenants, may choose ex-gratia allowance in lieu of the right to make statutory claims for business and related losses.

Affected owners and tenants of both domestic and commercial properties will also have the right to make statutory claims under the Lands Resumption Ordinance. If the claims are not settled by agreement, the owners and tenants may apply to the Lands Tribunal for adjudication. Professional fees reasonably incurred for making such claims may be reimbursed by the Government.

Upon resumption and clearance, the site, with an area of about 2,465 square metres, will be redeveloped for residential and commercial purposes in accordance with the prevailing statutory plan prepared under the Town Planning Ordinance. A special "local sports shop arrangement" has been introduced by the URA for this project to allow affected sports shop operators priority in renting shop space at the future development so as to continue their operation.
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