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Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

Lawmaker withdraws Kai Tak homes protest request

A lawmaker has withdrawn an application to hold a protest against the building of "light public housing" in Kai Tak, citing Housing Bureau officials as saying they would look into alternative sites for the project.
This came as residents expressed concerns over the future of the second central business district in Kai Tak.

Local residents in Kai Tak earlier opposed the plan to build the temporary public housing there, saying it would undermine Kai Tak's potential to be the second central business district in Hong Kong. They were also concerned that the temporary public housing would eventually become permanent despite the government assuring that it would be only five years.

Kowloon Central Legislative Council member Yang Wing-kit recently applied to the police for approval to hold a public gathering on Olympic Avenue on Saturday next week.

He withdrew the application yesterday after speaking to Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho Wing-yin.

Yang said the government appeared to have softened the tone and was willing to check other locations for the project.

Yang said he would meet with Ho on Sunday to discuss site selection in relation to the building of "light public housing" and visit two sites he suggested - an outdoor parking lot adjacent to Hoi Sham Park in To Kwa Wan and another outdoor parking lot next to Megabox.

He said that after speaking to Ho, he got the feeling that the bureau was aware of residents' concerns and was willing to exchange ideas on the site arrangement.

Saying it was a goodwill gesture from the bureau, he therefore withdrew the protest application.

Yang reiterated that he would support the government building "light public housing" as long as the role of Kai Tak as the city's second central business district remains unchanged and the transportation network of the whole Kai Tak area is improved to include construction of a public transport system there.

Yang added "fighting for economic betterment" and "improving people's livelihood" do not conflict with each other, hoping that the government will overcome the site selection problem.

In a related development, DAB lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king plans to write to the government to ask officials to explain the timetable for the light public housing project in Kai Tak, a solution to potential traffic congestion and an account of the financial impact due to postponing the sale of the site for five years.

Lee said that Kai Tak residents were worried that Kai Tak may not be developed into a second central business district as promised, especially after the monorail known as Kai Tak Environmentally Friendly Linkage System was shelved due to high costs and other reasons. Residents feared that other projects there would not be completed at all, she said.

Lee said residents only learnt from the media that the site would be used for building temporary public housing and they did not have a chance to express their views prior to the decision.

She hoped the authorities would communicate with representatives of the affected residents to listen to their concerns and explain the decision.

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