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SDEV speaks about Policy Address

    Following is the transcript (English portion) of the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB), Mr Edward Ho, speaking to the media after the Board meeting today (October 10):

Reporter: Mrs Lam, the owner of King Yin Lei has offered to restore the mansion.  Would the Government ask him to keep it after it has been restored or will the Government buy out the property?

Secretary for Development: It・s too early to talk about buying the property but I am pleased to say that as I reported on the last occasion, we have been making efforts to contact the owner and I have received this letter from the owner・s representative, who is the owner・s nominated architect to work on the restoration of King Yin Lei.  I will be meeting him shortly and so far the intention is clear that the owner has offered to do the restoration at his expense and to work with us because we have engaged experts both local and from the Mainland to look at the extent of the damage done and the needed work for restoration.  So my first priority is to get in touch with the owner・s representative and to see what actually is needed to be done to do the restoration work.  But I would say that the message given to me is a goodwill gesture to do something good for the people of Hong Kong.

Reporter: Can you tell me something about the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters?  What are the plans now?

Secretary for Development: As you know the site of the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters is also the historic site of the former Central School.  Of course you know the Antiquities and Monument Office (AMO) has been doing some archaeological excavation on that site and shortly the AMO will report to the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) on the findings of that study.  What the Chief Executive (CE) has announced is given the historical significance of the site, and in fact its very strategic location along Hollywood Road with several blocks away is the Central Police Station Compound which we will see a major revitalisation project, the CE has decided to take it out of the Application List so that it would not be sold for the time being.  I would just emphasise this one year given by the CE is to make sure that I would work hard enough to give him an option within 12 months・ time.  So I have already arranged to meet with concerned groups who have always been expressing interest and concern about the site, to line up meetings and to try to come up with a plan that will achieve this objective of balancing development and preservation.

Reporter: Mr Ho, can you explain why you are so supportive of what the CE said?

Chairman of AAB: First of all, we are very glad to see the rather good coverage in the Chief Executive・s Policy Address on preservation. Also, we see that it is not just more words. It is action now.  Of course, we are very keen to see that these projects will come into place very very soon.  For instance, we have learnt that the Central Police Station would go ahead with the subsidy from the Jockey Club. In fact they will fund the whole project so that the project looks very exciting.  Also, from the public sector works point of view, we know that in the future, they must have a heritage impact assessment first, so that would prevent sort of works going ahead and then finding out later problems regarding opportunity lost on heritage.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Issued at HKT 21:31


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