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STH visits Kwai Tsing public housing estates (with photos)
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     The Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, visited Kwai Tsing District today (October 17) to look at the Housing Department's (HD) plans to improve the pedestrian environment in public housing estates.

     The Chief Executive announced in his 2008-09 Policy Address on Wednesday (October 15) that the HD would study the feasibility of installing lifts and escalators connecting common areas in hillside public housing estates, as well as lifts in walk-up, low-rise public housing blocks to facilitate resident access.

     Accompanied by Housing Authority Member Mr Shih Wing-ching and the Permanent Secretary for Transport and Housing (Housing), Mr Thomas Chan, Ms Cheng first visited Cheung Hong Estate where a lift tower project is in the planning stage.

     She was briefed on how the lift tower would eventually connect housing blocks in the lower platform to a commercial complex at a higher level. A detailed feasibility study for this project and a similar one in Cheung Ching Estate is being carried out and, subject to the study, works are scheduled for completion at the end of 2011.

     Ms Cheng's next stop was Kwai Shing East Estate, a public rental housing estate built on a sloping site. Tenants will be provided with a lift tower near Shing Kwok House that would link existing escalators, covered walkway and the shopping centre in the estate.

     While in Kwai Shing East Estate, Ms Cheng paid a home visit to an elderly couple, the husband of whom has difficulty in walking uphill after suffering a stroke several years ago. The couple were pleased to hear that the lift tower project in the estate was making good progress and would be completed in mid-2009.

     Ms Cheng then visited Kwai Chung Estate íV an award-winning and the largest public rental housing estate, currently accommodating a population of 39,000 in about 13,700 flats.

     Ms Cheng saw that to improve tenants' uphill access and connection between the estate and the nearby Tai Wo Hau MTR station, a 36-metre-high lift tower at Phase 5 and a 60-metre-long footbridge had been constructed and had opened for use last month (September).

     To perfect the pedestrian access system for the residents between the lift tower and MTR station, more improvement works including walkway widening works would come on stream in Tai Wo Hau Estate. These works, together with the lift tower and the footbridge, cost about $52 million.

Ends/Friday, October 17, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:12

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