URA begins Ma Tau Wai Road redevelopment project (with photo)

     The Financial Secretary announced in his Budget Speech today (February 24) that the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) would immediately begin a project to redevelop the site occupied by the collapsed building on 45J Ma Tau Wai Road and adjacent buildings on  Ma Tau Wai Road and Chun Tin Street to address deterioration in the affected buildings and provide relief to affected residents.

     The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Chairman of the URA, Mr Barry Cheung, announced details of the redevelopment project at a press conference this afternoon. Concurrently, staff of URA are conducting a freezing survey of residents on site.

     Mrs Lam said the project was a special measure taken by the Government and URA in response to a unique situation.  She thanked the URA Board for its support and expressed appreciation of the preparatory work done by URA management in taking forward this project within a very short period of time.

     "The building collapse incident has seriously upset the daily lives of the affected residents.  To allay residents' anxiety, and taking account of the dilapidated conditions of those buildings, we believe redevelopment is the most appropriate solution," Mrs Lam said.

     "In addition, I am encouraged by the URA's agreement to adopt some new approaches in the implementation of the project," she said.

     In response to the Financial Secretary's concern about the supply of small-sized flats as mentioned in his Budget Speech, the URA will provide in this redevelopment project about 400 small units of below 500 square feet each to cater for the mass housing market.

     A district-based approach will be adopted.  Consultations with  the Kowloon City District Council and the local community, in particular their views on the planned provision of 500 square metres of at-grade public open space and 1,000 square metres of Government/Institution and Community accommodation, will be conducted  before the planning of the project is finalised.

     For the first time, the URA will develop the project on its own and will not be partnering with private developers.

     Mrs Lam said she was supportive of the special measures for affected owners and tenants that the URA Board has decided to adopt for this particular project. "In committing itself to this  project, URA has fully lived up to its mission as a caring and people-based public organisation," she said.

     The project will cover 33 private lots in Nos 43, 43A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and J and Nos 45A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and J, Ma Tai Wai Road; Nos 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23 Chun Tin Street, and Nos 6 and 8, Hok Yuen Street.

     The Buildings Department has completed the investigation into the safety conditions of 45G and H of Ma Tai Wai Road.  Both are severely damaged and will need to be completely demolished for safety reasons.

     The Buildings Department will work with the Home Affairs Department and the Police to arrange for affected residents to return to their units to collect their valuables for a final time before building demolition as far as the conditions of the buildings permit.  The buildings at 45E and F do not have structural problems, but they will remain closed until the demolition works of 45G and H are completed.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:51