Priority set for "Operation Building Bright" Category 1 buildingsThe Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, officiated at the ballot ceremony for Category 1 buildings under "Operation Building Bright" with Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) Chairman, Mr Yeung Ka-sing, and Urban Renewal Authority (URA) Chairman, Mr Barry Cheung, today (June 19) to set the priority for processing the applications regarding some 1,100 Category 1 buildings and granting of funds for eligible buildings.
Speaking at the ballot ceremony, Mrs Lam said the Operation was a targeted and large-scale campaign that could reap quick benefits. As the unemployment situation in the construction sector is rather serious, it is hoped that more jobs could be created by expediting local building maintenance works.
She said building owners' response to the Operation was overwhelming, with over 1,100 applications for Category 1 buildings received, which was more than double the quota of 500 buildings.
The Financial Secretary announced on May 26 a new round of relief measures and earmarked an additional $1-billion funding for the Operation in case the demand outstripped the originally allocated budget.
The Development Bureau will seek lawmakers' approval for the additional $1-billion funding to expand the Operation to cover more buildings requiring repair works. It is expected that all the applications for Category 1 buildings could obtain funding for repair works as long as the eligibility criteria are met.
Excluding the necessary funding for all the valid applications received under Category 1 and selected buildings under Category 2, there may still be uncommitted funds available out of the $2 billion for funding other buildings for repair works. The Development Bureau is planning to invite another round of applications from owners' corporations (OCs) of eligible buildings near the end of this year.
Mrs Lam called on owners who had not establish OCs for their buildings to set up such corporations in the coming months so that their buildings would be eligible under the Operation.
The Operation team jointly set up by HKHS and URA will process the applications and vet their eligibility according to the priority set by today's computer ballot. Approval-in-principle will be issued to eligible Category 1 buildings, having regard to availability of resources within the $1-billion funding. It is expected that approvals to about 500 buildings could be issued immediately and the OCs could start appointing authorised people to co-ordinate repair and maintenance works for the buildings. Such works are expected to gradually be kick started from the third quarter of this year.
Today's ballot results will be available at the websites of HKHS (http://www.hkhs.com/) and URA (http://www.ura.org.hk/). The results will also be published in Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao and The Standard on June 22.
Ends/Friday, June 19, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:54