Government permits rebuilding of licensed stilt houses in Tai O

The Government has decided to allow owners of stilt houses in Tai O, Lantau holding valid Government Land Licences to rebuild their homes destroyed in a recent fire.

The departments concerned will discuss further with the licensees to work out detailed arrangements.

A spokesman for the Planning and Lands Bureau said today (July 25) that having considered the demand from the fire victims to rebuild their stilt houses, the Government raised no objection in principle to the reconstruction of the stilt houses by the licensees in situ under the provisions of their licences, which govern the use, size and height of the stilt houses.

Under this arrangement, the cost of rebuilding individual stilt houses would be fully shouldered by the licensees concerned.

The spokesman emphasized that the licensing system permitted the licensees to use the government land as specified in the licence conditions but did not confer upon them land ownership or the right of inheritance.

"At present, the Government Land Licences issued for the stilt houses in Tai O are renewed annually, taking into account the long-term planning and development needs of the government land concerned," he said.

"Under the provisions of the licences, the Director of Lands can revoke the licences by giving the licensees three months' notice."

About 90 stilt houses ravaged by the fire in Tai O on July 2, 2000 were licensed by the Director of Lands under the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance.

The spokesman said the fire victims could also register with the Housing Department which is offering speedy rehousing in the same district for the eligible residents.

End/Tuesday, July 25, 2000