Following is the translation of the speech by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, today (May 10) at the Hong Kong Housing Society's Launching Ceremony of Building Management and Maintenance Scheme cum Opening of Property Management Advisory Centre (Tsuen Wan):
Chairman Lee, Madam Chan, Madam Wong, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to attend the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS)'s Launching Ceremony of the Building Management and Maintenance Scheme cum the Opening of Property Management Advisory Centre (Tsuen Wan) today.
Proper building management and maintenance is a major concern of both the Government and owners. In the Report on the Public Consultation on Building Management and Maintenance released in January 2005, we announced a comprehensive and systematic strategy to tackle the long-standing and complex building neglect problem through short and medium to long-term measures.
On short-term measures, I am glad to have solicited the support of the HKHS to launch a $3 billion "Building Management and Maintenance Scheme" (the HKHS Scheme) to provide "one-stop" assistance to building owners in old districts to improve their living environment. Similar loan schemes are also offered by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and the Buildings Department to building owners. On medium to long-term measures, we are examining the implementation details and support measures for mandatory building inspection and will conduct the second stage public consultation in this regard by the end of this year.
The HKHS Scheme has been very well received by owners since its launch in February this year. I note that at mid-April, just more than two months after its commencement, the HKHS had received over 1,000 enquiries about the HKHS Scheme. Such an enthusiastic response demonstrates that the HKHS Scheme meets the practical needs of owners.
Take the first application approved by the HKHS as an example, the chairman of the owners' corporation of the building concerned has indicated that thanks to the help of the HKHS, maintenance works can be carried out to enhance building safety, and the property value is expected to rise upon the completion of the maintenance works, thus bringing different benefits to the owners. It shows that the HKHS Scheme will not only enhance the awareness of the public in the upkeep of their buildings, but also help increase the property value as well as job opportunities.
I am pleased to learn that the HKHS plans to set up six Property Management Advisory Centres to provide owners with comprehensive support. Today, the opening of the third Property Management Advisory Centre in Tsuen Wan marks a wider and better coverage and network of the HKHS Scheme. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to HKHS for its commitment in this regard.
Tackling the building neglect problem is one of the Government's major policy objectives. We will continue to work closely with HKHS and URA and, with the co-operation of the owners, I am confident that we can strive for a better living environment for Hong Kong.
Ends/Tuesday, May 10, 2005