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Legislative Council Question 8 : "Escalator in Galaxia" by the Hon Chan Yuen-han and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council

Following is a question by the Hon Chan Yuen-han and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (June 21):

Question:

The land leases of Galaxia has specifically stipulated that the leasee is required to develop at its own expenses a number of public facilities, including an escalator for public use, and to bear the management and maintenance responsibilities for the escalator. Nevertheless, after the construction of the escalator, it has been idled by the manager of the housing estate for a long period and has just started operating from 6am to 12 midnight daily since May this year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has studied if the manager of the housing estate has breached the special terms concerned by operating the escalator during some specified hours only;

(b) of the number of cases in Hong Kong in which the special terms stipulated in land leases were breached in the past three years, and how such cases were handled, including the criteria adopted for deciding whether or not to institute legal proceedings; and

(c) whether, in future land sales for residential developments, it will stipulate in the land leases that the repair and maintenance responsibilities for all facilities for public use (such as accesses and escalators) shall be borne by the developers of the projects concerned and may not be shifted to those individual property owners who purchase the flats subsequently?

Reply:

Madam President,

My reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) According to the Special Condition (SC) (15)(c) of the Conditions of Sale No. 12239 in respect of the Galaxia (C/S 12239), the leasee is required to manage and maintain at its own expenses the Pedestrian Access Works (PAW) and the escalators, which form parts of the said PAW, shall be open to members of the public at all times during the day and night or such hours as may be approved by the Director of Lands in accordance with SC (15)(b) of C/S 12239.

Upon receiving the application from the Manager of the Galaxia and having consulted the Transport Department and the Wong Tai Sin District Office, the Director of Lands approved the application on May 17, 2006 to shorten the operation hours of the escalators from 0600 to 2400. Therefore, operation of the escalators during the specified hours is not in breach of SC (15)(b) of C/S 12239.

(b) According to our record, there is currently no case of non-compliance of special terms stipulated in land leases. Over the past three years, there were four other cases, where the Director of Lands has written to the leasees in the form of either advices or warning letters as appropriate and thereafter the lessees have taken action to comply with the lease conditions. Hence, the question of instituting legal proceedings does not arise.

(c) Under the current practise, the Government Grants sets out the obligation to maintain and manage public facilities. The obligation is on the party entering into the Government grant (i.e. the developer) and his executors, administrators and assignees (i.e. the purchasers of units of the development). As for the cost sharing arrangement of the maintenance responsibility of the public facilities, it is set out in the Deed of Mutual Covenant signed between the developer and the flat purchasers.

When the Lands Department approves the pre-sale of uncompleted flats, the developers are required to state the repair and maintenance responsibilities of flat purchasers in the sales brochures. In addition, the details in the leases as well as the Deed of Mutual Covenant should have been made known to flat purchasers by their solicitors during the property conveyancing process.

Ends/Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Issued at HKT 12:50

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