Following is a question by the Hon Tam Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):
A number of District Council (DC) members have relayed to me that in their districts, many old buildings without owners' corporations (OCs) were nominated by DCs as Category 2 target buildings under Operation Building Bright (OBB) in May last year as these buildings had become dilapidated because of the lack of maintenance, but reply from the Government is still pending. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the respective numbers of nominations of Category 2 target buildings made by the five DCs of Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, Kwai Tsing, Tuen Mun and Islands since the implementation of OBB last year; and among the buildings nominated, of the number of those that had been included as Category 2 target buildings; the reasons for not including some of the nominated buildings as Category 2 target buildings, together with the names of such buildings;
(b) which buildings had been included as Category 2 target buildings respectively in the five DC districts in (a) to date;
(c) given that some local people have pointed out that some of the old buildings which were not approved to be included as Category 2 target buildings are in an even poorer state of dilapidation than some of the Category 1 target buildings, whether the Government will set up a mechanism for residents of these old buildings to seek a review to enable them to obtain subsidies for carrying out repair works expeditiously, so as to enhance the safety of buildings; if so, of the specific measures; if not, the reasons for that; and
(d) given that OCs were formed in the past six months for some of the old buildings which were not approved to be included as Category 2 target buildings, whether the Government will allow these OCs to submit applications for their buildings to be included as Category 1 target buildings; if so, of the specific measures; if not, the reasons for that?
The "Operation Building Bright" (OBB) was formally launched on May 7, 2009. Category 2 target buildings under the OBB are buildings with difficulties in coordinating repair works, such as buildings without owners' corporations (OCs). The category includes buildings which have failed to comply with the statutory repair orders issued by the Buildings Department (BD). Besides, we have also invited the Legislative Council (LegCo) and District Councils (DCs) to nominate buildings as Category 2 target buildings. The Steering Committee of the OBB (the Steering Committee) comprising representatives from the BD, Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) and Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has selected suitable buildings as Category 2 target buildings according to the eligibility criteria of the Operation, the conditions of the buildings and associated information.
The BD has in total received 513 nominations as Category 2 target buildings, among which 510 nominations were from 14 DCs and three from LegCo Members. Among the nominations, 329 buildings have been included under the OBB: the Steering Committee has assessed the condition and relevant information of the nominated buildings and included 263 nominated buildings as Category 2 target buildings. As for the remaining nominated buildings, 66 buildings have earlier submitted applications to participate as Category 1 target buildings and these cases are being assisted by the HKHS and URA. The BD has earlier on notified the DC Chairmen of the respective districts the selection results for their own districts.
The reply to the four-part question is as follows:
(a) and (b) The five DCs in Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, Kwai Tsing, Tuen Mun and Islands have in total suggested nominations covering 145 buildings, among which 79 buildings have been included in the OBB: 49 buildings of which have been included as Category 2 target buildings; and another 30 have earlier submitted applications for participating as Category 1 target buildings and they are being assisted by the HKHS and URA. The remaining 66 buildings have been inspected by the BD and assessed by the Steering Committee. These buildings have not been included as Category 2 target buildings because they do not meet the relevant eligibility criteria of the OBB, such as the age of the building is below 30 years, the condition of the building does not warrant the issuance of statutory repair orders, etc.
To facilitate the DCs to follow up with the buildings in their respective districts, the BD wrote to the DC Chairmen of the respective districts on December 9, 2009 informing the DCs of the list of nominated buildings of their own districts which are eligible for inclusion as Category 2 target buildings. The total numbers of nominated buildings which have been included as Categories 1 and 2 target buildings in the aforementioned five districts are tabulated by districts as follows:
|District||Number of Buildings Nominated by DC||Number of Nominated Buildings Included as Category 1 Target Buildings||Number of Nominated Buildings Included as Category 2 Target Buildings|
(c) In respect of the selection of Category 2 target buildings, we have promulgated objective and clear standards and eligibility criteria before the launch of the OBB. The whole selection and scrutiny process is conducted by the Steering Committee in an impartial manner in accordance with the clearly established selection procedures. The BD also inspects buildings and issues statutory repair orders in accordance with the established requirements and procedures of the Department. If the residents have any enquiries or questions on the selection results, or wish to request for a review, they may contact the BD.
(d) The first phase application period for the OBB has already been closed. Based on our estimation so far, after completion of the works in respect of all eligible applications for Category 1 target buildings and selected Category 2 target buildings, there will still be some uncommitted funds available out of the $2 billion for further deployment. As we indicated at the meeting of the LegCo Panel on Development on January 26, a more precise estimate on the uncommitted funds will be available when more buildings have finalised their scope of repair works as well as the maintenance budget. We are contemplating how best to make use of the remaining funds to assist more target buildings. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the OBB, and plan to report further to the Panel on Development in mid-2010 the latest progress of the OBB and our plan. In mapping out our next steps, we will bear in mind the suggestions received from stakeholders regarding the eligibility criteria for the OBB, the lead time needed for building owners to make preparations, the availability of building professionals and contractors in the market as well as the need to suitably spread out building repair works to be conducted in Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:13