LCQ9: Maintenance of buildings acquired by Urban Renewal Authority

Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-kin and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 3):


Some residents of Kwun Tong have relayed to me that due to a prolonged lack of maintenance of the buildings in Yue Man Square and its vicinity which have been acquired by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), tin plates on the rooftop of the buildings were once blown away and fell down, and it was lucky that no one was hurt.  Furthermore, some members of the public have pointed out that as the Kwun Tong Town Centre Project and Mong Kok's Sai Yee Street Project cover relatively large redevelopment areas, it will therefore take some time before demolition and redevelopment works formally commence; yet, in the meantime, the buildings acquired by URA may become potential bombs in the city.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) if there were accidents in the past five years which were caused by the lack of maintenance of old buildings already acquired by URA but pending redevelopment; if so, the numbers and nature of such accidents;

(b) if URA will appropriately maintain the flats and buildings it has acquired but pending redevelopment, such as regularly inspecting them and removing the dangerous illegal structures therein, with a view to ensure that such buildings are structurally safe and will not pose danger to the pedestrians nearby; if not, the reasons for that, and

(c) the total amount of funding URA committed in the past five years to the maintenance and management of the flats and buildings it has acquired but pending redevelopment?



(a) According to the records of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), there was only one accident related to the buildings acquired by the URA pending redevelopment in the past five years (2005-2009).  The accident involved the power transformer of a signboard which fell and hit the windscreen of the upper deck of a bus that was passing by.  There were no injuries in the incident.  The URA commissioned a contractor to remove the signboard right away and carried out inspection on all signboards within the project area to ensure public safety.  As regards some Kwun Tong residents' allegation on the blowing off and falling down of tin plates from the rooftop of buildings acquired by the URA, the URA has no such records.

(b) The URA attaches much importance to the conditions of the buildings it has acquired within its redevelopment projects.  The URA has engaged building consultants to inspect the buildings regularly, and whenever necessary, so as to prevent these buildings from posing danger to the surrounding environment and to the public, and to take follow-up action as required.  The inspections cover the external walls and the common areas of the buildings.  If any potential danger is identified, the URA will take immediate action.

(c) Over the past five years, the URA has spent about $17 million on maintenance-related works for the acquired buildings pending redevelopment.  The expenses covered the costs for commissioning of consultants and the actual maintenance works.   About 550 buildings and 6,000 flats were involved.

The URA has also set up a designated team to deal with the management of the acquired buildings.

In addition, in view of security concerns arising from the gradual moving out of affected residents from the URA redevelopment project areas, the URA will employ security companies to carry out round-the-clock patrol at the buildings it has acquired, including the common areas of those buildings until the commencement of the redevelopment work.  The cost of employing security companies over the past five years amounted to about $11 million.

Ends/Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Issued at HKT 14:32