The Development Bureau (DEVB) today (December 29) released updated information for general reference on the relevant land/lease (user restrictions) and planning information relating to private columbaria that are made known to the Lands Department (LandsD) and/or Planning Department and those which the departments have reason to believe are operating as columbaria.
Five columbaria have been added and one columbarium has been removed from the list, with relevant details of particular columbaria being updated. The private columbaria listed do not necessarily fulfill the licensing requirements under the Private Columbaria Ordinance, which came into effect on June 30, 2017. For details of the Ordinance, please visit the website of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) (www.fehd.gov.hk/rpc).
Among the private columbaria included in the information published today on DEVB's website, 20 are applying to the LandsD for regularisation of land use and/or the Town Planning Board for planning permission. The information is available on DEVB's website (www.devb.gov.hk/en/issues_in_focus/private_columbaria/index.html).
"Members of the public who wish to purchase niches at private columbaria are reminded of the importance of obtaining from the operators full and complete information in order to check whether the columbaria are compliant with all the relevant statutory requirements under the Private Columbaria Ordinance," a spokesman for the DEVB said.
"To protect their own interests, members of the public are also reminded to ascertain from the operators how they will look after the interests of their customers, such as whether and how they would refund or otherwise compensate their customers in the event that the private columbarium subsequently closes down or is disallowed from operating. Members of the public should seek independent legal advice on their rights when necessary," the spokesman added.
Under the Ordinance, any person who operates, keeps, manages or in any other way has control of a private columbarium in Hong Kong must obtain a specified instrument (i.e. licence, exemption or temporary suspension of liability) through application to the Private Columbaria Licensing Board (PCLB). Land/lease and planning requirements form part of the overall requirements for applying for specified instruments under the Ordinance. The PCLB will start to accept applications from private columbaria for specified instruments tomorrow (December 30). As information on implementation of the Ordinance will be separately published by the FEHD, the DEVB will provide a final update on the land/lease (user restrictions) and planning information relating to private columbaria at end-March 2018 (i.e. upon expiry of the grace period under the Ordinance), and will cease to update such information thereafter.
For enquiries on the information on private columbaria published by the DEVB, please call the enquiry hotline at 3142 2255.
Ends/Friday, December 29, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:00