Secretary for Development speaks about Wing Lee Street

Following is the transcript (English portion) of the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaking to the media about Wing Lee Street today (March 16):

Reporter: Just a week ago, the URA said that not all the 12 blocks will be preserved. Is this U-turn actually a result of some pressure exerted from the government to the URA? What is the actual reason? Do you think the public aspiration for cultural, heritage conservation has been fully reflected?

Secretary for Development: I have answered that question in Chinese, but I try to summarise my response again in English. First of all, public aspirations about heritage conservation have been changing, and changing quite rapidly in recent years. I still remember the Chief Executive said in his 2007 Policy Address, he said that this reflected our people's attachment to this place and to Hong Kong's history, which is something good and is the value that we should cherish. That is why in the last three years, we have been doing quite a lot on heritage conservation, and where those heritage conservation projects involved the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and in fact there are a few, first from the Blue House conservation, and then to the Shanghai Street and Prince Edward Road West pre-war shophouses conservation, to the Wing Lee Street conservation. It reflects our joint appreciation of these growing public aspirations for heritage conservation. So there is no single factor which has given rise to an adjustment in the approach to do conservation. I have to stress, what the URA Chairman has announced today, which has my strong support, is not a reverse of what we have been doing. It is another way of doing what we have been saying that we will do about Wing Lee Street, which is a complete preservation in order to conserve that terrace-type of neighbourhood in Hong Kong. Of course we should not also forget about there is a very small Bridges Street market connected to the terrace in Wing Lee Street, which in the scheme back in 2008, we already said that we would preserve it, we were not going to build over it. So this is not a matter of pressure being exerted on the URA. I think this is another positive response or indication of my common wish with the URA, particularly Mr Barry Cheung, to do more good work for the people of Hong Kong. Thank you very much.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Issued at HKT 21:08