Government launches campaign to promote heritage conservation

The Government is committed to pressing ahead with heritage conservation work by introducing a range of policy initiatives and building partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, made these remarks at the Heritage Discovery Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, today (January 15) at the launching ceremony of the heritage conservation publicity campaign.

These policy initiatives include conducting heritage impact assessment for new capital works projects; partnering with NGOs to revitalise Government-owned historic buildings; using economic incentives to encourage owners of privately-owned historic buildings to preserve those buildings; and setting up a Commissioner for Heritage's Office.

Mrs Lam said that these Government efforts would only succeed with public support.  "After all, the care which Hong Kong people have expressed for heritage originated from our passion for our culture and lifestyle and is something we all should cherish," Mrs Lam added.

Mrs Lam shared with guests attending the ceremony progress made on those heritage conservation initiatives since their announcement in the Chief Executive Policy Address last October.  She said she was much encouraged by the positive response especially towards the "Revitalising Historic Buildings through Partnership Scheme".  The Scheme would be formally launched after obtaining Legislative Council funding approval in February.  Eligible NGOs would then be invited to submit revitalisation proposals.

The Development Bureau was launching a public awareness campaign on heritage conservation over the next three months, inviting members of the public to take part in exhibitions, seminars and guided tours to enhance their awareness and appreciation of Hong Kong's heritage.  Highlights of the programme included a guided tour of the Yuen Long Ping Shan local heritage conducted by the renowned local designer Mr William Tang, himself an indigenous villager of the Yuen Long Tang Clan; a photo competition to capture the charm and uniqueness of Hong Kong's historic buildings; and roving exhibitions in seven shopping centres throughout Hong Kong.

Mrs Lam also paid tribute to organisations taking part in the exhibition showcasing their respective efforts in heritage conservation.  They included the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Urban Renewal Authority, The University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Maryknoll Convent School, the Hong Kong Miniature Arts Society and Queen's College Old Boys' Association.

The Development Bureau has also set up a new webpage on heritage conservation ( to enhance dissemination of heritage conservation information and to promote exchanges of views.

"We hope that through this campaign, the public will have a deeper understanding of the importance of heritage conservation, be inspired to contribute their views and ideas, and share our vision for heritage conservation," Mrs Lam said.

At today's launching ceremony, the Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Dr Richard Engelhardt, presented the 2007 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards Jury Commendation for Innovation to the Architectural Services Department for its innovative conservation and adaptation work for the former Whitfield Barracks, now the Heritage Discovery Centre.   The barracks, built in 1910, has been successfully transformed with the addition of a new building structure and re-used as a multi-purpose cultural exhibition and education centre after careful and prudent conservation work.

Also officiating at today's ceremony are Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, Mr Edward Ho, and Chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority Board, Mr Barry Cheung.

A major focus of the public awareness campaign is a heritage conservation exhibition at the Heritage Discovery Centre from today to March.  The exhibition features various heritage conservation measures and works and introduces successful examples of revitalised historic buildings.  Models of beautiful historic buildings will be on display.  Bookmarks featuring four such buildings will also be distributed as souvenirs.  People can get details of the activities from the webpage on heritage conservation (

Ends/Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:18

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