URA’s response to media enquiries concerning Staunton Street/Wing Lee Street Project
In response to media enquiries concerning the Staunton Street/Wing Lee Street Project (H19), a spokesman for the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) said today (Wednesday):
The URA currently has not commenced any demolition works within the Staunton Street/Wing Lee Street project area. With regard to the arrangement of the buildings at Nos. 4 – 10 Wa In Fong West within the project area, the URA has also not made any decision yet.
In view of the suggestions raised earlier by the local community, including the Central and Western District Council (CWDC), the URA is studying and adopting the following measures on the implementation of the H19 project. They include:
1. Precautionary measures
- In response to the concerns raised by CWDC in 2015 and 2016 about the safety condition of the buildings within the project area and its request to the URA to promptly handle the buildings which had structural safety issues within the site, the URA had demolished some of the buildings that were wholly-owned by the URA and in poor condition within Site B of the project in August 2016 to ensure public safety.
- At present, the buildings at Nos. 4 – 10 Wa In Fong West of the H19 project are of varying degrees of dilapidation, including both of their indoor and outdoor areas. There are also unauthorised structures in the buildings and cracks on external walls.
- In the event that the deterioration of these buildings exacerbated to a state that affects the structure and poses danger to public safety, demolition will then be necessary and the URA, as the property owner, will have the responsibility to handle it immediately. As such, the URA has taken precautionary measures, including appointing a consultant to inspect the structural condition of the buildings, assess the presence of asbestos-containing materials in the buildings, devise a demolition method with corresponding measures and recommend respective applications to the relevant Government departments for the necessary approvals. Should there be any change of the condition and structure of the buildings which threatens public safety, these measures will allow the URA to respond with prompt actions.
2. Study on possible preservation options
- On the other hand, CWDC passed an amended motion on 16 March 2017 urging the URA to give up the H19 project which will allow the complete preservation of the distinctive architectural complex by the current property owners. In this regard, the URA has been carrying out repair works on its acquired units within the project area on a regular basis and is planning to make the units available for community housing uses.
- In addition to the buildings at Nos. 60 – 62 and Nos. 88 – 90 Staunton Street, the URA is reviewing the buildings at Nos. 4 – 10 Wa In Fong West and assessing the structural stability and serviceability of the units, covering the water and electricity supply, and drainage and sewage systems. The URA will decide whether these units should be renovated after having a good grasp of the actual situation and exploring the feasibility.
In view of public safety and before the URA makes any decision, the building surveying consultant commissioned by the URA will continue carrying out inspection and risk assessments on the buildings and units acquired by the URA within the project area regularly. Contractors will also be hired to carry out appropriate works in a timely manner to ensure public safety.