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URA's rehabilitation/ revitalisation initiatives create job opportunities

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) announced today (Monday) that works with aggregated cost of around $250 million will commence for its building rehabilitation scheme and 10 community revitalisation/improvement projects during the period to 31 March 2010 with an aim to help create job opportunities. 

At a media briefing to announce details of the decisions of the URA Board, the Chairman of the URA, Mr Barry Cheung, said: "For the works, $64 million will go to the materials incentive scheme of the building rehabilitation programme, comparing to the annual budget of around $25 million in the past years.  Another $180 million will be allocated to 10 revitalisation projects in Tsuen Wan, Tai Kok Tsui, Sham Shui Po, Central & Western and Wan Chai.  Taken together, the rehabilitation and revitalisation initiatives of $250 million will be able to create about 500 job opportunities. "

For building rehabilitation, it is estimated that 160 buildings will benefit from such works.  In the past four years, owners of some 500 residential buildings involving 40,000 units have renovated their homes under the URA building rehabilitation schemes.

"We have agreed in principle to raise our subsidy to owners of some eligible buildings joining our materials incentive scheme. Currently, each eligible building is given rehabilitation materials of value not exceeding 20 per cent of the total cost of the works or HK$3,000 per unit, whichever is the lower.  Details are being worked out and will be made known once available," he added.

"In the absence of owners' corporations, we have experienced utmost difficulties in assisting the building owners to rehabilitate their buildings. As a result, we have decided to introduce some pilot measures such as setting up special teams to help owners of buildings who need assistance in forming owners' corporations. We will work with government departments concerned with a view to promoting and setting up owners' corporations in a more effective manner. On revitalisation, we have identified 10 projects where community beautification works can be undertaken so as to help boost local economic activities," said Mr Cheung.