The Urban Renewal Committee has reached general consensus on the amendment of ownership percentage and compensation, said Ip Sio Kai yesterday, co-ordinator of the third taskforce of the Committee after the seventh plenary meeting of this year.
Four levels suggested by the Committee for the amended system: edifices built less than 30 years ago will need 100 per cent approval from owners to rebuild; 90 per cent for 30 to 40 year-old buildings; and just 85 per cent of approval for buildings 40 years or older as well as those experiencing issues related to the environment or hygiene that might impact the surrounding neighbourhood.
“During the meeting members were more concerned about the benefits of parties involved,” recalled Ip, saying that the meeting suggested two approaches of compensations, namely cash compensation and a flat-for-flat scheme.
The co-ordinator said that the cash compensation must be able to reimburse the loss suffered by involved parties and ensure fairness.
“The amount [of compensation] should not be lower than the market price,” said Ip. “We need to undertake further studies to determine the amount.”
For the flat-for-flat scheme, Ip admitted that it would be difficult to operate, given that flats are of different sizes. But Ip said most committee members agreed that the scheme would ensure the benefits of flat owners, with affected owners able to opt for a similar sized flat within the same building in compensation.
“Our next mission is to think of the technical details of operating the scheme,” said Ip.

Helping hand
Paul Tse See Fan, co-ordinator of the first taskforce of the committee said members agreed to optimise the plan of temporary accommodations for affected residents involved in the rebuilding process of old buildings.
Tse said residents could choose either to stay in temporary housing built by the government or obtain cash compensation to rent another place during the renovation period.
The co-ordinator of the first taskforce said that the committee had only discussed the frame of the compensation scheme, while adding that it is more appropriate to determine the amount offered once more details are determined.
“The government’s wholly owned company will work on determining the price,” said Tse.
In addition, the committee agreed to cut the payment of property tax for owners.
“This [reduction of tax] would be applicable to both residential and industrial buildings,” said Tse, while noting that the government expressed the hope of progressing change in the usage of industrial buildings, indicating that many are no longer used for industrial purposes.
“Some of these industrial buildings are in fact not suitable for industrial purpose,” said Tse.
Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo Arrais do Rosário, on the other hand, said a proposal on the suggestions made by the committee will be composed by the Secretary’s department in the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) and forwarded to the Chief Executive (CE).
“When the CE approves the proposal we will then start legislative procedures,” concluded the Secretary.