Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng said on Monday that next month’s meeting of the Cultural Heritage Council to discuss the cultural heritage evaluation process for Coloane’s Lai Chi Vun Village and its shipyards will be open to members of the public and the media.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) announced on Tuesday that it will soon initiate a cultural heritage evaluation of the village and its shipyards.
The announcement came one week after an ad-hoc concern group for the preservation of the village and shipyards petitioned the bureau to initiate the evaluation process. The ad-hoc group had collected 670 signatures for the petition in a campaign which was launched late last month.
According to the Cultural Heritage Protection Law which came into force in March 2014, the Cultural Affairs Bureau, other government entities, as well as the owner or owners of the respective property. Individuals can also suggest the cultural heritage evaluation of an immovable property, according to the law.
The cultural heritage evaluation of a property has to be finished within a year after the process gets off the ground, according to the law. The law also states that during the cultural heritage evaluation process, the government has to consult the Cultural Heritage Council, as well as carry out a month-long public consultation process.
Speaking to reporters, Tam said that while the Cultural Heritage Protection Law states that the cultural heritage evaluation process must be finished within a year, he would request the bureau finish the evaluation of the village and the shipyards in a shorter period of time.
Tam said the government was already preparing next month’s meeting of the council to discuss the cultural heritage evaluation process for the village and its shipyards, adding that the media will be invited to attend.
The Marine and Water Bureau (DSAMA) announced in late January that 11 dilapidated shipyards in the village were earmarked for demolition starting this month. The bureau at that time also said that the demolition of two shipyards, the tumbledown conditions of which it said were worse than the others, would begin this month, to be followed by the other nine. The bureau demolished the two badly dilapidated shipyards on March 8.
Including the two shipyards knocked down already, there were 17 shipyards in the village.
When asked by the media whether the Marine and Water Bureau would be requested to reinforce the other nine shipyards, Tam said that the government’s public works entities were required to reinforce the shipyards if they are considered by officials to be in a dangerous condition.
Meanwhile, lawmaker-cum-unionist Kwan Tsui Hang on Wednesday criticised the Cultural Affairs Bureau for having failed to take the initiative for the heritage protection of the village and its shipyards, adding that the bureau only decided to initiate the evaluation process after being pushed by citizens. Kwan also urged the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) and the Cultural Affairs Bureau to stay in close touch about the redevelopment of the village.