The Concern Group for Protecting Kennedy Town submitted a petition to Secretary for Development Chan Mo-po on Tuesday objecting to the demolition of Cadogan Street Temporary Garden in Kennedy Town, a move which the group said was pushed through without proper consultation or review.

The petition, which has been signed by more than 1,100 people, aimed to initiate a discussion with Paul Chan about development plans in the area. The park was incorporated into the Kennedy Town development plan last year and is scheduled to be demolished in early 2016 to make way for the construction of private residences.

cadogan street temp garden
Cadogan Street Temporary Garden. Photo: Google Maps.

The development project also include plans to revitalise landmarks in the area such as the China Merchants Wharf Pier, PMQ, building residences near Cadogan Street. The Sai Wan Promenade is to be re-purposed for commercial and recreational use. The government will submit the amended proposal to the planning committee for discussion and, if passed, a two month public consultation will follow.

sai wan pier
China Merchants Wharf Pier, a popular photo spot. Photo: HKFP.

The Concern Group, which was set up by local residents, said the plans violate rules of procedural propriety, as the government was trying to push forward the demolition of the park in January 2016 despite calls by the District Council to extend consultation. The group said that the plans were not well thought out, as they did not take into account the overpopulation problems that would be caused by Kennedy Town’s lack of social facilities such as clinics, schools or elderly care homes. The group also said that they might lodge a judicial review if the government went ahead with the plans.

kennedy town
Kennedy Town. Photo: Wikicommons.

“We want new and existing residents to have sufficient community facilities, more green amenities, green parks, community halls, etc, to ensure [that] people living in Kennedy Town are better off in the future, not worse off. Basically when we looked at another proposal from the Planning Department earlier this year, they actually planned to build many new residential buildings in our area. We don’t oppose that… we just want a fair and well-planned development, and the Cadogan Park is really the only large size green park in our area,” Ben Mok, a spokesperson for the group, told RTHK.

Fely Choy, who has lived in Kennedy Town for over 25 years, told InMedia that she comes to the park almost every day and she likes its quiet environment. She also said that the park suited the needs of elderly people in the neighbourhood and hopes that the government can strike a balance between conservation and development.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.