The cost of building a public toilet and changing room in Sheung Shui has risen by more than 50 percent to HK$9.62 million, in the two years after the first estimates were made.

In 2012, district councillor Simon Wong Yun-keung and Or Sin-yi, both of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, and Wong Wang-to of the Federation of Trade Unions jointly requested a new toilet facility and changing room at Sheung Shui Garden No.1, citing the needs of the public after participating in events at the garden. The cost was estimated at HK$6.24 million in May 2014.

The design of the new Sheung Shui public toilet. Photo: Sheung Shui District Council.

In documents submitted by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the cost is shown to have risen to HK$8.64 million in 2015, and finally to HK$9.62 million in January this year, when the period for tender submissions for construction ended.

The HK$9.62 million cost consists of a HK$7.8 million construction fee, HK$1.67 million in consultation fees and HK$150,000 for tree transplantation. The construction work will start this month and is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Material and labour cost increase

The new toilet and changing room would be more expensive than another one built recently in Sheung Shui if scaled by ratio.

A toilet and changing room at Luen Wo Hui Playground of 77 square metres in size was completed in December 2015, costing HK$4.97 million.

The Sheung Shui Garden No.1 toilet, at 104 square metres, is 35 percent bigger than one at Luen Wo Hui Playground one – but 50 percent more expensive per square metre.

District councilor Wong Wang-to, who originally put forward the request for the toilet, told HKFP that the increase in cost was likely related to a rise in materials and labour costs, after seeking the latest quote.

“It was the Leisure and Cultural Services Department who quoted prices through consulting agencies,” Wong said. “It’s not the district councillors who quoted the prices.”

Wong said that the garden does not have its own sewerage system, and that building a new one would also increase the cost.

He added that the design of the toilet was simple: “It is not like some toilets in foreign countries that are branded with gold and silver.”


Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.