Gov’t criticized over ‘cheap wells’ option

Gov’t criticized over ‘cheap wells’ option

Preserving three ancient wells at the To Kwa Wan station of the MTR’s Sha Tin to Central link will cost a staggering HK$5.4 billion

The government has been accused of making a pre-emptive decision on how to preserve relics found at a construction site in To Kwa Wan — one of the future MTR stations on the Shatin-Central link.

Last week, the government announced four proposals ranging from HK$10 million to HK$1.3 billion to preserve the relics, including a well, that date back as much as 1,000 years to the Song and Yuan Dynasties.

But in an interview over the weekend, Development Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po hinted he intended to opt for the cheapest method, saying that

“people need to consider how much it’s worth paying to preserve an ancient well at the site of the future To Kwa Wan MTR station as it could be removed and reconstructed elsewhere for a lot less money”

He went on to add that the well, from either the Song or Yuan dynasties, has a lower heritage value and could be moved rather than spending HK$1.3 billion preserving it where it is.

An archaeologist working on the project has estimated that reassembling the well elsewhere would cost just HK$10 million.

On Monday officials at a legislative Council’s railways subcommittee meeting insisted the government remain impartial on the matter but hoped for a decision within weeks.

Bill Tang a pro-Beijing unionist lawmaker was angered by the government’s explanation for the delays to other sections of the project not including the 11-month deferral related to the wells.

Government papers showed that four other sections of the Shatin-Central link have delays of up to five months, just two years since the start of construction.

The MTR Corporation which is responsible for building the link, said that workers had come across difficulties with the soil near Lion Rock.

 

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