A 75-year-old man fell to his knees before a Legislative Council panel Monday, begging the government not to demolish a home for the elderly in a Kwu Tung village to make way for the controversial North East New Territories New Development Areas Project, Headline Daily reported Tuesday.
The man from Shek Tsai Leng village told Legco’s panel on welfare services that he had no children and would be homeless if the center was demolished. An 86-year-old man from the same village accused the government of denying the elderly residents enjoyment in their twilight years by destroying their homes.
Northern Kwu Tung will be turned into a new town under the development project, and is expected to provide 16,000 housing units. But 16 elderly care centers in Shek Tsai Leng, in central Kwu Tung, are already home to about 900 people, most of whom survive on pensions, the report said.
Labor and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung said the government is well aware of the situation but is “between a rock and a hard place”, trying to balance community development and the appeals of the residents.
Cheung has proposed phasing out the centers between 2018 and 2023, while building a new facility near Kwu Tung to accommodate 1,100 residents. The new center could be finished in 2023.
But a spokesman for the Shek Tsai Leng residents said there will not be enough housing for the elderly when the first round of demolition starts in 2018. He accused Cheung of treating the elderly as goods to be passed around, the report said.
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