Date
16 December 2017
New documents related to an MTR rail link land survey raise questions about how many ancient wells are at a planned station site. Photo: Xinhua
New documents related to an MTR rail link land survey raise questions about how many ancient wells are at a planned station site. Photo: Xinhua

Well, well, well? MTR in hole again over rail link survey

Confusion reigns over the state of two more “wells” along the path of MTR Corp.’s planned Shatin-Central Rail Link.

An archaeological survey of the line was due to finish in December but had to be extended to the third quarter after an ancient Song dynasty well was uncovered at the construction site of the To Kwa Wan station.

Now the latest drawings submitted by the MTR to the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) identify three ancient wells in the area, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.

The MTR and the AMO said the two other spots are simply hollows, not wells, and further analysis is needed to determine their purpose. 

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of the independent public policy think tank The Professional Commons, said the MTR, the AMO and Development Secretary Paul Chan had not only released information in a disorganized way, they may also have withheld some from the public.

Lai also said the MTR has failed to convince the public that it is committed to conservation and seems to be rushing the archaeological survey to resume construction.

There was also criticism from other quarters.

According to the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Hong Kong Archaeological Society spokesman Stanley Ng Wing-fai said an unnamed archaeologist wrote to the society to point out various errors and gaps in the archaeological survey reports submitted by the MTR.

For example, one-third of the surveyed area was land reclaimed since 1920 and so did not need to be assessed. Ng estimated the MTR wasted HK$10 million on such unnecessary assessments, the report said.

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