Kerry Logistics Network (00636.HK) hopes its columbarium project in Chai Wan will get the green light from authorities as the plan has been fine-tuned in response to concerns from some local residents.
“We hope lawmakers who oppose our plan will look into its details. They should not be over-worried about the traffic arrangement in the district,” said Francis Neoton Cheung, a consultant for the Kerry project.
Under a modified proposal, the columbarium will have lower density of funeral urn storage places and an improved traffic arrangement plan, Cheung told EJ Insight.
“Usually there are 1.5 niches in every square foot in a columbarium on average. We have adopted a low-density approach that there will be only 0.2 niches in every square foot of our columbarium,” he said.
Kerry Logistics unveiled plans last year to redevelop a 15-storey warehouse in Chai Wan into a columbarium.
The proposed Island Memorial Centre (IMC), which will be established by a group entity Kerry Warehouse, would provide 120,000 columbarium niches, according to the plan.
The project faced opposition from some groups, including the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, who said it would cause traffic jams in the area during the Ching Ming or Tomb-Sweeping festival.
Amid a fierce debate over the pros and cons of the project, the Town Planning Board has delayed a decision. Meanwhile, Kerry also sought to modify its original plan.
In September, the company withdrew its original proposal and fine-tuned the plan before re-submitting it to the town planning authorities on Nov. 23.
The Town Planning Board is now scheduled to discuss the matter on Feb. 19.
Under the revised plan, there will only be 82,000 niches in the columbarium.
Users can take a 20-minute walk to the facility from Chai Wan MTR station or take free shuttle buses from Heng Fa Chuen and Quarry Bay.
On Dec. 28, Wong Kwok-hing, a trade union lawmaker and a District Council member for Siu Sai Wan, told reporters that Kerry’s so-called fine-tuned plan does not really resolve the transportation problem.
The project will not be good for local residents as they will suffer from severe traffic congestion in the district, he said, adding that the facility also won’t benefit locals as it will be too expensive.
He urged Kerry Logistics to withdraw its application.
Countering the charges, the project’s consultant Cheung has stressed that prices of the columbarium niches will be set within an affordable range, depending on the land premium.
He, however, declined to give an estimate for the sale prices.
According to online data, the cost of a private columbarium niche in Hong Kong ranges from HK$20,000 to HK$200,000, depending on the location and the environment.
Kerry Logistics proposes columbarium for digital age (March 30, 2015)
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