Lawmaker Tony Tse on Tuesday said he's impressed by his first look at a mock-up of the government's new light public housing flats and defended the administration's decision to save costs by not providing air conditioning units in the short-term homes.
Officials on Monday unveiled a model version of the new flats at a site in Kai Tak as they confirmed that the 30,000 homes would be put in place at eight locations in the SAR. They also revealed they had saved about HK$950 million on the expected HK$26.4 billion cost of the project, including HK$200 million by not providing air conditioners.
Tse, who represented the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sectors, was among the visitors to the mock-up flat. He told RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme that he found the home quite appealing and believed it would make a big difference to tenants, especially those who now live in subdivided flats.
Asked about the decision to exclude air conditioners, Tse told RTHK's Vicky Wong: "I think, basically, there are two reasons. I believe the first is to cut costs, and secondly, I think at the moment, traditional public rental housing would not include air conditioning.
"Would it set a precedent and, maybe, they would be forced to provide air conditioning units for the traditional public rental housing?"
The light public housing flats are to be built quickly using modular techniques and offered to people who've been on the waiting list for public flats for three years. Officials said on Monday that the flats would be built at sites in Chai Wan, Kai Tak, Ngau Chi Wan, Tuen Mun, Siu Lam, Yuen Long and Sheung Shui.
Tse said he felt the urban sites would be more popular with tenants, though some people living nearby might raise objections, as had happened in Kai Tak.
"I think they [the government] need to provide more information about how the moving of these people would affect their daily lives, including public transport, and the pressure on the community facilities as well," he said.
Tse also said lawmakers would continue to query the cost of the scheme, given that the homes are expected to stay in place for only a few years.
Officials said previously that they hoped to complete the first batch of 1,000 flats as soon as next year.