Lawmakers from the Business and Professionals Alliance (BPA) have called on the government and the Urban Renewal Authority to speed up the redevelopment of old districts, saying one in every five buildings in the city are now over 50 years old.
The legislators said the number of aging buildings that are over half a century old have reached 8,700 in 2020, more than double the figure in 2010.
They said many of these structures pose substantial safety risks, as they are "three-nil" buildings without proper maintenance or management.
"They have become the time bombs in the city," the lawmakers said, adding that the government should seek to redevelop around 150 old buildings each year.
Lo Wai-kwok said there should be dedicated funding for the Urban Renewal Authority to conduct redevelopment projects, while his colleague Jeffrey Lam called for measures to attract developers to take part in “public-private partnership” redevelopment projects.
Louis Loong, meanwhile, urged the authorities to expand the labour importation scheme to allow non-local construction workers to be brought in for private projects.
“The private sector is equally in short supply of labour. If you are limiting arbitrarily the importation of labour [to] public projects… you are actually putting safety at risk,” he said.