By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Legislative Assembly is going to launch a public construction on the draft law of the old neighbourhood renewal legal system which will run until the end of June.
The Second Standing Committee of the legislature began discussing the bill yesterday where opinions from legal advisors were heard.
President of the committee Chan Chak Mo told reporters after the meeting that due to the “significance [of the law] and the prerequisite to protect local people’s rights to own, buy and sell property”, a consultation which is open to all members of the public will be launched on the legislature’s homepage today until June 30.
Since the draft law has proposed an arbitration mechanism, Chan said the Lawyers Association will also be consulted separately.
Meanwhile, he said the standing committee has expressed concerns about the formation of the arbitration committee and how “fairness, impartiality and transparency” can be ensured.
Under the old system it was the court that would appoint members of the committee, but now the draft law has proposed that the panel of arbitrators should be composed by representatives of the related building owners, tenants, developers involved in the reconstruction and the Government.
Lawmaker Vong Hin Fai, who was a member of the Advisory Committee for Old Neighbourhood Renewal, pointed out that the committee was mostly concerned about the compensation mechanism and the protection of private property rights.
Nevertheless, Chan Chak Mo said he expected that it will be a “long deliberation process” and at least five to six more meetings the standing committee needs to be held before Government representatives will be invited to exchange ideas with the lawmakers.
He added that there is no timetable concerning when the discussion would complete.
In February, chief of the Office for the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Wong Chan Tong, described the draft law as “one of the few most complicated laws” since the establishment of the SAR, taking five years from 2006 to 2010 and involving 148 meetings to come up with the proposal.
The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau said earlier that it planned to launch the first ever old neighbourhood reconstruction project in the fourth quarter of this year on the land parcel in Iao Hon where social housing Shun Lei Building was previously located.
Four hundred ‘public housing-style’ units are expected to be built on the land to become a ‘transit point for temporary resettlement’ when more reconstruction projects will be carried out in other parts of Iao Hon in the future.