Friday, 6 November 2015

Eco landmark opens in Tai Po

Chief Executive CY Leung

It's a pleasure to be here for the opening ceremony of the Green Hub for Sustainable Living.


This is, by the way, the fourth event regarding environmental protection I have attended since last week. The previous three were about eco-products, green building and reduction of food waste. Together with the opening of the Green Hub for Sustainable Living today, this series of events no doubt underlines the growing importance and awareness of environmental protection and green living in Hong Kong.


This is also the third revitalisation project opening I've attended in the past two years, following PMQ last year and the YHA Mei Ho House Youth Hostel late in 2013. And both of those, I'm very pleased to note, went on to win awards from the Hong Kong Institute of Architects.


Equally important, they have proven highly popular among the public.


The remarkable success of these revitalisation projects is certainly attributable to the dedication and hard work of the non-profit community organisations working tirelessly under the Government's Revitalisation Scheme.


Launched in 2008, the scheme was created to conserve and revitalise vacant historic buildings owned by the Government, buildings with limited commercial viability. Through an open, competitive process, non-profit organisations are chosen to put these historic buildings into innovative use as social enterprises.


To date, the Government has launched four batches under the Revitalisation Scheme. The Green Hub for Sustainable Living, a revitalisation of the old Tai Po Police Station, is one of three projects under Batch II.


I should add that the six historic buildings under the Revitalisation Scheme's initial group have also won numerous international and local awards.


That grouping includes a former law court, now the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong, as well as a Tai O police station transformed into an in-demand boutique heritage hotel. Both redevelopments received recognition from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.


And, earlier this year, Lui Seng Chun was voted one of the "My 10 Most Liked Hong Kong Architecture of the Century", a competition organised by the Hong Kong Architecture Centre.


But there's something bigger than the awards. These historic sites and buildings used to be an integral part of the neighbourhood. They are our shared heritage. So it's important that the revitalised projects would be re-integrated with the community, and be part of the neighbourhood again.


I am glad that they have done so. Beautifully renovated, they are all now providing useful and meaningful services to the public. In my eyes, they have been truly revitalised, as they can now serve the community again while preserving their original flair. To put it philosophically, they have come back to "life".


As for the Green Hub for Sustainable Living, the revitalised building will serve as a centre for developing affordable, and meaningful, strategies for ecologically responsible living. Among other things, a heritage exhibition and heritage trail will be created. I'm confident that it will rise as an ecological landmark for Hong Kong, taking advantage of the building's historic and architectural value. And I am particularly pleased that the rich cultural and ecological resources in Tai Po, including the heritage trees and egret habitat, have been used for a good and meaningful cause.


My thanks to the Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden Corporation for taking on this promising environmental project.


I'm sure that the Green Hub for Sustainable Living will take its place as a cherished and much used resource centre. And I'm looking forward to more revitalisation projects coming on stream, bringing the historic sites and buildings back to life, and more importantly, bringing them back to the neighbourhood and to the community.


Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of the Green Hub for Sustainable Living in Tai Po on November 6.

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