30years


Update on the
 New Horizons Building

On 15 and 22 November, the Town Planning Board (TPB) has held two meetings to consider all representations and comments made to the Outline Zoning Plan no. S/K13/29 – the development plan where the New Horizons Building (NHB), Christian Action’s (CA) headquarters and main service centre, is subject to demolition.

CA is thankful for the ongoing support from members of the community towards the issue of NHB. At the two meetings, our supporters, service users, staff, and community members shared positive testimonials about our work, as well as the cost and hardship NHB’s demolition and CA’s relocation would cause to the community. Legislative councillors, district councillors, and district community leaders also spoke out in support of CA, delivering their points with passion and conviction about the importance of our welfare services at NHB for the districts we serve.

Recently, the Labour and Welfare Bureau has offered CA a to-be-vacant school site in Choi Wan Estate as an option for relocation. While this fit our first and foremost criteria – to be able to continue serving the Kowloon East community in the same district – the terms and conditions are deemed challenging for our organisation.

To clarify, CA is not opposed to building public housing or a secondary school. While we fully recognise the needs for public housing, we urge the Government to consider social service needs of the district an equally important aspect to social welfare. Our wish remains to stay at NHB to serve the community in Kowloon East, particularly those living in the districts of Kwun Tong, Wong Tai Sin, and Kowloon City. At NHB, CA is able to provide services for the residents from 6 estates, including Richland Gardens, Ping Shek, Kai Yip, Kai Ching, Tak Long and Choi Hung Estates, with an estimated population of over 60,000 with the to-be-developed housing blocks. In contrast, the site offered in Choi Wan Estate is at a location which covers only 2 nearby housing estates with a population of approximately 22,800, primarily consisting of old-aged residents. Apart from the inferior terms presented with the new site, CA would be limited to serve only 2 housing estates in Choi Wan Estate; moreover, the decision to remove CA from NHB would mean taking away essential welfare services from the 6 housing estates (7 after the new development) in our current location. The demolition of NHB and CA’s relocation would therefore cause a tremendous impact to the grassroots communities within the districts we serve, where there has been long-existing social service gap.

Located on a steep hill, CA’s relocation to the proposed site in Choi Wan Estate will not only be inconvenient to our current service users, the extra transportation cost to go uphill would also be a burden to elderly and low-income communities, deterring them from accessing our services. CA would also have to close some vital community services, such as after-school childcare and free meal box programme. Closing the after-school programme would not only affect over 130 children and family members (26% of children being served are students with special educational needs) from Kai Ching and Tak Long – two of the poorest estates in Kowloon City district known to lack family support services – assess to this service will also be shut for 25 children who are currently on the waiting list. Free evening meal services would be discontinued for 100 nearby low-income residents; our second-hand community sales outlet, where 85% of our visitors are from these six estates, would be shut down.

Mark 4 verses 31-32 read: “Again he said, ‘…It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’”

CA’s history and expansion of services at NHB is like a mustard seed growing into a tree. We hope the Government will reconsider its plans to take away this important community hub.

As we wait for TPB’s decision on this development plan, we hope to receive continuous support and prayers from the community on this issue. Thank you. 

Christian Action
6 December 2017

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