Secretary for Development, Director of Civil Engineering and Development, Central and Western District Council,
We strongly request Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to conduct a soil testing at Cadogan Street Temporary Garden (CSTG) to ascertain the need for the proposed decontamination due to the following reasons.
Decision that CSTG still needs decontamination is based on very outdated data without proof of validity
Recently CEDD has proposed to include CSTG in the scope of the Kennedy Town decontamination project, covering the site of the former incineration plant and abattoir, and their adjoining areas. Based on the data of contaminants collected in 2000, with 21 years of history, CEDD claims CSTG has to be decontaminated. It is not acceptable that CEDD justifies the need for decontamination work with out-dated data. The concentration and composition of contaminants in soil should have changed over time as a result of different natural chemical processes including phytoremediation, half-life of the contaminants, and natural wash-off by rainwater . In spite of the soil contamination, the trees and other plants in CSTG are thriving. CEDD and Environmental Protection Department also told the residents that CSTG is safe to use as a park for the past 22 years. The decontamination project is avoidable if the soil is found to contain a low, harmless level of contaminants. Thus a soil testing is necessary to assess the need for the decontamination project.
Avoidance to cause unnecessary damages to CSTG and its trees
CEDD claimed that they have considered preserving the trees at CSTG despite their decontamination work . However, if CEDD cannot guarantee the soil under the area of tree canopy (tree dripline) and the root distribution network are excluded from decontamination to ensure no damage to the existing trees above- and under-ground, decontamination work can unnecessarily cause irreversible physical damage to the tree root network, threatening the survival of the existing trees unnecessarily. It is worrying that the trees in CSTG may not survive through the operation, damaging the landscape of CSTG.
Avoidance of disturbance to residents
CSTG has been serving the community in Kennedy Town for 22 years. To many residents of Kennedy Town, it is an inseparable part of the community, not to mention it is the only quality, convenient, and well-located green park in Kennedy Town. In 2015, the outline zoning plan of Kennedy Town & Mount Davis proposed to demolish CSTG for developing private residential buildings . Over 5000 representations were submitted to the Town Planning Board (TPB) by the concerned residents to request the retention of CSTG. Due to the lack of public open space in Kennedy Town and the importance of CSTG to the local community, TPB acknowledged the importance of CSTG and thus decided to retain the park as Open Space for public park use. If CEDD goes ahead with this decontamination, residents’ access and use of this important green space will be interrupted unnecessarily, while causing potential health hazard to residents due to potential complications arising during decontamination.
The local community is very concerned about the negative impacts of the decontamination project on CSTG due to the aforementioned reasons. We hereby reiterate that the decontamination based on out-dated data is a mal-administration and should not take place. We strongly request CEDD to conduct a soil testing to ascertain the need for decontamination work at CSTG, with the aims of avoiding damages to CSTG and its trees, disruption of use/access to CSTG by the residents, causing potential health hazard to residents, and the misuse of public money. The decontamination project at CSTG should be withdrawn if the recent level of contaminants does not exceed the threshold for decontamination as a public park.
 Rationales for no decontamination need at CSTG put-forth by decontamination expert and scholar, Dr. Chiu Siu Wai
 Document No. 17/2021. The Food, Environmental Hygiene and Public Works Committee of Central and Western District Council. Monitoring of the ground decontamination works at the site of ex-Kennedy Town incineration plant/abattoir and adjoining area – CEDD (Chinese version only)
 Town Planning Board Plan-making S/H1/20 Kennedy Town & Mount Davis