THE government is willing to fork out money to help property owners replace old lifts, Chief Executive (行政長官) Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥) says.
During a Legislative Council (立法會) question-and-answer session, Lam acknowledged the administration is concerned about lift safety, as the recent spate of accidents involving lifts is alarming.
She said the government is ready to introduce policies to improve the situation, including offering fi nancial assistance.
Pro-establishment lawmakers Edward Lau Kwok-fan (劉國勳) and Gary Chan Hak-kan (陳克勤) proposed establishing a HK$2 billion fund to subsidise property owners in replacing old lifts.
Should the subsidy scheme go ahead, Chan agreed to draw a line in regards to imposing the mandatory replacement or maintenance for lifts that exceed a certain age.
According to a report by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (機電工程署) submitted to Legco, 80 percent of the 66,000 lifts in Hong Kong fail to adhere to the latest safety standards.
While lift repairs are voluntary, the report revealed that only 5,200 lifts have been upgraded since 2011.
Kowloon West New Dynamic (西九新動力), a community group, interviewed 247 residents in the district, and found that more than 90 percent of respondents support replacing the old lifts in their buildings if the government subsidises the exercise.
More than half of the respondents reported that lifts in their buildings had malfunctioned or undergone maintenance this year, while 70 percent acknowledged the need to replace the lifts.
Lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun (梁美芬), of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (香港經濟民生聯盟), concurred that a subsidy fund should be launched, saying many owner corporations cannot afford to pay at least HK$800,000 to replace one old lift.
Federation of Trade Unions (香港工會聯合會) lawmaker Jonathan Ho Kai-ming (何啟明) also voiced his support for the replacement fund.
He added the government should ask property owners to submit documents to prove they have fulfi lled their responsibilities in doing regular check-ups.
Meanwhile, the Lift and Escalator Safety Advisory Committee (升降機及自動梯安全諮詢委員會) earlier discussed whether the government should impose mandatory maintenance or replacement on old lifts that have been used for a certain number of years.
The committee’s chairman, Otto Poon Lokto (潘樂陶), said lifts that have been in service for some 40 or 50 years are highly likely to face mandatory replacement, but he noted the committee has yet to reach a decision.
The government is also considering providing financial aid to modernise lifts through various other means.
(This article is published on Student Standard on 1 June 2018)