創新管理私營龕場 可考慮建「先人島」

July 6, 2017

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立法會(Legislative Council)5月25日三讀通過《私營骨灰安置所條例》,於今年6月30日刊憲生效(upon gazettal)。

立法(legislation)規管私營骨灰龕場理所當然,但面對公營龕場「一位難求」,若大量私營龕場不獲發牌,勢必造成骨灰無處安放、龕位價格(niche prices)飆升的難題,當局宜妥善處理,適當延長無牌龕場的經營期限,以免龕位短期內大幅減少。

僅五分一合規 約八萬須另置

近年本港私營骨灰龕場開到「成行成市」,但私營骨灰龕場無法例規管,良莠不齊,存在諸多管理問題(poorly managed),通過《私營骨灰安置所條例》,有利規範行業經營、保障市民利益(interest)。

值得注意的是,《私營骨灰安置所條例》生效,大量私營龕場不能繼續經營(shut down),如何安置(rehousing)存放的骨灰是一大難題。

現時全港有153間私營龕場,當中只有30間同時符合地契條款(user restrictions in the land leases)和規劃用途(statutory town planning requirements),有較大機會獲得發牌,其餘均未能符合政府要求,甚或涉及不同程度的違規行為。

政府預計,發牌制度實施後,將有8萬個私營龕位因未能取得牌照而要另謀安置之處,業界更估計有多達二三十萬個龕位受到影響,如何妥善過渡不容小覷。

事實上,7年前政府已提出「區區有龕位」的概念,承諾增建90萬個公營骨灰龕位。2010年至2011年期間,食衛局(Food and Health Bureau)先後公佈全港18區物色到24幅土地(potential sites)以發展骨灰龕場。

考驗政府變通決斷力

奈何政府在落實興建骨灰龕場時遇上巨大地區阻力(heavy resistance),以致至今(to date)落成的公營龕場只有兩個,龕位總共只得2,540個,佔整體目標不足0.3%,對解決龕位不足是杯水車薪(a tiny drop in the bucket)。

先人骨灰需要龕位安放是市民所願,可惜各區市民都不想龕場建在居所附近(in their backyard),如何平衡兩者的矛盾(contradictory needs),考驗政府的溝通(communication)、協調能力(coordination capabilities),同時考驗施政的果斷(resolve)、創新(innovation)和執行力。

其實,社會各界提出不少變通的辦法,例如有政黨建議利用生態價值較低的島嶼(outlying islands of lower ecological value)發展「先人島」,在這些「先人島」興建龕場阻力較小,可迅速解決(short-term expedient)龕位供不應求的問題。

有關建議值得當局認真思考、積極研究,不要聽聽就算(explore the possibilities of implementation)。 (標題及小標題為編輯所加) (摘錄自香港文匯報社評26-5-2017)

Regulate private columbaria with innovation

【譯文】Passed by the Legislative Council on May 25, the Private Columbaria Ordinance will come into effect on June 30 upon gazettal.

Although it is justified to regulate private columbaria through legislation, at a time when public lots are scarce, niche prices are set to skyrocket and thousands of urns of the deceased to be displaced if the existing private ones fail to secure licenses.

The authorities should be discreet and consider extending the grace period for unlicensed private columbaria, so as to avoid drastic drop in supply within a short time.

Only one-fifth comply with laws

In recent years, the private columbarium industry has boomed in the absence of government regulations. These privately-run homes to the dead are often poorly managed, with no guarantee of good standard and service. Enacting the Private Columbaria Ordinance could protect the interest of citizens by regulating the industry.

As a large number of private columbaria might be forced to shut down when the Ordinance is in place, the rehousing of stored ashes has become a big challenge. Of the 153 existing premises, only 30 are compliant with both user restrictions in the land leases and statutory town planning requirements, thus having a higher chance for obtaining a license.

The rest either fail to meet government demands, or are currently involved with various degrees of offenses.

According to the government, up to 80,000 niches could be displaced due to licensing matters, while the columbarium industry estimates that the figure could be as high as 300,000. For this reason, transitional issues must be properly addressed.

Government resolve tested

In retrospect, the government had proposed to have columbaria in every area seven years ago, vowing to build 900,000 public niches. Between 2010 to 2011, the Food and Health Bureau had announced 24 potential sites in the 18 areas but to no avail, as the plan was met with heavy resistance from local communities. Only two public columbaria with 2,540 niches are built to date. This number is barely 0.3 per cent, a tiny drop in the bucket to the original plan.

Everyone wishes to seek a final resting place for their loved ones, yet nobody wants to have it in their backyard. Striking a balance between the many contradictory needs would be a difficult task for the government, where its resolve, innovativeness, communication and coordination capabilities would be put to the test.

In fact, different sectors of the community has already offered their ideas to overcome the problem.

For example, a political party has proposed to convert outlying islands of lower ecological value into large columbaria. There should be less resistance as these islands are usually barely inhabited, thus the plan could prove to be a short-term expedient to the shortage of niches.

The government should really take these solid ideas into consideration, and actively explore the possibilities of implementation. 

 

來源: 文匯報

 

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