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346 social flats available in Q3

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image The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau and the Housing Bureau, explains to the press the progress of the public housing buildings at Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira

Three hundred and forty six new social flats will be available in the third quarter this year for low-income families, but the government is yet to decide the ratio between social and economical houses for the 19,000 units promised by the government. The public housing project is due to be completed this year.
Tam Kuong Man, President of Housing Bureau (IHM) told the media yesterday that the public housing project in Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira would be completed on schedule in the third quarter, despite a fatal industrial accident having taken place in the construction site, causing a partial closure of some areas and the suspension of relevant works.
He said the 32-storey building would be named Mong Ha Social House - the 346 units to be ‘social houses’ in line with the government’s housing policy that has drawn focus to ‘more affordable social houses’ as the principal rental-accommodation medium for people who cannot afford to buy their own houses. The ‘economical houses’ are to play a supplementary role by providing flats at cheaper market prices for the less well-off home buyers.
The government promised to build 19,000 public housing units that include both social and economic houses by 2012 and the Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io promised to give a ratio between social and economical houses by April, but Tam Kuong Man said yesterday that the information would not be available until May due to the authority needing more time to collect additional sales data from the current economical housing estates, including the Alameda da Tranquilidade and Edifício do Lago. The delay is justified as a measure taken to more effectively decide the proportion of social to economical houses in a more precise and accurate manner.
But according to Tam, the current number of social housing applicants stands at 7,200, whilst for economical housing the attendees stand at around 7,000. As for the public housing beyond the 19,000 target, around 3,800 units are already being planned. Lau said earlier this week that the tender for these projects would start soon. Tam said the possible locations under review for the new houses included Ilha Verde and the Taipa area.
Although Lau said he was confident that the 19,000 units would be enough for the current housing-demands of the local population, many lawmakers called for the construction of even more housing to pre-emptively address the rising demands and help curb property speculation. The Housing Bureau (IH) has already begun allocating 880 units at Alameda da Tranquilidade, followed by some 2,700 units at the TN27 project in Taipa. In addition, authorities will be ready to start selling affordable units at Seac Pai Van in the second half of this year. The Coloane complex will be the biggest public housing project in Macau with a total of 8,500 units.

Houses built to standards

The Housing Bureau and the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) co-organised a media tour yesterday of the Mong Ha Social House project in Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira. During the tour, Tam, together with Shin Chung Low, DSSOPT Deputy-director, showed reporters a completed unit (T2) on the fifth floor that was around 420 square feet in area, with two bedrooms and one living room. The deputy-director said the units were built in accordance with the standards for social housing, featuring simple designs with basic facilities, as well as environmentally-friendly utilities - such as energy-efficient lighting in public areas.
Concerning the pricing of rents, Tam said they would be decided in accordance with the current calculation mechanism - which takes into account the minimum subsistence level (currently standing at MOP 3,200), and residents’ salaries. 
The entire building boasts a total floor area of 32,200 square metres, consisting of 346 the show flats, together with a car park with 210 spaces for motorbikes and 140 for private cars or light vans, all of which would be open to the public instead of being limited to the residents.
Shin Chung Low said that they were still following-up the fatal accident that took place at the construction site earlier this week, in which an imported worker from the Mainland fell to his death from the 28th floor. He added that the initial investigation did not show that the worker violated any safety regulations but they would continue with follow-up actions: including helping the bereaved family with insurance-claims. The area in which the accident took place remains closed until investigations by the Labour Affairs Bureau, the DSSOPT and the contractor are finished, but this would not affect the project’s expected completion on schedule in the third quarter of this year.The contractor was also instructed to inspect the entire construction site for possible safety hazards, with further instruction for workers to follow the guidelines strictly. 


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