New Macau stresses equity in urban regeneration

Pro-democracy group New Macau Association (ANM) has said that individual owners should be better protected by the urban renewal legislation framework currently under public consultation.
Suggestions from the group regarding the legislation framework were submitted to the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ) yesterday afternoon.
According to the Basic Law, land resources in Macau are national property. The ANM stressed that urban renewal should not equate to real estate projects and recommended that the project be conducted to improve residents’ quality of life.
The group thought that that consideration of several aspects was required to achieve this. These include ensuring transparency and the participation of individual owners, regulating the terms and conditions of the letter of consent, allowing a cool-down period for the enactment of the letter, and prioritizing the “one-for-one” option, with monetary compensation as an auxiliary measure only.
The group also recommended having an objective selection process for the developer, surveyor and valuator. Measures such as lot drawing from a pool of accredited professionals should be considered.
New Macau is concerned that if the future law does not specify measures to protect the interests of owners, the proposed mechanism of descending consent quorum will likely result in forced evictions, which the group considers detrimental to the stability of the city.
Aside from the abovementioned recommendations, the group also made a number of additional suggestions. First, full knowledge of the property should be ensured by the owner and the general public. Second, details of the current and the rebuilt properties, along with any extra compensation, must be stipulated.
Third, a cool-down period should be introduced so that in situations where there is difference between the actual and the agreed-upon compensation, the letter of consent can be voided or amended. Fourth, under circumstances abiding with the Personal Data Protection Law, the valuation, the owners’ consent and other relevant information should be publicized to the greatest extent possible to ensure transparency and the public interest. AL

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