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Proposed Sai Wan MTR Ventilation Shaft

3,000 Sai Wan residents oppose proposed MTR ventilation shaft 

Scarlett Chiang
Updated on Mar 27, 2008 – SCMP

About 3,000 residents in Sai Wan are dissatisfied with a proposed ventilation shaft on the MTR West Island line, saying it would pollute the air and make the road surface hotter.

Hui Kwan-ying, representative of the Hill Road residents, complained to legislators yesterday that the MTR Corporation had not listened to their opinions regarding the proposed ventilation shaft.

“The MTR told us it was impossible to move the ventilation shaft to another area as it would be too far away from the proposed [University of Hong Kong] station,” Ms Hui said.

“We think it is totally possible to move it, but it is just that the rail company is not willing to pay a bit more money.”

She said Hill Road was like a basin and is covered by a flyover, so the air going though the proposed ventilation shaft, which would be located near three apartment blocks, would be trapped and inhaled.

“Whenever there is a construction project, the area around the [project] smells bad,” she said. “If the proposed ventilation shaft goes into service, we will suffer from the polluted air emitted by the shaft from 6am to midnight every day.”

Ventilation shafts are a necessary part of an underground railway system as they provide sufficient air flow for tunnels and stations, according to the MTR Corp.

The West Rail Concern Group said the air flowing out of the ventilation shaft was 3 degrees Celsius hotter than that of the nearby area. Ms Hui, also a spokeswoman for the group, said the shaft would force residents to keep their windows shut at all times.

She added that the shaft, which is the size of a two-storey building, would block Hill Road and cause great inconvenience to passers-by.

The group suggested moving the ventilation shaft to the intersection of Hill Road and Des Voeux Road West, or near the Haking Wong Building on the University of Hong Kong campus.

It suggested installing fans to blow the air farther up the proposed ventilation shaft to exit elsewhere.

However, an MTR Corp spokeswoman said the suggested locations were not feasible as they were about 400 metres from the proposed university station.

“Installing fans is not a viable method of ventilation,” she said. “It is not sustainable, either, because it would waste a lot of energy.”

She said that as the West Island Line was an electric railway, no combustion of fossil fuels were involved.

“The air is not hazardous to humans,” the spokeswoman said. “We hope the residents can accept this, as the line aims to bring them more convenient transport.”

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