Government authorities coated a historic flight of stairs in Sheung Wan in yellow non-slip paint on Saturday, in a move criticised by conservationists.
The granite stairs on Shing Wong Street were painted late Saturday night without any prior consultation or notice, according to the Central and Western Concern Group, a group of local conservationists.
Residents who were asleep at the time complained that they had been woken up by the works.
“The works were of poor quality and the damage is serious,” the group said. The paint was seen to be dripping down the steps.
The stairs, which have more than hundred years of history, are not protected under the government’s Antiquities and Monuments Office.
Democratic Party district councillor Bonnie Ng sent an email to the Highways Department urging the work to be stopped, according to the department.
Democratic Party’s Ng, district councillor Ng Siu-hong and lawmaker Ted Hui visited the site on Monday with representatives of the department.
The department explained to Hui that it had decided to go ahead with the works, and that the Central and Western District Council had already discussed plans beforehand.
“The Highways Department’s practice was very careless, and it made us feel that the department was intentionally destroying a heritage site,” Hui said.
Hui said it was questionable that the department’s outsourced workers had chosen to conduct the works at night, and that they had not obtained a construction noise permit from the Environmental Protection Department.
Hui added that district councillors had not been consulted, although doing so is common practice when works are conducted late at night.
Hui said he will file a complaint to the Ombudsman against the department.