Public Works Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the Meeting
held on 10 July 1996 at 9:00 am in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members Present :

    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members Absent :

    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Mr Carlson CHAN Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (4)
Mr C D B WILLIAMS, JP Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2)
Mr S S LEE, JP Director of Territory Development
Mr Bernard LAM, JP Director of Civil Engineering
Mr Tony CLARK, JP Deputy Secretary for Economic Services (3)
Mr Kenneth CHAN, JP Director of Architectural Services
Mr Augustine CHOI Commissioner for Rehabilitation
Dr S P MAK Assistant Director of Health (Health Administration and Planning)
Mr K Y NG Principal Inspector of Vocational Training Council
Mr Andrew KLUTH Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (D)
Mrs Sarah KWOK Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (B)
Mr Kelvin PANG Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services
Mr C S WANG Civil Secretary, Correctional Services Department
Mr Y Y NG, OBE, JP Director of Drainage Services
Mr K S LEUNG, JP Director of Highways
Mr M S HU, JP Director of Water Supplies
Mr Frank LOONG Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)
Mr Augustine CHENG Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (3)
Mr S C LEE, JP Assistant Commissioner for Transport (Planning and Technical Services)

In Attendance :

Mr Canice MAK, JP Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Mr H S KWONG, JP Secretary for Works
Mr M J STOKOE Director of Environmental Protection (Acting)
Mrs Carrie LAM Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General
Mrs Constance LI Clerk to the Public Works Subcommittee
Mr Andy LAU Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

At the request of the Administration, members agreed to advance the discussion of PWSC (96-97) 39 to Item 1 on the agenda.

2. In response to a member’s comment on the large number of discussion items for this meeting, the Chairman remarked that as it was the last meeting of the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) in the current LegCo session and some of the proposals were rather straightforward, he had allowed more items to be put on the agenda. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (DS/Tsy) apologised for the length of the agenda but explained that the Administration had already tried its best to spread out the submissions and manage the agenda of the last few meetings. In view of the increasing number of public works projects, the frequency of PWSC meetings had already been increased to once fortnightly in the past two months to consider these items. As a number of items required funding approval before the summer recess, a long agenda was proposed for this meeting.

Upgrading of projects to Category A

PWSC(96-97)39 18HH Village improvements and development schemes in the New Territories
446TH Improvement, reconstruction and extension of village access roads in the New Territories

3. Replying to a member on the variations in the funding provision for village improvement works in districts, the Assistant Director of Home Affairs (AD/HA) advised that the programme was drawn up on the basis of improvement needs as identified by the district committees which comprised local representatives and District Board members.

4. On the reasons for not including the supplementary programme in the Estimates for this financial year, AD/HA explained that some of the supplementary items were not yet identified at the time. It was after March 1996 that the Minor Works Steering Committee reviewed its programme and had come up with the supplementary requests for funding. The current proposal was to provide additional funding to implement these proposals.

5. At the request of a member, the Administration undertook to provide a list of the village improvement and development projects which were under consideration but not included in the supplementary programme.


6. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(96-97)36 321CL Reclamation and servicing of Tuen Mun Area 38 for special industries

7. A member expressed concern that the proposed system would reach its maximum capacity shortly after its operation. In response, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) advised that the design had taken into account future developments in the area, and the system would be adequate to cope with the forecast increase in sewage flow.

8. On the control measures on noise and odour emissions arising from the operation of the facilities, DTD advised that odour control equipment would be installed and the noise level would be kept within the statutory limits.

9. Some members expressed grave concern about the possible increase in traffic resulting from the development of Tuen Mun Area 38 which included the developments of the special industries area and the river trade terminal. In response, DTD advised that the Administration would introduce improvement measures to cope with future transport demands. These measures would include improvements to the junction of Tuen Mun Road and Wong Chu Road, and the construction of a foothill bypass linking Area 45 with Lung Mun Road to relieve the traffic problems. The Administration would further consult the District Board when the detailed design was completed. As to the external transport needs, DTD advised that the Route 3 project would be completed in 2001 to tie in with the phased development of Tuen Mun Area 38.

10. Members of the Democratic Party considered that there was insufficient information to address their concern about the traffic impact associated with the development of Tuen Mun Area 38. They expressed reservations about the proposal pending further information from the Administration. The Chairman advised that the subject on transport improvements should be followed up by the Transport Panel.


11. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(96-97)43 107AP Dredging of Rambler Channel and Its Approaches

12. In reply to a member, the Deputy Secretary for Economic Services advised that the proposed dredging work had already taken into account the requirements of the Container Terminal (CT) 9 project. To facilitate access to the port by the new generation of the deep draft container vessels which at present represented about 10% of the total traffic in the Channel, it was necessary to carry out the dredging work as soon as possible to maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the provision of port services.

13. Concerning the associated noise impact arising from the dredging activities, a member asked the Administration to include in the tender documents a condition prohibiting any dredging works at night from 11 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. In response, the Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) advised that under the present legislation, no works would be allowed after 11 p.m. if the noise level exceeded the statutory limit. However, in view of the member’s comments, he would examine the practicality of making such restriction one of the tender conditions for works in the northern part of Rambler Channel. He undertook to report to the Subcommittee should there be practical difficulties with the suggestion, before the item was put to the Finance Committee for consideration.


14. Some members also expressed concern about the suitability of the proposed location at Sha Chau for the disposal of contaminated mud, and the implications on the marine environment. In response, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) advised that the findings of a series of studies confirmed that Sha Chau was the best site available as there was no other site that could meet all requirements. A member pointed out that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study was carried out in 1991, and asked if the Administration would update the findings by conducting another EIA study. In reply, DEP advised that subsequent to the 1991 study, the Administration had separately conducted further studies in this respect, but a full EIA study was considered unnecessary since the conditions of the area had remained largely unchanged over the years. As to the effectiveness of the disposal method in use, the Administration had engaged an expert from the United States to give an independent view on the subject, and the method was considered acceptable. The Administration would continue to monitor the impact on water quality, and would take enforcement action against contractors for non-compliance with the pollution control measures. While there were no adverse findings on the impact on the survival of the Chinese White Dolphins, DEP advised that the protection of endangered species was under the purview of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department.

15. On the use of the site in Cheung Chau South for the disposal of non-contaminated mud, DCE advised that the environmental impact of the disposal activities in the area would be closely monitored.

16. After discussion, several members still had doubts on the environmental impact of the disposal of contaminated mud in Sha Chau. To address members’ concern, the Administration undertook to provide the following information, before the item was put to the Finance Committee for consideration:


  1. the proportion of contaminated and uncontaminated mud estimated to be dredged from the Rambler Channel and its approaches;
  2. the environmental implications of the disposal of contaminated mud at East Sha Chau;
  3. the impact on the Chinese White Dolphins of the disposal of contaminated mud at East Sha Chau; and
  4. the duration of daily dredging works to be carried out at Rambler Channel and its approaches.

17. The item was put to vote and endorsed. Members of the Democratic Party and Miss Emily LAU had reservation on the proposal.


PWSC(96-97)51 84ET

Central Kowloon child assessment centre and skills centre

18. Concerning the long waiting time for new cases due to the shortage of facilities, some members asked whether it would be possible to build a larger centre on the proposed site so as to shorten the waiting time. In response, the Director of Architectural Services (DAS) explained that the proposed development had already made maximum use of the plot ratio permissible for the area. Although government buildings were not required to follow the plot ratio, it was the policy that government projects should adhere to the statutory standards as far as possible. At the request of a member, DAS agreed to provide further information on the proposed site utilisation.


19. On the plans to shorten the waiting time for detailed assessments in new cases, the Assistant Director of Health advised that the Government had been making progress in shortening the waiting time. With the completion of the proposed centre, the waiting time would be reduced to five months, and the target was to further reduce it to three months when the next centre was completed in the year 2000.

20. The item was voted on and endorsed.



60 Correctional Services Departmental Quarters at Pik Uk

21. Replying to a member, DAS advised that the site would be developed up to the maximum plot ratio, while the construction costs, including the drainage and external works, would be about $8,700 per square metre. As the carpark was to be provided on open space, this would not add to the construction costs. At the request of a member, DAS agreed to provide information on the standards for provision of carparks in quarters.


22. On the justification of provision of staff quarters to junior staff, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Security advised that it was government policy to provide quarters for eligible members of the disciplined services. The Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services (DC/CS) added that in view of the increased workload of the department and the staff turnover rate, provision of staff quarters would have a possible impact on staff morale. In reply to a member, DS/Tsy clarified that the provision of departmental quarters to junior staff in the disciplined services and the policy to encourage officers entitled to housing benefit for home purchase were two separate matters. These junior staff were not eligible for the home financing scheme which was only available to officers above a certain salary point.

23. On the allocation of these quarters, DC/CS advised that a fair allocation system was in place, with participation from both the management and the staff. In case of appeals, the final decision would rest with the Commissioner or his deputy.

24. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Redevelopment of Stanley Prison area, Phase II

25. Members were generally in support of the proposal to improve the prison facilities and to relieve congestions in prisons. In response to a member’s question, DC/CS briefed members on the improvement measures being taken to relieve the overcrowding in prisons. These included the conversion of the Chimawan (lower) Detention Centre to a female drug addiction treatment centre, and the reprovisioning of a military camp at Lo Wu to a penal institution.

26. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Central, Western and Wan Chai West sewerage - works and identification of individual improper connections

27. A member questioned the cost-effectiveness of decommissioning the Wan Chai West sewage screening plant which had been in use for only 10 years. In response, the Director of Drainage Services (DDS) advised that it had not been possible to forecast the present level of development in the Central and Wan Chai reclamation area when the system was designed several years ago. To cope with the existing and anticipated demand in the area, it would be necessary to upgrade the system. He further advised that the existing system would have served its normal useful life of 15 years at the time it was replaced by the upgraded Wan Chai East sewage screening plant in 2002.

28. On the possibility of extending the use of the ‘trenchless’ method to other parts of the works, DDS advised that the method was not applicable to all types of works, and in view of the high costs, the method would only be used in special circumstances to minimise disruption to traffic. The Administration would closely monitor the traffic arrangements during construction.

29. Noting that the proposed project had included the requirements of future developments in the area, a member commented that the Administration should ensure that there would not be any interface problems caused by insufficient time allowed for the statutory and administrative procedures in implementing the related development projects. In response, the Secretary for Works pointed out that it was common practice to take into account future needs of the area in planning improvement projects in older districts, since subsequent upgrading of the systems would be much more expensive. This should not have the implications of prejudicing members’ consideration of the related development projects.

30. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Tuen Mun sewerage, stage I

31. In reply to a member, DDS advised that the proposed project would be implemented in phases having regard to the circumstances of areas affected and the time required to resolve land issues.

32. On the need to provide public sewage facilities for the villages in the area, DEP advised that the septic tanks now used by the villages could not handle the sewage effectively and efficiently, resulting in poor water quality in the downstream of Yuen Long-Tuen Mun Corridor (South) area. Provision of public sewage facilities to the area was therefore necessary to prevent further pollution of the Tuen Mun River Channel by improperly discharge of sewage generated from the Tuen Mun north area.

33. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Improvement to Castle Peak Road from Siu Lam to So Kwun Tan

34. Responding to a member’s request to speed up the delivery of the remaining part of the programme, the Director of Highways (D/Hy) advised that the improvement works to the section of Castle Peak Road between Ka Loon Tsuen and Tsuen Wan would be carried out in Phase II waiting for completion of the engineering studies and anticipated problems in land resumption.

35. On the traffic disruption during the construction period, D/Hy advised that the majority of the improvement works would be carried out on a widened road reserve with additional land coming from either crown land or resumed private land, and should not have significant impact on the traffic conditions of Castle Peak Road. Temporary traffic diversions would be arranged using the widened road reserve to maintain the existing traffic flow along Castle Peak Road.

36. As regards the detailed arrangements for the provision of indirect technical remedies to residents affected by the noise nuisance, D/Hy advised that detailed site inspections should be carried out in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Department to determine the exact location inside the premises where air-conditioning and double glazing of windows would be required. This would enable a ceiling be set for the air-conditioning grant to each eligible dwelling. The electricity charges would be borne by the residents.

37. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Tin Shui Wai development, package 3, part II, village flood protection works - remainder

38. A member asked whether the flooding problem was attributed to the recent developments in the area. In reply, DTD explained that Ha Mei San Tsuen was a low-lying area which was prone to flooding during typhoons and rainstorms. It was already the existing practice to include flood protection works for any development projects, and the proposal was one of the improvement projects to address the flooding problem.

39. In reply to a member, DTD confirmed that the ‘fung shui’ problem had been resolved without substantial modification to the project scope.

40. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Tseung Kwan O development, phase III, remaining engineering works

41. The item was voted on and endorsed.



West Kowloon Reclamation - main works (remainder)

42. In response to a member, DTD confirmed that the related road projects would be completed on schedule to tie in with the opening of the West Kowloon Expressway in late 1996. The proposed additional roads were to cater for the traffic growth and to provide adequate transport linkage to cope with the anticipated demand in the area. As regards the road NR1 near Container Port Road at Kwai Chung, it would serve to provide access to a government depot scheduled to operate in 1999.

43. On the provision of parking facilities for container trucks, DS/PEL advised that the Administration had completed the Parking Demand Study and was in the process of formulating the strategies, including identifying suitable sites in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung for parking purpose. He undertook to provide further information to the member.


44. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Sha Tin New Town, stage II - construction of Road T3

45. Noting that the project would only be completed in 2002, members urged the Administration to speed up the delivery of the project to alleviate the existing traffic congestion in the approaches to the Lion Road Tunnel. In response, DTD clarified that the present proposal was part of the development plan for the Sha Tin new town, while Transport Department was separately looking into the transport provisions linking Shatin with the urban area.

46. On the period of the proposed consultancy, DTD advised that the three year period had included the time required for dealing with the statutory and administrative requirements such as gazetting and the tender preparation and examination work. He undertook to provide a detailed programme for members.


47. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Ma On Shan development - roads and drains in area 77, Ma On Shan

48. In reply to a member, DTD advised that the proposed cycle track would be linked with the existing one in Ma On Shan. He further advised that it was a standard practice to carry out associated works such as public utilities with road projects.

49. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Treatment and disposal of waterworks sludge from existing water treatment works - main works

50. Members expressed concern that the government had taken such a long time to comply with the revised discharge standards in the case of the nine water treatment works (WTW). In response, the Director of Water Supplies (DSW) advised that since the enactment of the Water Pollution Control (Amendment) Ordinance, the department had been working with the Environmental Protection Department on the necessary improvements in order to bring the WTWs up to the revised standards. In view of the complexity of the project, it had taken some time for the Administration to come up with the present proposal with the assistance of consultants. As regards the engagement of different consultants for different types of works, DWS advised that this was in line with the present practice.

51. Some members also questioned the criteria for deciding on whether public consultation should be conducted for projects of this kind. It was noted that some District Boards were not consulted on this occasion. They felt that the need for consultation with District Boards should not be left at the discretion of District Officers concerned and urged the Administration to ensure that District Boards would be informed of these proposals in advance. In this respect, DS/Tsy undertook to relay members’ concern to the Home Affairs Department.


52. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Additional treatment and water transfer facilities for the metropolitan area and north-eastern New Territories - Stage I

53. On the reasons for adopting a design and build type of contract for the aqueducts, DWS advised that the works required specialised expertise and equipment which were not readily available to ordinary contractors. It was therefore necessary to allow some flexibility to enable effective use of the eligible contractors’ expertise. He assured members that several local and overseas contractors had the expertise required of the project, and they would be prequalified to bid for the contract. In this respect, the Secretary for Works also took note of a member’s comment that the Government should ensure that the contractor’s liability would be clearly defined in the contract to safeguard Government’s interest.

54. A member questioned how the department could effectively supervise the consultant on works which the department had no expertise. In reply, DWS assured members that the department had sufficient experience in the management of consultants, and would ensure that they would deliver according to the specified performance indicators.

55. In response to a member, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing undertook to provide information on whether the proposed design capacity had included the requirements of the proposed joint housing development in Lai Chi Kok.


56. The item was voted on and endorsed

Revision in scope/approved estimate of project in Category A




Traffic surveillance and information system for Tuen Mun Road - stage 2

57. While members were generally in support of the need to introduce improvement measures to alleviate the traffic congestion problem of Tuen Mun Road, they expressed serious doubts on the cost-effectiveness of the proposed system. They were concerned that the existing traffic congestion signs installed in Tuen Mun had been under-utilised, and that given the slippage of this project, the system might become obsolete with the opening of Route 3 (Country Park Section) when the traffic condition on Tuen Mun Road should be significantly improved.

58. In response, the Assistant Commissioner for Transport (AC for T) advised that the proposed signage system would be more effective than the existing temporary signs in that it was quick to operate and bilingual variable message could be displayed. The system would provide first-hand information to motorists on the traffic conditions on Tuen Mun Road so that they could take alternative routes to their designations. It was estimated that with the implementation of the proposed system, about $38 million of economic loss caused by traffic congestions in the area could be avoided annually.

59. On the present progress of the project, AC for T advised that assessment of the tenders had been completed, and the project could proceed immediately if the Finance Committee approved the supplementary provision for the higher price quoted by the prospective contractor. The higher costs were due to the increase in the number of signs and the difficult working conditions in Tuen Mun Road.

60. Members expressed dissatisfaction that the Administration would need to spend $2.8 million for the project staff to attend overseas training and the factory acceptance tests of the proposed system. In this respect, AC for T explained that as there was no local expertise on the operation and maintenance of the proposed system, it would be necessary for the project staff to acquire the necessary skills from the overseas manufacturer. It would also be necessary to send staff overseas to attend factory acceptance tests on various equipment/systems to safeguard the Government’s interests. At the request of a member, he undertook to provide a breakdown on the estimated expenditure for overseas training.


61. After discussion, members remained unconvinced of the cost-effectiveness of the proposal. Mrs Miriam LAU requested that the subject be further discussed at the LegCo Panel on Transport. Mr Edward HO indicated that while he supported the proposal in principle, he would need to ascertain the cost-effectiveness of the proposed expenditure.

62. The item was put to vote : one member voted for the proposal, five against and six abstained.

Ayes :

Hon Edward HO Sing-tin

(1 member)

Nos :

Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

(5 members)

Abstentions :

Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon Henry TANG Yin-yen Hon Howard YOUNG
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung Hon IP Kwok-him

(6 members)

63. The proposal was negatived.




Sha Tin New Town, stage II - engineering development, package 13

64. In response to a member’s concern on the noise problem faced by residents of City One Shatin, DTD advised that the problem was caused by the road traffic on the existing Siu Lek Yuen Road rather than the proposed bridge. While there was no policy on the provision of noise mitigation measures in the form of noise barriers for existing roads, the Secretary for Works undertook to examine the feasibility of introducing some mitigation measures to address the problem of City One Shatin. He would report the findings to the Sub-committee in due course.


65. The item was voted on and endorsed.



North Lantau phase IIA development in Tung Chung, reclamation works

66. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Intersection of Castle Peak and Kwai Chung Roads: improvements, stage II

67. The item was voted on and endorsed.

68. The meeting ended at 1:05 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
18 July 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998