LegCo Paper No. PWSC 20/96-97
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on Wednesday, 20 November 1996 at 10:45 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 S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    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 Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members absent :
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Public officers attending :
    Mrs Carrie LAM
    Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)
    Mr Bowen LEUNG, JP
    Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
    Mr H S KWONG, JP
    Secretary for Works
    Mr Rob LAW, JP
    Director of Environmental Protection
    Mr James HERD
    Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)
    Mr S S LEE, JP
    Director of Territory Development
    Mr S H PAU, JP
    Deputy Director of Architectural Services
    Mrs Sarah KWOK
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (B)
    Mr HSU King-ping, CPM, JP
    Chief Fire Officer (Headquarters)
    Miss Annette LEE
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)
    Mr CHENG Man-yiu
    Principal Education Officer (Allocation and Support)
Clerk in attendance:
    Mrs Constance LI
    Chief Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)
Staff in attendance:
    Miss Pauline NG
    Assistant Secretary General 1
    Mr Andy LAU
    Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

The Chairman informed the meeting that the Administration had withdrawn paper PWSC(96-97)69 from the agenda of the meeting. NON-AIRPORT CORE PROGRAMME

Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(96-97)65 70CD Yuen Long bypass floodway - advance works at intersection with Route 3 (Country Park Section)

2. Noting that PWSC(96-97)65 and PWSC(96-97)66 were both related to the Yuen Long bypass floodway, a member asked whether it would be more cost-effective to engage one single consultant for the two projects. In reply, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) advised that as the proposals involved different types of works, it would be more appropriate to treat them as separate projects. In the paper under discussion, it was proposed that the construction works of part of a bypass floodway should be advanced to avoid serious disruption to the traffic on Route 3 (Country Park Section) (CPS) in future. It was also the intention of the Administration to entrust the proposed works to the company now constructing Route 3 (CPS) to reduce any interface problems. As to whether the advance works would unduly restrain the future alignment of the bypass floodway, DTD advised that the proposed alignment had taken into account the recommendations of the "Territorial Land Drainage and Flood Control Strategy Study-Phase II" completed in 1993. DTD further advised that while the advance works might, to some extent, limit the scope for future alteration of the alignment of the floodway, it was also important to avoid major disruption to the traffic of Route 3. On balance, the Administration considered that this part of the bypass floodway should be constructed before the commissioning of Route 3.

3. Some members commented that the estimated costs of $52 million for the construction of a 100-metre long multi-cell box culvert were rather expensive. In reply, DTD advised that the proposed advance works was a very substantial structure comprising an 8-cell box culvertand. The estimate was worked out on the basis of the latest market trend prices and the existing price for the Route 3 (CPS) contract. The Administration would negotiate a reasonable price within the estimate for entrusting the works to the franchisee of the CPS project.

4. Responding to members’ comments, DTD advised that it had not been possible to include this part of the works in the CPS contract because the Administration was still examining the recommendations of the Territorial Land Drainage and Flood Control Strategy Study-Phase II when the CPS contract was finalized. He further advised that it was normal practice to finance the provision of Government, Institutions and Community facilities from the Capital Works Programme.

5. Mr Albert CHAN requested to put on record his reservations about the proposed entrustment arrangements for this project. He considered that as the proposed works would also improve the flooding conditions of Route 3 (CPS), the works should have formed part of the contract for Route 3 (CPS) from the outset.

6. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(96-97)66 70CD Yuen Long bypass floodway - site investigation and consultants’ fees

7. A member questioned why the Administration had taken such a long time to put the proposal to the Subcommittee, since the Administration was fully aware of the unacceptable flooding conditions at Yuen Long upon completion of the "Territorial Land Drainage and Flood Control Strategy Study-Phase II" in 1993. He was dissatisfied that the Administration had not made efforts to incorporate the floodway projects in related highway projects such as Route 3 (CPS) and the Yuen Long Highway.

8. In response, DTD advised that given the resource constraints, the Government had to set priorities for the various improvement projects. For the Yuen Long floodway, the Government needed time to examine the recommendations of the ‘Territorial Land Drainage and Flood Control Strategy Study-Phase II’ with regard to the environmental impact and land acquisition programme. Although the proposed consultancy study would span over four years, it was envisaged that the detailed design of the floodway would be completed in one to two years. In the latter part of the project, the number of technical staff required would be substantially reduced and the consultant would mainly be involved in minor modification works resulting from objections to land resumptions. As regards the possibility of earlier completion of the floodway, DTD advised that the timetable for commencement of the floodway would depend on the completion of all land resumption works which were currently scheduled for 2001.

9. In reply to a member, DTD advised that the proposed consultancy study would not have interface issues with the improvements to the Shenzhen River.

10. Some members requested the Government to explore the feasibility of using non-concrete materials for the construction of the drainage channel so as to reduce any adverse impact on the environment and ecology. In response, DTD advised that given the dimension of the main channel, there were only limited construction options and the concrete-based design was one of the best methods available. The Government could nevertheless consider adopting a soil-based design for the tributary channels. To address any possible environmental concerns arising from the construction and operation of the proposed floodway, an Environmental Impact Assessment Study would be carried out, and appropriate mitigation measures would be taken.

11. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(96-97)69 32GK Regional depot for Water Supplies Department in Mainland North East

12. The paper had been withdrawn by the Administration.

PWSC(96-97)68 29BA Chai Wan ambulance depot

13. Members noted that this was a re-submission item, and the Administration had provided further information in response to members’ comments expressed at the meeting on 6 November 1996.

14. While members were not against the provision of an ambulance depot to improve emergency ambulance services in Chai Wan, they expressed grave concern about the under-utilisation of the proposed site. They considered that the Government should make greater efforts to identify joint users or explore other development options including commercialising the proposed site development. Some members suggested that the site could also be used to provide community facilities, hostels for singletons or departmental quarters.Admin

15. In response, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury 3 (DS/Tsy(3)) advised that the Administration was conscious of the need to optimise the use of government sites and was aware of the concern in this respect of the Director of Audit and Members. In this connection, the Administration had critically reviewed some of the public works projects in the pipeline on the point about maximising site utilisation and would continue to do so. For the present proposal, the Government Property Agency had in fact made two attempts to identify joint users but had been unsuccessful. As there was an urgent service need for a new ambulance depot in the district concerned, the Administration considered that the project should not be further delayed. At the request of a member, the Administration agreed to provide further information on its consultation with the District Board in respect of this project.Admin

16. On the question as to whether the site could be used to provide additional government offices in the Eastern District, DS/Tsy(3) advised that with the completion of the North Point Government Offices Building in 1998, the demand for government offices in the district would be substantially met. There was therefore no foreseeable demand for additional government offices in the meantime. At the request of a member, the Administration agreed to provide further information on leased government offices in the Eastern District.

17. A member suggested that the design of the depot could be modified to cater for any future need of additional storeys above the depot. In response, the Deputy Director of Architectural Services (DD/AS) advised that while it was technically feasible to carry out additional piling works for the purpose, it would be difficult to draw up a suitable design in the absence of details on the intended use of these additional floors.

18. Some members suggested re-provisioning the ambulance depot in other existing government premises. In response, DD/AS advised that it was not possible to incorporate the depot in the Government Godown project in the adjacent site which had already been developed to its maximum potential. On the possibility of making use of the parking space in the existing fire station and the Eastern Hospital to accommodate the ambulances, the Chief Fire Officer advised that the Chai Wan Fire Station was already too congested, and the Eastern Hospital was not suitable for the purpose due to communication and operational problems.

19. After discussion, several members remained unconvinced that the Administration had tried their best to maximise the utilisation of the proposed site. They urged the Administration to review the design to see if there were other options for better site utilisation. Some other members indicated support of the proposal in view of the urgency of the project, and considered that deliberations on site utilisation could be dealt with separately. In response, the Administration assured members that the site utilisation aspect of similar projects now in the pipeline would be reviewed to ensure optimal use of resources. However, given the urgency of the present project, it would be inappropriate to introduce changes to the proposed design of the ambulance depot at this stage.

20. As the proposal had been discussed at length, the Chairman suggested putting the proposal to vote. The Committee voted on the proposal. The majority of members voted against the proposal, while Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, and Mrs Elizabeth WONG indicated support of the proposal. Mr Edward HO and Mr MOK Ying-fan abstained.

21. The proposal was negatived.

PWSC(96-97)67 206ES Secondary school in area 40, Fanling

22. Members expressed concern that the proposed school would be subject to a high level of noise nuisance, and requested the Administration to consider introducing a special design for the school together with appropriate noise-abatement measures such as the use of low-noise road-surfacing materials. In response, DD/AS advised that in the proposed school layout, the classrooms would be located away from the noise-prone areas. In addition, air-conditioning and window insulation would be provided for all rooms facing the main road. Replying to a member, he confirmed that the use of fixed windows in some classrooms would not lead to ventilation problems as the classrooms affected were facing open corridors. He would also relay to the Director of Highways members’ suggestion regarding the use of low-noise road-surfacing materials for roads surrounding the school. As regards the feasibility of constructing a noise barrier instead of providing air-conditioning to those classrooms subject to traffic noise impact, DD/AS advised that as the school site was situated at a higher altitude than the adjacent road, a noise barrier would not be effective.

23. With regard to the planning of new secondary schools, the Principal Education Officer (Allocation and Support) advised that the Administration took into account the overall demand for school places in the territory and the shortfall in individual districts before deciding on the location of new schools. The proposed secondary school in Fanling was to cater for increased demand in the North District. In reply to a member, he advised that it would be possible to convert secondary schools to primary schools and vice versa, subject to some modifications to the design.Admin

24. At the request of members, DD/AS agreed to provide a cross-section of the proposed layout of the school, and the number of primary and secondary schools proposed in the past three years which were subject to traffic noise impact.

25. The item was voted on and endorsed.

26. The Committee was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.
Legislative Council Secretariat
12 December 1996

Last Updated on 16 August 1999