LegCo Paper No. PWSC 97/96-97
(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, 21 May 1997, at 10:30 am in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members present :

    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, FEng, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members attending :

    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming

Members absent :

    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

Public officers attending :

    Mr James HERD
    Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3) (Acting)

    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 S H PAU, JP
    Director of Architectural Services

    Miss Annette LEE
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)

    Mr M Y CHENG
    Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)

    Mr Richard YUEN
    Deputy Secretary for Economic Services (Economic Services)3

    Assistant Director of Marine (Port Control)

    Dr FUNG Hong
    Deputy Director (Hospital Planning & Development), Hospital Authority

    Mr John LEUNG
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Medical)2

    Mr John COLLIER, JP
    Director of Drainage Services

    Mr Bernard LAM, JP
    Director of Civil Engineering

    Mr K S LEUNG, JP
    Director of Highways

    Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)

    Mr S S LEE, JP
    Director of Territory Development

    Dr Ted PRYOR, JP
    Principal Government Town Planner (Territorial)

Clerk in attendance:

    Mrs Constance LI
    Chief Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

Staff in attendance:

    Mrs Vivian KAM
    Assistant Secretary General 1

    Ms Anita SIT
    Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)1


Upgrading of projects to Category A




Primary school in area 17, Tung Chung


Primary school in West Kowloon reclamation, Yau Ma Tei

Responding to a member’s concern about the overall shortfall of primary school places in view of the anticipated increase in the number of new arrival children, the Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support) (AD/ED) advised that the Education Department was updating the information on the demand and supply of primary school places in all 72 primary school zones and the revised figure would be available later. To cope with the anticipated shortfall, more primary schools would be built in the coming years. On the feasibility of providing more classrooms in new primary schools, AD/ED replied that from the school management and quality education point of view, the standard provision of 30 classrooms (about 1,000 students) was already the optimal capacity. As any increase in the number of classes would have to be made in multiples of six, that is, one additional class each for Primary One to Six, AD/ED considered that a 36-class primary school would be too large for effective teaching and management. In this respect, the Director of Architectural Service (D Arch S) advised that there were also fire safety restrictions on the height (or number of storeys) of schools.

2. With regard to the concern that the proposed school would be subject to traffic noises, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) and D Arch S advised that the selection of school sites was subject to a number of considerations, and accessibility by public transport was one of the most important factors. There had been extensive consultation on the Tung Chung development, and the proposed school site was considered acceptable with the implementation of noise mitigation measures. Members noted that apart from the construction of noise barriers, indirect noise abatement measures such as well-gasketted windows and air-conditioning would be provided to affected classrooms on the top floor of the school building.

3. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Secondary school in area 17, Tung Chung


Secondary school at Chai Wan Estate


Secondary school in area 14B, Shatin

4. Responding to a member, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2) advised that the projected shortfall of 501 secondary school places by 1999 had already taken into account the plan to phase out all floating classes in Secondary One to Five by 2000. On the feasibility of providing additional classrooms in the proposed schools to accommodate the four floating classes at Secondary Six and Seven, AD/ED advised that most lessons for Secondary Six and Seven were actually held in special rooms.

5. With regard to the higher piling costs for the proposed school in Tung Chung (217 ES), D Arch S explained that the bedrock level had a depth of 40 metres which was 10 metres deeper than the normal rock level. As a result, special piling had to be used to suit the site conditions.

6. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Local marine traffic control station at Container Terminal No. 8

7. Several members expressed reservations about the need for a marine traffic control station at Container Terminal (CT) No. 8, and sought clarification on the justifications of the proposal.

8. In response, the Deputy Secretary for Economic Services advised that notwithstanding an average annual growth of about 8% in marine traffic in Hong Kong waters over the past ten years, Hong Kong had been able to maintain a high overall marine safety standard. However, with the development of CT Nos. 8 and 9, it was anticipated that there would be a significant growth in traffic of container vessels and river trade vessels in the coming years. As more factories were re-located to the north in Guangdong, there would be a greater demand on waterborne transport because of cheaper costs. In the past two years, the annual growth in river trade vessel traffic in and out of Hong Kong had been more than 20%. Because of the busy traffic, there had been more marine incidents albeit without serious injuries. As the Kwai Chung container basin and its approaches were not adequately covered by the nearby Vessel Traffic Services system at Kau Yi Chau, the Administration considered it necessary to provide a local marine traffic control station (LMTCS) at CT 8 to ensure marine safety in the area. The proposal was in line with a recommendation of the recent risk evaluation study of Hong Kong waters. In reply to a member, the Assistant Director of Marine (AD/M) confirmed that the proposed LMCTS would be located at the mouth of the Kwai Chung basin and would cover the CT9 also.

9. Responding to members’ concern about the present marine traffic control measures at the Kwai Chung basin, the Administration advised that a double safeguard system was in operation. Apart from radar surveillance, patrol launches were stationed in the area to monitor the berthing and unberthing of container vessels, and to direct the traffic especially that of smaller vessels which were not equipped with telecommunication devices. In view of the limited coverage of the radar system and the fact that many new vessels coming in were unfamiliar with the Hong Kong waters, a LMTCS would be necessary to cope with the significant growth of marine traffic entering and leaving CT 8. In reply to a member, the Administration advised that the operation of the proposed LMTCS would be similar to that described above.

10. Some members expressed doubts on the effectiveness of the proposed monitoring system. One member suggested the use of more advanced traffic surveillance systems such as closed circuit television systems, so that a control tower could oversee a larger area. Another member was of the view that it would be more effective to designate fairways for different types of vessels. As regards the feasibility of applying similar monitoring systems used for land or air traffic surveillance, the Administration responded that these systems would not be appropriate for marine traffic control. By way of illustration, AD/M advised that not all vessels were equipped with devices for communication with the control tower, and it would be difficult to identify suitable strategic locations for the installation of computerised surveillance devices at Hong Kong waters because of geographical and weather constraints.

11. After discussion, members still had reservations about the justifications and effectiveness of the proposed LMTCS, and requested more information on the operation of the monitoring system. In view of members’ reservations, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury withdrew the proposal.

12. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

New commitment for subvented project




Renovation of wards at Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital

13. Noting that the building was already 41 years old and was a single-storey building, two members asked if there were plans to re-develop the hospital in order to maximize its site utilization. The Deputy Director of Hospital Authority replied that there were no plans to re-develop and expand the hospital in the near future, having considered the demand and supply of hospital beds, in particular that of the Island South District.

14. In reply to a member, D Arch S advised that the unit cost per hospital bed in the proposed renovation project would be around $600,000, as compared to $800,000 for a new hospital bed. In terms of net usable area, the unit cost for the project would be approximately $18,000/m2 which was lower than the normal cost of $20,000 /m2. At the request of members, D Arch S undertook to provide further information on the unit cost in terms of gross floor area. Admin

15. With regard to the funding arrangements, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Medical)2 advised that the sponsoring voluntary agency would normally contribute about 20% of the capital costs. In the present case, the Society for the Relief of Disabled Children would be responsible for the renovation of six wards for child patients, while the Government would finance the two wards for adult patients.

16. To minimise the renovation works’ impact on patients, D Arch S advised that the existing patients in the two wards affected would be moved to other wards, and the work area would also be enclosed.

17. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Upgrading of projects to Category A




Shek Wu Hui sewage treatment works - upgrading

18. In reply to a member, the Director of Drainage Services (DDS) advised that it was normal insurance measure for clients to conduct independent verification of the conditions of major mechanical and electrical systems, and to witness equipment testing abroad before shipment to Hong Kong. This was to avoid receiving faulty equipment from overseas.

19. On the design capacity of the proposed upgrading of the Shek Wu Hui sewage treatment works (STW), DDS advised that the phase II upgrading was to cope with the forecast treatment flow of 80,000m3 per day up to 2011. Further expansion would be possible in Phase III to meet further increase in sewerage flow after 2011. As regards the interim measures to treat the increasing flow before completion of the upgrading project, DDS advised that there would be about 5% increase in sewerage flow when the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse (SSS) started operation in 1999, and part of the upgrading works would have been completed by that time to receive the additional flow.

20. With regard to the need for enhanced water treatment standards, DDS and the Director of Environmental Protection advised that while the existing treatment was already of a high standard and could remove most solids and biological oxygen demand in the waste water, it did not remove nutrients or dis-infect pathogen. As the future additional flow from the Northeast New Territories landfills and SSS would carry higher levels of nutrients and pathogen loadings, the existing treatment system required upgrading to ensure that the quality of the treated effluent would meet the current standard of discharge into River Indus and Deep Bay. This would be particularly important as flow from these sources would account for about 60%-80% of the dry weather river flow.

21.Responding to a member’s question on the implications on sewage charges, DDS advised that the additional annually recurrent expenditure of the project would be $17.2 million, while the projected additional annual revenue from the population served by STW would be about $6.27 million. Based on the current level of sewage charges, the shortfall in revenue would result in an overall increase of charges by about 1.5% for all customers. In this respect, the member remarked that it would be unfair if customers would have to pay for the maintenance of the surplus capacity during the initial period of commissioning. DDS clarified that the additional recurrent expenditure was largely attributable to the enhanced treatment standard rather than increased capacity. At the member’s request, the Administration agreed to provide further information on the estimated increase in sewage charges resulting from this project, before the item was forwarded to the Finance Committee (FC) for consideration. Admin

22. The item was put to vote and endorsed. Mr Edward Ho expressed reservation on the proposal pending further information from the Administration.




Pak Shek Kok reclamation for dumping, remaining stages

23. In reply to members, the Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) advised that stage I of Pak Shek Kok reclamation had just started, and he would provide a report on the progress a few months later. He also clarified that removal of marine deposits would only be required for the construction of the seawall. With regard to the environmental impact of the proposed project, DCE confirmed that the works would not have adverse impact on the self-cleaning capability of Tolo Harbour and Shing Mun River, and environmental mitigation measures would be taken to control the short-term impacts of the construction works.

24. On the amount of reimbursement to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for the cost of environmental mitigation measures to preserve the University environment, DCE advised that it was based on the costs of the additional heating, ventilation and air-conditioning filters and window cleaning work for the building. The estimated reimbursement costs would be about $400,000 for stage II works.

25. As regards the future use of the reclaimed land, SPEL advised that it was the planning intention, as endorsed in principle by the Town Planning Board, to reserve the site for the Science Park and low density housing developments. Details of the proposed Science Park were still under consideration by the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Trade and Industry. In reply to a member, SPEL confirmed that the reserved site would be sufficient in size for the requirements of the Science Park.

26. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Highway between Shap Pat Heung interchange and Pok Oi interchange - Pok Oi flyover

27. Noting that the proposed flyover would be completed in December 1998, a member asked if it would be possible to bring forward its completion date to tie in with the commissioning of the Country Park Section (CPS) of Route 3 in August 1998. The Administration clarified that the proposed timeframe was the earliest possible as the decision to construct a flyover was made only last October following a revision of the target population of Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai from 250 000 to 470 000 after the Territorial Development Strategy Review was completed in 1996. It was anticipated that the revised forecast population in the North West New Territories (NWNT) would result in substantial increase in traffic volume passing through the Pok Oi Interchange (POI). In view of the urgency of the project, the Administration had accorded priority to the planning and consultation work for building a new flyover across POI.

28. On the question whether the arrangements to entrust the project to the franchisee of the Route 3 CPS project would result in higher project costs, the Director of Highways (DHy) advised that the entrustment arrangement would shorten the construction time by more than 18 months and reduce interface problems. He assured members that entrustment arrangements would not necessarily lead to higher costs as the Administration would negotiate with the franchisee for a reasonable contract price based on recent tenders of similar projects.

29. In reply to a member, DHy advised that the proposed flyover would provide a route for through traffic between Route 3 CPS in the north and Yuen Long Highway in the south, and would significantly reduce the traffic at the POI.

30. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Tin Shui Wai further development - site formation in areas 101 to 108, 109 (part), 110 and 111

31. A member expressed concern that the proposed site formation works at the Tin Shui Wai Reserve Zone might increase the hydraulic gradient and lead to floodings in nearby villages. In response, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) advised that the site had already been formed. The works proposed was only minor adjustment of formation levels, and there would be temporary drains to bring rainwater to the existing main drains. He confirmed that the proposed site formation works would not lead to more floodings in the vicinity.

32. Responding to a member, DTD clarified that as the site was near the Mai Po Reserve, the environmental monitoring programme was to ensure implementation of the mitigation measures recommended by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study, and to collect data on the actual environmental impact during site formation works.

33. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Tin Shui Wai further development - engineering works for priority sites developments : consultants’ fees and site investigation


Tin Shui Wai further development - remaining works for Reserve Zone developments : consultants’ fees and site investigation

34. A member noted that the proposed site formation areas 112, 113, 115 and 116 in the Tin Shui Wai Reserve Zone had been designated for housing developments. He enquired about the impact of these developments on the Mai Po Reserve. DTD advised that an EIA study had been conducted, and the Advisory Council on the Environment had endorsed the findings that the developments would not have significant environmental impact on the Mai Po Reserve.

35. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Planning and engineering feasibility study for development at Anderson Road


Planning and engineering feasibility study for development near Choi Wan Road and Jordan Valley

36. A member enquired whether there was a need to conduct a feasibility study for the development at Anderson Road as the site had already been identified for housing developments with a target population of 35 000 several years ago. In response, DCE clarified that the previous study focused mainly on the Anderson Road Quarries, while the proposed study was to assess the impacts of the accelerated housing developments at the site below Anderson Road to meet a population growth of 44 000 in the medium term between 2001 and 2006. There would be separate studies on the impacts of the proposed housing developments at Jordon Valley and Choi Wan Road. These studies would examine the impact on the environment, traffic volume and drainage capacity in the areas concerned.

37. Addressing members’ concern about the capability of the existing transport infrastructure, in particular Sau Mau Ping Road, to cope with the population growth in these areas, DCE advised that the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) study would make a forecast on the amount of additional traffic flow generated by the developments and its impact on nearby roads. He agreed with a member that the TIA should take into account future transport needs arising from the Tseung Kwan O development, which would have an impact on the traffic volume on Sau Mau Ping Road.

38. On the rehabilitation programme of the Anderson Road Quarries, DCE advised that this would be a long-term programme to be carried out in phases. The contractor would be required to complete all works including landscaping as specified in the rehabilitation contract. In reply to a member, DCE advised that the proposed studies would also examine the feasibility of retaining and/or reprovisioning the existing recreational facilities, including the walking trails at Jordon Valley.

39. Responding to a member about the timing for delivery of the site for housing construction, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing advised that as the sites were to cater for the target population growth between 2001 and 2006, the sites would be delivered around 1999/2000 onwards so that the earliest housing flats could be completed in 2003. He remarked that the site conditions were rather complicated due to proximity to urban developments, and the proposed timeframe was the best estimates. The Administration would endeavour to deliver according to the timetable.

40. With regard to the pros and cons of the integration of the planning aspects with the engineering aspects in the proposed feasibility studies, the Administration advised that this was a new approach to streamline the housing development process. It would help shorten the planning phase by six to nine months, and some savings in costs would also be possible with the engagement of one consultancy for two studies.

41. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Planning and development studies on North West New Territories : consultants’ fees and site investigation


Planning and development studies on North East New Territories : consultants’ fees and site investigation


Planning and development studies on Hong Kong Island South and Lamma Island : consultants’ fees and site investigation

42.In reply to a member, the Principal Government Town Planner (PGTP) advised that the population growth figures given in paragraph 18 of the PWSC paper were the additional strategic growth for the areas. Responding to members’ further questions, PGTP advised that there was no policy presumption about the future population density of these areas which would be the subject of the proposed studies. In view of the complexity of issues involved, the studies would examine the growth capacity of the areas over two time period, that is, in the next ten and 15 years. The Government would set out some parameters for the study, such as transport capacity, sewerage treatment facilities, pressure of urban growth, competing land uses, and environmental protection. Within these parameters, the consultants would identify different scenarios for further consideration by the Government. On the criteria for assessing the priority of the development packages drawn up by the consultants, the Government would take into account a number of considerations such as the land ownership pattern, accessibility, flooding impact and environmental protection. It was likely that areas where property developers had aggregated some land banks, and sites adjacent to stations of the future Western Corridor Railway would attract higher density developments. At a member’s request, PGTP undertook to provide an outline of the consultancy brief for members’ reference. Admin

43. A member asked if one single consultant would be engaged to carry out three studies to save cost. In response, DTD advised that it might be more appropriate to commission three separate consultancy studies in view of the different locations and characteristics of the study areas. This would also enable smaller consultancy firms to compete for the project(s). While computer modelling techniques would be an advantage especially for traffic impact assessments, PGTP considered that the consultants’ experience and knowledge of the district or sub-region concerned would be more important.

44.A member was concerned that the proposed studies might duplicate the scope of previous planning studies on Yuen Long, Kam Tin and Tuen Mun. In response, PGTP advised that while the Planning Department had completed three development statements for NWNT in 1994 to address short-term development needs, the proposed studies were to examine the medium and longer term strategic development in the areas. As the present studies would build onto the findings of previous studies, there would not be a waste of resources. Addressing a member’s concern about the possible interface problems should the long-term strategy studies identify changes to on-going development programmes, PGTP advised that minor modifications could be done by way of re-zoning, and the Government would respond to changes on a case-by-case basis. At the member’s request, he agreed to provide a list of the consultancy studies in respect of NWNT, before the item was forwarded to the Finance Committee for consideration. Admin

45. The item was voted on and endorsed. Mr Albert CHAN abstained pending further information from the Administration.

Revision in scope/approved estimate of projects in Category A




Tai O development, package 3, engineering works

46. Noting that the project was upgraded to Category A in 1976, a member asked about the reasons for the prolonged duration of the project. DTD explained that the project was a long-term land development programme covering the whole Tai O Town to be implemented by phases. He added that it was the practice in the 1970’s that long term projects of this kind were submitted to the Finance Committee in one package. In the present project, the majority of land development works at Tai O Town had been completed, and the remaining 1.8 hectares would be completed in about three years’ time.

47. With regard to the substantial increase in project costs over the past years, DTD advised that the project estimates had been revised on previous occasions to take into account additional works required and price adjustments due to inflation. He clarified that as the project was approved in 1976, details for individual programmes were not available at the time, hence the need for project re-definition before the works could be tendered. As far as the remaining site of 1.8 hectares was concerned, the increase in cost estimates was attributable to the additional site formation works due to under-estimation of the thickness of the soft clay layer on the remaining land, and inflation adjustments as the works would be completed in late 2000.

48. A member asked if the additional site formation works could be avoided if the ground condition was accurately assessed at an early stage. In response, DTD advised that it was not uncommon to have discrepancies between the site investigation findings and actual site conditions in land development projects. While more detailed site investigation would definitely give a closer estimate of the site conditions, additional works would still be required to suit the site conditions in this case. On the suggestion of changing the land use of the remaining site for recreational purpose in order to reduce site formation costs, DTD advised that the remaining 1.8 hectares were intended for low-density housing developments, and there would not be significant savings in costs even if the land was to be changed to non-construction uses.

49.At the request of a member, the Administration agreed to provide further information on the previous PWSC submissions leading to the present revised project estimates. Admin

50. The item was voted on and endorsed.

51. The Committee was adjourned at 1:15 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat

13 June 1997

Last Updated on 16 August 1999