LegCo Paper No. PWSC 80/96-97
(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, 23 April 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 Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling

Members absent :

    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Public officers attending :

    Mrs Carrie LAM
    Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
    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 H PAU, JP
    Director of Architectural Services
    Mr W W KWAN, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Economic Services (1)
    Mr Eric JOHNSON
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services (B)
    Ms Vera SO, JP
    Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (Administration & Markets)
    Mr T C CHAN
    District Lands Officer (Kowloon West), Lands Department
    Mr Philip CHAN
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (E)
    Chief Superintendent of Police (Planning & Development)
    Miss Annette LEE
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)
    Mr M Y CHENG
    Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)
    Mr John COLLIER, JP
    Director of Drainage Services
    Mr Bernard LAM, JP
    Director of Civil Engineering
    Government Geotechnical Engineer (Development)
    Mr C C LAY
    Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (Conservation)
    Dr M J BROOM
    Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Water Policy & Planning)
    Mr S S LEE, JP
    Director of Territory Development
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)
    Mr K S LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Director of Highways
    Mr Johnny CHAN
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)
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

PWSC(97-98)937FSCheung Sha Wan wholesale market complex - phase 2

Members noted that this was a re-submission item. The proposal had been considered but negatived at the Public Works Subcommittee meeting held on 5 March 1997. To address members’ queries, the Administration had provided supplementary information in the Enclosures to paper PWSC(97-98)9. Members were generally in support of the revised paper, and sought clarification on the arrangements in relation to market management, crime prevention and stall rentals.

2. On market management, the Deputy Secretary for Economic Services (1) (DS/ES(1)) advised that the Administration agreed in principle that the private sector could manage the wholesale markets, and the matter would be pursued after completing a study on the support of agricultural development and management of markets for agricultural produce in Hong Kong. The study was scheduled to start in July 1997 and the findings would be available by the end of 1997. As regards the management of wholesale fish markets, the Administration was at present considering the redevelopment of the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market in order to improve the financial viability of the Fish Marketing Organisation. Longer term issues about these markets would be considered at a later stage. In this connection, he noted a member’s comment that the Administration should speed up improvements in the management of wholesale markets for both agricultural and fisheries products.

3. With regard to the security arrangements for the proposed Cheung Sha Wan wholesale markets, DS/ES(1) advised that consultation with the Police over the security measures was on-going. Addressing a member’s concern about reports of triad activities in wholesale markets, DS/ES(1) said that the Agriculture and Fisheries Department would work closely with the Police to combat triad and criminal activities in wholesale markets.

4. A member asked whether the Administration would recover all construction and operation costs from stall rentals. DS/ES(1) replied that the Administration had not decided on the rental level for the proposed Cheung Sha Wan wholesale markets, and had noted traders’ concerns that the future stall rental should be affordable to users. In response to the member, he further advised that the Administration had not assumed full recovery of the capital cost from rental income in the present funding proposal.

5. The item was put to vote and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)5230LPRefurbishment of May House, Police Headquarters

6. While members agreed in principle that the Police Headquarters offices at May House required improvements, they had serious reservations about the cost-effectiveness of the refurbishment proposal. Considering that May House and the adjacent Caine House were over twenty years old and that the site had not been put to optimal use, members were of the view that the Administration should consider a comprehensive re-development of the site which would be more cost-effective than the refurbishment proposal. In discussing the refurbishment proposal, members sought clarification on the total floor area of May House and the cost-benefits of the proposal. In reply, the Administration provided the following information -

  1. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) clarified that the net floor area of May House should be 17 370 square metres instead of 13 270 square metres if common areas such as corridors, lift lobbies and toilets were included, representing a utilisation ratio of 76%.

  2. The refurbishment unit cost of $14,695 per square metre based on a net usable office area of 13 270 square metres was considered reasonable as it included provisions for new furniture and equipment, an improved telephone system and upgraded canteen facilities. The estimated cost was lower than the refurbishment costs for the Central Government Offices West Wing.

  3. By replacing the existing solid wall partitions in May House with an open plan office design, at least 15% or 3 500 square metres of the existing office space in May House could be released to accommodate some of the Police units now housed in leased accommodation. This would save about $15 million in rent annually.

7. Members considered that it would not be economical to spend a large sum of public money to refurbish May House which would be redeveloped in the foreseeable future. Moreover, some of the refurbishment items such as new furniture and upgrading of canteen facilities were not essential. The Administration responded that May House was in need of substantial improvement works, and could be occupied for at least another 20 years after refurbishment. With regard to the reprovisioning plan for the May House and other buildings in the Arsenal Yard, the Chief Superintendent of Police advised that the Government was considering a number of options including re-development of the site. This option would take seven to eight years to materialise given the long lead time required for planning and consultation with concerned parties. As there was an urgent need to refurbish the Police Headquarters at May House to bring its building services and fires installations up to standard, he hoped members could support the refurbishment proposal.

8. After discussion, members were still unconvinced that refurbishing May House would be the most cost-effective option, and they requested the Administration to review the proposal. The Chairman advised the Administration to consider a long term plan for reprovisioning the Police Headquarters, and provide further information to the Subcommittee on the options and the timeframe for a comprehensive re-development plan in this regard. In view of members’ strong reservations, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (1) withdrew the proposal.

9. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

PWSC(97-98)6187EPSecond primary school in area 57, Tseung Kwan O
188EPFirst primary school in area 57, Tseung Kwan O

10. In response to a member, D Arch S confirmed that the proposed primary school 188EP would be provided with two basketball courts as in 187EP.

11. The item was put to vote and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)7202ESThird secondary school in area 56, Tseung Kwan O
209ESTwo secondary school in area 56, Tseung Kwan O

12. The item was put to vote and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)2125DSTolo Harbour sewerage of unsewered areas

13. In reply to a member, the Director of Drainage Services confirmed that the proposed sewerage facilities had taken into account all approved future residential developments in Tai Po.

14. The item was put to vote and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)4480CLDisposal of contaminated mud - management and capping of contaminated mud pit IV

15. A member expressed concern about the possible leakage of contaminated mud from barges during transportation to the seabed disposal pits. In response, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) and the Principal Environmental Protection Officer advised that contractors had to comply with the permit condition that no contaminated mud should be disposed outside the boundaries of the mud pits. All barges must be fitted with automatic surveillance devices which recorded precisely the time and place barges were loaded and unloaded, and the quantity of the material. The Environmental Protection Department would keep a close watch on loading operations and inspect records regularly to detect losses other than at the dump site. The Civil Engineering Department would maintain a site office at the disposal pit to ensure dumping was properly carried out. So far there had not been any cases of significant losses of contaminated mud during transportation.

16. A member commented that the unit cost for disposing contaminated mud at the fourth contamination mud pit (CMP IV) at East Sha Chau was rather high. In response, the Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) advised that the unit cost of $22 per tonne for CMP IV was in fact lower than the normal cost of $55 per tonne because no dredging work would be required for CMP IV which would use existing seabed borrow pits left empty by the construction of the Chek Lap Kok Airport.

17. Noting that a provision of $118.7 million would be required for environmental monitoring and audit programme for CMP IV, a member suggested that more effective control of the mud disposal activities could save some environmental monitoring and audit works. In response, DCE agreed to examine if any savings could be identified in this respect.

18. On the feasibility of disposing contaminated mud outside Hong Kong, SPEL advised that as a signatory to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Hong Kong Government was bound by the Convention not to dispose of any contaminated mud outside Hong Kong waters.

19. In reply to a member, SPEL advised that it was Government policy to retain contaminated mud in the seabed of reclamation areas as far as possible, and that this would apply to the proposed reclamation area at Kowloon Bay adjacent to the apron of Kai Tak Airport.

20. The item was put to vote and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)3552CLRemaining development in Tung Chung and Tai Ho - comprehensive feasibility study

21. Members were generally in support of the proposed feasibility study to accelerate the provision of residential sites in Tung Chung and Tai Ho in order to help meet the anticipated territorial housing demand.

22. In referring to the proposed study area boundary, a member commented that the Administration should not assume that reclamation would be the only viable option to provide residential land in the area. The Director of Territory Development (DTD) responded that the study followed the recommendations of the Territorial Development Strategy Review (TDSR) conducted in 1996 which indicated that reclamation would be the most cost-effective option for the area. While the proposed study could explore other alternatives such as slope-cutting and hill-top levelling, SPEL advised that given the topographical conditions of the area, these options would likely pose technical difficulties and result in higher land production costs.

23. Members were concerned that some flexibility should be allowed in land use planning to cater for subsequent changes in the demand for housing and other facilities. DTD responded that the study would be a comprehensive development review of the areas in order to meet an increase in the population target from 210 000 to 320 000 by year 2011. Some flexibility would be provided in land use zoning and plot ratios to meet future developmental needs.

24. In reply to a member, DTD advised that the proposed Traffic and Transport Impact Assessment study would examine the internal traffic and transport needs of the new town and how they would be connected to external links. As to whether the road interchange located between the proposed phase 3 and phase 4 development sites at Tai Ho could be completed earlier than 2011, DTD said that this could be examined in the study.

25. In response to a member, DTD advised that the Islands District Board had been consulted on the proposed development of Tung Chung and Tai Ho and the Board had no objection to the proposal. The Administration would keep the Islands District Board informed of developments. On the reason for not including Yam O in the study, SPEL explained that Yam O would not be suitable for residential development as it was subject to the noise impact of the new airport. Nevertheless, it was designated for port development and related uses.

26. Responding to a member, DTD advised that the site investigation works in the proposed study would not duplicate those in studies covering the previous phases of development in Tung Chung. He also noted a member’s suggestion that a seaside promenade and a bicycle lane should be provided along the coast line of the new town.

27. The item was put to vote and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)1553CLFeasibility study for intensification and extension of Tseung Kwan O New Town

28. Members supported the proposed feasibility study to increase the development capacity of Tseung Kwan O (TKO) new town to meet the increased housing demand identified in the TDSR. In reply to a member, DTD clarified that the study was aimed at developing the new town to accommodate a 50% increase in the target population, and the study area boundary would cover the proposed reclamation area in TKO and areas identified for further development in previous studies. The TKO Industrial Estate and Fat Tong Chau being non-residential areas were outside the area of this study.

29. On the scope of the study, some members were concerned about the creation of employment opportunities in new towns. In response, DTD advised that the study would examine the provision of commercial and industrial sites and ancillary facilities which would lead to job opportunities for the residents. In this respect, the Chairman advised that employment was an important aspect which should be addressed in the study.

30. Responding to a member who expressed concern about the adequacy of transport facilities in the new town, DTD advised that in addition to the proposed Mass Transit Railway extension to TKO which was based on the previous population target of 325 000, the need for additional transport infrastructure would also be examined in the light of the increased population. In this connection, he noted the member’s suggestion that environmental friendly modes of transport, such as railless tram and light-rail transit, could be considered for internal transport in the new town.

31. With regard to the provision of open space and recreational facilities in the TKO new town, DTD advised that these would be provided according to Government’s planning standards and guidelines. He agreed to look into the provision of aquatic sports and recreational facilities in the study.

32. The item was put to vote and endorsed.

Revision in scope/approved estimate of projects in Category A

PWSC(97-98)8551THSmithfield extension and associated roadworks

33. Noting that the increased expenditure was attributed largely to the additional foundation works due to unforeseen site conditions, a member asked whether this could have been anticipated during the site investigation stage. In response, the Director of Highways (DHy) explained that difficulties had been encountered during site investigation, which made it virtually impossible to obtain an accurate assessment of the actual bedrock level. This was due to the steep terrain of the site and the existence of squatter huts and some 55 graves which were awaiting removal when the site investigations were carried out. The site investigation boreholes could only be sunk in accessible areas not obstructed by the structures and graves and not at the desired locations of the bridge and abutment foundations. Therefore the rock level along the alignment had to be interpolated and interpreted from the borehole records. The graves were cleared only after a lengthy litigation process and after the commencement of works leading to a delay of six months in the implementation programme. While appreciating that it was often difficult to ascertain site conditions in Hong Kong, the member commented that Government should be well aware of such problems and make provisions to cater for unforeseen circumstances in public works estimates.

34. In reply to a member, DHy confirmed that the project estimates included provisions for indirect noise mitigation measures for about 84 flats in affected buildings.

35. Responding to a member’s concern about road safety in view of the tight curvature of Smithfield Road, DHy advised that the Government would impose suitable speed limits for the road.

36. The item was put to vote and endorsed.

37. The Committee was adjourned at 12:15 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
14 May 1997

Last Updated on 16 August 1999