Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. PWSC 12
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the
Provisional Legislative Council

Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Wednesday, 3 September 1997, at 10:45 am

Members present:

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Henry WU
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

Members absent :

Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Public officers attending :

Mr James HERD
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Bowen LEUNG, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Secretary for Works

Mr Rob LAW, JP
Director of Environmental Protection

Director of Architectural Services

Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (5)

Mr Raymond LAW
Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2)

Deputy Director of Highways

Mr Johnny CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)

Mr Bernard LAM, JP
Director of Civil Engineering

Clerk in attendance:

Mrs Vivian KAM
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5

Staff in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8


Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(97-98)463160SC Neighbourhood community centre, Land Development Corporation scheme K2 site, Shanghai Street

Members supported the construction of a Neighbourhood Community Centre (NCC) in the Yau Tsim Mong District in principle. A member enquired whether recent increases in construction costs and the Government's housing production targets for the coming years had been taken into account in calculating the inflation allowance. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) advised that the money-of-the-day (MOD) estimates were based on the best professional forecast of trend labour and construction prices for the project period. Relevant factors such as the intensity of production activities in the private and public sectors had been taken into account. Present indication was that the estimated costs were reasonable and adequate. Construction of the NCC would be entrusted to the Land Development Corporation (LDC) under a fixed price lump-sum contract, and both the project requirements and the contract price would be stipulated in the land lease granted to LDC. The contract price would be the MOD estimates discounting the items of "furniture and equipment" and "contingencies'. Under a fixed price lump-sum contract, LDC would not be eligible to claim for inflation price adjustment or other compensation unless the Government changed the project scope or requirements.

2.Noting that the NCC would be part of a hotel development, some members expressed concern on how the different usage and design requirements of the NCC and the hotel would be catered for in the same building. D Arch S advised that the hotel and the NCC would have separate entrances and separate access by different lifts. He assured members that the project would be developed as a complete package and that the external facade of the NCC and the hotel would be in harmony with one another.

3.Regarding the user departments or organizations of the NCC which had a total gross floor area of 3 102 m2, the Assistant Director of Home Affairs (AD/HA) advised that the multi-purpose hall, conference room and the office area, together comprised about 1 200m2, would be used and managed by the Home Affairs Department (HAD). The other facilities would be taken up by social welfare organizations subvented by the Social Welfare Department. He also confirmed that provision would be made for a sub-office of the Yau Tsim Mong District Office.

4.The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)473172SC Community hall in the redevelopment at Leighton Hill Quarters and Harcourt Place, Happy Valley

5.Members expressed support for the construction of a community hall in the Wanchai District. They sought clarification on the entrustment arrangement, the project estimates and the layout of the building in relation to the overall site conditions.

6.Regarding the entrustment arrangement, D Arch S advised that the construction of the community hall would be entrusted to the successful bidder of the concerned redevelopment site under a fixed price lump-sum contract. Similar to the previous project 3160SC, the contract price and requirements for the community hall would be stipulated in the lease conditions and the developer would likewise not be eligible to claim for inflation price adjustments or other compensation unless the Government changed the project scope and requirements. He added that any subsequent construction contracts entered into by the private developer for the construction of the community hall and other structures on the site would not affect the Government's liabilities under the entrustment contract with the developer. D Arch S also confirmed that the project estimates were drawn up with reference to those for comparable projects and that similar projects had in most cases been completed to the satisfaction of the Government without financial disputes.

7.With regard to the itemized project estimates, D Arch S explained that the estimate for "building" included estimated costs for "piling" and 'site formation". Unlike the previous project 3160SC in which the layout of the NCC was already defined, the layout and design of the community hall of the project under consideration had yet to be determined. Therefore, itemized breakdowns for the costs of piling and site formation were not available and the estimates had been arrived at as an aggregated sum with reference to the relevant costs for similar buildings.

8.In reply to a member on the significant difference between the estimated annual recurrent expenditure of $0.44 million for the project and that of $6.95 million for project 3160SC, AD/HA explained that the recurrent expenditure estimate for 3160SC covered facilities for both HAD and subvented organisations, of which $0.6 million was for HAD's facilities. This was comparable to the recurrent expenditure of $0.44 million for the current project which covered mainly electricity charges and expenses on maintenance, repair and cleaning. The provision of $0.8 million for "furniture and equipment" was the same for both projects, while furniture and equipment required by subvented organizations in project 3160SC would be funded separately through subvention.

9.On the unit construction costs, D Arch S advised that based on the gross floor areas and the project estimates (at December 1996 prices) with the items of "furniture and equipment" and "contingencies' being discounted, the unit costs for project 3160SC and the project under consideration were $13,165 and $14,263 per m2 respectively.

10.Noting that part of the community hall's layout was on a hill slope, a member enquired if the feasibility of the proposed layout had been ascertained. D Arch S advised that the site plan attached to the paper was indicative only and the developer could vary the layout provided the completed community hall could be accessed from both Wong Nai Chung Road and Leighton Hill. Given the large size of the redevelopment site, there should be little difficulty in accommodating the community hall on site but a bridge linking the community hall with Leighton Hill might be required.

11.Addressing a member's concern about the impact on traffic on Link Road and Broadwood Road during the construction period, D Arch S advised that the contractor would use mainly Wong Nai Chung Road for transportation of construction materials and thus the impact on other roads in the vicinity would not be significant. He also assured that relevant Government Departments would monitor the situation and liaise with the developer/contractor to minimize the impact on traffic in the area.

12.The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)446459TH Wing Tai Road flyover and improvements to associated road junctions

13.Members agreed with the need for the proposed flyover and road improvements to meet future traffic demand in Siu Sai Wan. They however noted that with regard to the traffic noise problem, and despite objections by the Provisional Eastern District Board and other resident groups, the Administration had declined the use of direct mitigation measures such as noise enclosures and barriers but had only undertaken to provide window insulation and air-conditioners for affected dwelling units. Some members expressed strong reservations on the Administration's justifications for such an arrangement, and were concerned that the effectiveness of the various mitigation measures might not have been thoroughly assessed in the light of the future housing and traffic developments in the area.

14.The Deputy Director of Highways (DD/Hy) explained that the proposed flyover and road improvements would help to relieve traffic congestion in the area. As regards future traffic demand, DD/Hy advised that according to a traffic study on the Island East completed in 1993, the population in Siu Sai Wan would reach 57 000 in 2001. Taking this and other relevant factors into account, including traffic demand generated by the recently completed stadium with a capacity of 12 000, the road network in Siu Sai Wan with the proposed flyover and road improvements would still have a spare capacity of 25% by 2011.

15.On the provision of noise mitigation measures, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) advised that the existing policy was to deal with traffic noise by direct mitigation measures as far as these were practicable and effective. Otherwise, indirect mitigation measures would be provided for affected dwellings whenever the noise impact exceeded the acceptable limits as a result of new road works. The Secretary for Works (S for W) added that procedurally, new road works must be gazetted under the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance and this provided an opportunity for the public to raise objection and/or express views on the appropriate mitigation measures.

16.Having noted the Administration's advice that the distance between the proposed flyover and the nearest dwelling units, i.e. Block 13 of Chai Wan Estate, would be 15 metres, a member commented that there should be sufficient space for access by fire engines on the at-grade roads and installation of a noise enclosure or barriers on the flyover would not restrict access by fire engines as claimed by the Administration. S for W agreed with the member but remarked that the noise enclosure or barrier would be 10 metres or more above ground and would thus probably obstruct fire fighting and other emergency operations.

17.As regards examples of noise enclosures, S for W advised that one such example was the section of the Kwun Tong Bypass near Kowloon Bay. DEP added that the noise enclosure at the Bypass was effective in reducing the impact on Richland Gardens nearby as there was no other source of traffic noise in the vicinity. The Administration further explained that noise generated by at-grade traffic in Siu Sai Wan at present already exceeded the acceptable limits, whereas traffic on the proposed flyover would only add one to two decibels to the noise level. Even if the flyover was enclosed, the noise impact from at grade traffic would still be above the acceptable limits. In the circumstances, the installation of window insulation and air-conditioners for affected dwelling units was considered more effective. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (PAS/T) confirmed that in accordance with existing policy, air-conditioners and window insulation were provided on an one-off basis, and owners or tenants of affected dwelling units were responsible for the maintenance and the electricity charges.

18.A member considered it important to uphold the principle for traffic noise arising from new road works to be dealt with at source by direct mitigation measures as far as possible, so that the new road component(s) would not aggravate the environmental impact on nearby residents. Given the Administration's advice that traffic flow on the flyover would constitute one-third of the total flow on Wing Tai Road, he believed that installing a noise enclosure or barriers on the flyover could reduce the environmental impact to a certain extent.

19.PAS/T stressed that the Administration's concern was not so much on the installation costs but the fact that the benefits to be derived from such direct mitigation measure of covering up the flyover would have minimal effect in reducing the noise impact. He also advised that noise reducing road surfacing had been considered for the at-grade roads, but was found impractical since the heavy stop-and-go traffic would cause the surfacing to peel off quickly and frequent maintenance would cause undue disturbance to the traffic. In reply to a member, DD/Hy confirmed that the option of constructing a tunnel had been considered, but was not worth pursuing as it would entail substantial land resumption.

20.Members noted that the Chai Wan Estate would be redeveloped into a Home Ownership Scheme estate and enquired about the timetable for redevelopment. DD/Hy advised that according to the Housing Department, residents of Block 13 of Chai Wan Estate would start moving out in 1999 but the schedule for completing the removal was not yet available. If the whole block was vacated before the proposed road works were completed, the number of dwelling units affected by the noise impact would be reduced by 207 to 253. On whether the effectiveness of direct mitigation measures had been assessed in the light of this development and if the Housing Department had been consulted on the project, DD/Hy said that consultation with the Housing Department might have taken place although he was not able to give any assurance. PAS/T added that under the existing mechanism for public housing planning, all relevant Departments would be consulted on the layout plan of each public housing project to ensure that the environmental impact of the road infrastructure would be fully taken into account in the orientation and layout of public housing blocks.

21.In the absence of a thorough assessment of the situation in the light of future housing developments in the area, some members held the view that the project would need to be reassessed considering the difficulties in adjusting the design of housing blocks to avoid the impact of road infrastructure which had already been completed. They saw a need for the Administration to plan for the longer term when drawing up proposals for road infrastructure and related environmental mitigation measures. The Administration reiterated that the feasibility and effectiveness of different mitigation measures had been studied in detail in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the project, which had been endorsed by the Advisory Council on the Environment. The EIA report concluded that since the traffic noise was mainly generated by at-grade traffic, enclosures or barriers on the flyover would have minimal effect in reducing the noise impact.

22.Members were still not convinced that direct mitigation measures were not worth pursuing in this project and requested the Administration to further assess the effectiveness of direct mitigation measures in the light of the planned housing developments in the area. At members' request, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3) agreed to withdraw the paper. The Chairman also requested the inclusion of information on the cost of installing noise barriers in the future re-submission of the proposal. Admin

23.The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

Revision in scope/approved estimate of project in
Category A


PWSC(97-98)455051BL Systematic identification and registration of slopes

24.Regarding follow-up action on the man-made slopes identified and inspected under the project, the Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) advised that upon completion of the project, the Administration would have a clearer picture of the overall scope of the slope safety problem and the required scale of landslip preventive measures. Based on such information, the Administration would proceed with a scheme to define the maintenance responsibilities for each slope identified and put forward relevant funding proposals. As regards red stripes placed on some man-made slopes recently, DCE explained that red stripes and warning signs were put up on substandard slopes to warn the public to stay away especially at times of inclement weather, and to provide information on the schedule of upgrading works.

25.In reply to a member, DCE confirmed that the increase in the estimated number of existing man-made slopes and the need to provide for an inflation allowance were the reasons for the proposed increases in the project estimates set out in Enclosure 2 of the paper. He added that due to the topography of Hong Kong, the number of man-made slopes would inevitably increase as more areas were developed, but the identification and inspection of the future man-made slopes would be dealt with by in-house resources. He took note of the Chairman's remark that landslip preventive works should be carried out in parallel with, rather than after, the completion of the slope identification and inspection works in order to effectively address the slopes safety problem.

26.The item was voted on and endorsed.

27.The Subcommittee was adjourned at 12:45 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
24 September 1997