Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(1) 868
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/PL/TP/1, CB1/PL/HG/1

Panel on Transport
Panel on Housing

Minutes of joint meeting held on
Monday, 15 December 1997, at 2:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Members of Transport Panel

Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP (Chairman)
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung (Deputy Chairman)
*Hon WONG Siu-yee
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming
*Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
*Hon CHAN Choi-hi
*Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
*Hon LAU Kong-wah
*Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
*Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Members of Housing Panel

Hon CHAN Yuen-han (Chairman)
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee (Deputy Chairman)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam

Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting

Member attending :

Hon KAN Fook-yee

Members absent :

Members of Transport Panel

*Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
*Hon CHAN Kam-lam
*Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Members of Housing Panel

Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

* Also members of the Housing Panel

Public officers attending :

Housing Bureau

Mr Andrew R Wells,
Deputy Secretary for Housing

Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)

Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau

Mr Esmond LEE,
Principal Assistant Secretary (Lands)

Transport Bureau

Mr Kevin HO,
Deputy Secretary for Transport

Works Bureau

Deputy Secretary for Works

Territory Development Department

Assistant Director (Technical)

Clerk in attendance :

Ms LEUNG Siu-kum,
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2

Ms Estella CHAN,
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4

Staff in attendance :

Miss Becky YU,
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)3

Mr Andy LAU,
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)6

I Election of Chairman

At the request of members, Mrs Miriam LAU chaired the meeting for the purpose of electing the Chairman.

2. Nominated by Mr Andrew WONG and seconded by Mr LEE Kai-ming and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok, Mrs Miriam LAU was elected Chairman of the joint meeting.

II Development of the infrastructure for meeting the housing production target
(PLC Paper Nos. CB(1) 655(01) and (02))

3. At the invitation of the Chairman, the Deputy Secretary for Housing (DS for H) and the Deputy Secretary for Works (DS for W) highlighted the new initiatives and arrangements for expediting housing-related reclamation and infrastructure projects in the information papers. Members then proceeded to the discussion session.

Effectiveness of the arrangements under the new approach

4. Most of the members showed concern about the amount of time reduced resulting from the new integrated planning and engineering feasibility study approach to expedite the development process. DS for W explained that in the past when a strategic growth area (SGA) was identified under the Territorial Development Strategy Review (TDSR), an outline planning study would be conducted to ascertain the land use and the development framework of the SGA. Upon endorsement of the recommendations of the outline planning study, an engineering feasibility study would then be undertaken to examine in more detail various aspects of the development in the areas, including transport, environment, drainage, etc. Generally speaking, a total of 36 months was required for the entire process. With the new approach, certain administrative procedures could be conducted in parallel, thereby reducing the processing time significantly. By way of illustration, DS for W said that the time for planning and development of the Northeast and Northwest New Territories SGAs using the integrated planning and engineering feasibility study approach would be 24 months which was 12 months shorter than the traditional approach. The Assistant Director/Technical (AD/T) however pointed out that the setting of a standard reduced time was not practical as the duration of various procedures could vary depending on the complexity of areas concerned.

5. In response to a related question on the capacity of the 10 SGAs identified under TDSR to meet the increasing demand arising from population growth which had far exceeded the original projection, DS for W assured members that further studies would be undertaken to ascertain the trend of population growth and current plans and programmes would be adjusted, if necessary, to meet the demand. DS for H added that the pledge for annual provision of 85,000 flats was a territory-wide program and was not confined to SGAs.

New tendering arrangements

6. As regards the Administration's proposal to allow all tenders for housing-related projects to be invited in parallel with the upgrading of projects to Category A, some members expressed concern that the Finance Committee (FC) might be compelled to give funding approval hastily. They asked if the Administration would consider extending the validity period of tenders to allow sufficient time for FC to examine the related funding proposals. DS for H stressed that the scheme aimed at reducing the time for the overall housing development process. This would not commit the Administration to expenditure on construction work since tenderers concerned were fully aware that construction contracts would only be awarded after the necessary funding was approved by FC. DS for W cautioned that tender bids would go up in the event of an extended validity period. As regards a member's suggestion of creating a separate head for works under the new scheme, DS for W considered this not necessary as the new scheme would only apply to housing-related projects and the Administration would draw FC's attention to such projects.

Entrustment of infrastructural projects

7. While appreciating the proposal of entrusting the design and construction of infrastructure relating to housing development to building developers, a member emphasized the need for the Administration to monitor the construction process to ensure good quality of these facilities. DS for W explained the objective of the proposal which was to expedite the delivery of housing development through the reduction of interface problems with government projects. The Deputy Secretary for Transport (DS for T) supplemented that the Administration would ensure that the entrusted works built under the proposed scheme would be in compliance with the requirements promulgated by the relevant Departments.

Monitoring mechanism

8. To ensure timely delivery of flats, a directorate officer would be nominated to oversee each of the some 960 housing sites and the officer would be held personally responsible for timely completion of the development. In the event of any problem impeding the speedy progress of housing projects which could not be resolved at departmental levels, it would be immediately escalated to the central Government for resolution. At members’ request, the Administration undertook to provide a flow chart showing the line of accountability of individual concerned departments in the flat production process. Admin

9. As regards the role of the Transport Bureau in meeting the housing production target, DS for T advised that transport needs arising from SGAs would be examined in a transport impact assessment study as part of the integrated planning and engineering feasibility study to formulate the road system servicing the areas. For housing sites in existing planned areas, the Administration would ascertain the adequacy of the existing infrastructure to meet the increase in demand.

10. Addressing a member's concern about the capacity of the construction industry in meeting the demand of construction projects, DS for H affirmed that the Administration would closely monitor the situation and, if necessary, take appropriate early measures to alleviate any specific constraint which might arise. To ascertain the manpower needs of the construction industry, the Education and Manpower Bureau had commissioned a manpower study and the respective report would be made available to members in due course. Admin

III Any other business

11. Members agreed to hold the second joint meeting on Tuesday, 17 March 1997, at 2:30 pm.

12. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 3:35 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
4 February 1998