LC Paper No.PWSC128/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee
of the Legislative Council

Minutes of the sixteenth meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Wednesday, 12 May 1999, at 10:45 am

Members present :

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Member attending :

Hon CHOY So-yuk

Member absent :

Hon Margaret NG

Public officers attending :

Mr James HERD
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Patrick LAU, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Secretary for Works

Deputy Director of Environmental Protection

Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

Deputy Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

Director of Territory Development

Mr Albert CHENG
Chief Assistant Secretary for Works (Programme Management)

Chief Engineer (Hong Kong), Transport Department

Director of Highways

Principal Government Engineer/Railway Development, Highways Department

Mr Davey CHUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (4)

Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Noise Management & Policy Group), Environmental Protection Department

Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (3)
Clerk in attendance:
Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2
Staff in attendance:

Miss Polly YEUNG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8
The Chairman drew members' attention to the provisions in the Rules of Procedure regarding disclosure of personal pecuniary interest and explained that Rule 84 of the Rules of Procedure would apply to the proceedings of this Subcommittee. In reply to some members' questions, he advised that a member was required to declare out of his initiative any direct or indirect pecuniary interests he might have in a matter before the Subcommittee according to the circumstances laid down in Rule 84(2) and (3). He further pointed out that as far as this Subcommittee was concerned, whilst a member who had a direct pecuniary interest in an item could not vote (Rule 84(1)), he needed not withdraw when the vote was taken since his presence would not affect the voting result of this Subcommittee where only the votes of members who were in support of or against a proposal were counted.


New Items - Upgrading of projects to Category A

Head 707 - New Towns and Urban Area Development

PWSC(1999-2000)13653CLEngineering infrastructure for Cyberport Development at Telegraph Bay

2. Members noted that this item had been discussed at the joint panel meeting of the Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting (ITB) and the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works on 29 April 1999 and at a special meeting of the ITB Panel on 5 May 1999. In response to Dr LEONG Che-hung's enquiry on whether members of the Panels had come to any consensus on the Cyberport project, Mr SIN Chung-kai, Chairman of ITB Panel, confirmed that members of the Panels had not reached any consensus or had any collective views on the subject at the meetings.

3. Mr Edward HO declared interest that he was a director of a firm which had submitted an architectural consultancy proposal to the Pacific Century Group (PCG) on the Cyberport project. He said that although pending its formal agreement with the Government, PCG had not confirmed the appointment of his firm as the consultant architect for the project, he had decided not to participate in the discussion and the voting on this item to avoid any possible conflict of interests.

4. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG stated that he was a consultant of Woo, Kwan, Lee & Lo Solicitors & Notaries, the legal representatives of PCG, but he did not consider that this connection constituted a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the Cyberport project.

5. Referring to press reports that he might have a pecuniary interest in the Cyberport project, Mr Eric LI said that he was an independent non-executive director of several listed companies, but not of any of the group of ten property development companies (the Group) which had put forward an alternative proposal to Government on the Cyberport. He informed the Subcommittee that he only received honoraria for these directorships and he did not consider that he had any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the Cyberport project. He further clarified that he had already registered an interest regarding these directorships with the Legislative Council Secretariat.

6. Miss Emily LAU said that according to what she gathered from recent press releases issued by the Group, these companies were prepared to take up both the information technology (IT) portion and the residential portion of the Cyberport project on terms no less favourable than those being offered by PCG. She therefore asked whether the Administration would consider putting the Cyberport project to public auction/tender at this stage. In reply, the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting (SITB) read from the Group's press release of 10 May 1999 the following statement: "Urging the Government to put the residential part of the project up for public tender and to protect any downside risk to the Government, it had made a commitment by underwriting a "minimum" reserve price of HK$8 billion on the assumption that some 4.2 million square feet of gross residential area would be available for sale by public auction". SITB said that from the statement, it was quite clear that the Group was only interested in the residential part of the Cyberport project. He also confirmed that up to 11 May 1999, the Administration had not received any formal proposal from the Group expressing their preparedness to implement the IT part of the project.

7. In response to Miss LAU's query about the reasons why the Administration considered PCG a leading IT company capable of implementing the Cyberport project successfully, SITB said that as PCG had entered into a joint venture named Pacific Convergence Corporation with Intel Corporation to develop interactive digital information services in the Asia-Pacific region, the Administration was confident of the company's standing as a leading IT firm.

8. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that Members of the Democratic Party (DP) supported the idea of building a Cyberport in Hong Kong, but could not accept that the development right for the Cyberport would be awarded without going through an open tendering process. Members of DP also could not accept that the need for speedy implementation of the project should justify a departure from the long held principle of open and fair competition, which was one of the keys to Hong Kong's prosperity and success. He further stated that despite the Administration's assurance that they had conducted consultations with relevant parties, it was clear that the consultation process was confused and unfair. To ensure fairness, he suggested that the present funding proposal be deferred for three months, during which period the Cyberport project should be put to open tender/public auction so that the best candidate for implementing the project could be selected through an open and competitive process.

9. In response, SITB stressed that Hong Kong must move fast in providing an environment conducive to the development of IT and information services (IS) in order to secure "first-mover" advantages. Going through the tendering procedures would delay the project by one year or so which would disadvantage Hong Kong amidst the keen competition in the region and rapid developments in IT. He also pointed out that the announcement of the Cyberport project had successfully put Hong Kong on the global IT/IS map. Up to the present, 10 leading IT companies had signed letters of intent to become anchor tenants of the Cyberport and another 30 IT companies had registered interest as prospective tenants. The Government's Overseas Economic and Trade Offices and the Financial Secretary during his overseas visits had received very positive feedback on the Cyberport project from overseas investors. Against these developments, SITB advised that delay of the Cyberport project by one year or so might jeopardize the success of the project since those companies which had registered interest might withdraw their plans for establishing IT/IS offices in Hong Kong.

10. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that according to some leading IT companies, deferring the Cyberport project for three months or so would not significantly affect investors' interests, and that it was feasible to complete the tendering procedures in three months, if the Administration would not adhere to its bureaucratic procedures. In response, SITB stated his disagreement with Mr LEE's comment.

11. In this connection, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong suggested that the proposed infrastructure works for the Cyberport be implemented as scheduled through public tendering instead of by entrustment to PCG, and meanwhile, the Administration would conduct a tendering exercise for the Cyberport project. In response, SITB said that the overall planning and other preparatory work for the Cyberport development also had to be taken forward urgently. Mr CHEUNG then asked whether the Administration would consider withholding the project for six months to allow time for a public tendering exercise if the present proposal was rejected by this Subcommittee. S/ITB reiterated that putting the project to public tender at this stage would delay the project for at least one year which would seriously jeopardize the chance of success for the project.

12. Miss Christine LOH and Mr Ambrose CHEUNG considered that the information available so far was insufficient to enable them to take a position on the proposed Cyberport development and on the Administration's decision of awarding the development right for the ancillary residential development to PCG. They suggested that the present proposal be deferred for two to three weeks and in the meantime, the ITB Panel should invite academics, the IT sector and other concerned parties to discuss the subject with Members. In response, SITB said that at the relevant Panel meetings and in the information papers provided to Panel members, the Administration had already explained in detail the background and reasons for implementing the Cyberport project as presently proposed. He therefore requested members to endorse the present proposal to enable early implementation of the project.

13. Mr James TIEN said that Members of the Liberal Party (LP) were in support of the Cyberport concept and concurred that timing was critical for its successful implementation. Members of LP however considered that the process through which the Administration had come to a decision to award the development right of the Cyberport to PCG was unprecedented and questioned whether a precedent had been set for future development projects. He specifically asked whether, upon receipt of a development proposal from a private company which the Administration considered worth pursuing, the Administration would pursue the project through private negotiations and agreement with the company concerned without going through public tendering procedures.

14 Mr Eric LI said that he supported the Cyberport project in principle, and appreciated that timing was critical for the project. He however had reservation on the process through which the Administration had arrived at a decision to award the development right to PCG. He also pointed out that the present proposal was primarily concerned with the infrastructure works for the Cyberport, yet the Administration had presented it in such a way that members were also required to approve the entrustment arrangement of the infrastructure works. He considered this unfair to members. He stated that as long as the project could be implemented in a way beneficial to the community at large, he was not too concerned about which company was awarded the development right. However, he was deeply concerned that the terms of the current and future agreements between the Government and PCG might place the Government in a disadvantaged position and the project might not be implemented as planned by the Government. Pointing out that the Legislative Council had no statutory power over the disposal of land and other non-financial agreements with private entities, he urged the Administration to make clear its policy on awarding development rights through private negotiations and to establish a proper mechanism under which the Administration would be made accountable to the Legislative Council in the relevant decision-making process. As regards the Cyberport project, he asked the Administration to maintain a dialogue with Members with particular regard to the terms agreed and to be agreed with the developer company, even if the present proposal on infrastructure works was approved.

15. Mr CHENG Kai-nam also expressed concern at the process through which the Administration arrived at the decision to award the development rights for both the IT and the residential development of the Cyberport project to PCG. He urged the Administration to account for the decision to the public and to make clear whether the aforesaid decision-making process would set a precedent for future cases.

16. In response to members' queries and comments, SITB acknowledged that the decision-making process on the Cyberport was not common. On this occasion, the Administration considered that the Cyberport was an infrastructure facility urgently required for Hong Kong. After sounding out the IT sector and having ascertained that PCG was a leading IT company possessing the necessary expertise in the IT field, the Administration decided that the Cyberport project should be pursued at full speed in co-operation with PCG. He further advised that while he envisaged that the way in which the development right for the Cyberport was awarded would be adopted only very rarely, he could not pre-empt the Administration adopting a similar approach in future projects. In view of the deep concerns of Members and the public on this occasion, the Administration would draw up and make known policy guidelines for future projects similar to the Cyberport, including those initiated by private companies. He added that these guidelines would mainly be principles rather than detailed procedures as the circumstances of each project would be different. In reply to Mr James TIEN's enquiry on when the policy guidelines would be released, SITB said that he could not confirm the timetable at this stage. As regards the mechanism through which Members could participate in the decision-making process on land disposal matters, he said that while it was not an established practice to involve Members on every occasion of land disposal, the Administration would consult Members on such disposal when appropriate.

17. Mr SIN Chung-kai said that the IT sector was in support of the Cyberport project and he himself welcomed the idea. He acknowledged that upon the announcement of the Cyberport project, much attention of the global IT sector had been drawn to Hong Kong. He however had strong reservation over the way the Administration had pursued the project which indeed had caused wide concerns and controversy and had adversely affected the Government's reputation in upholding the principle of open and fair competition. Notwithstanding, the IT sector considered it important to proceed with the Cyberport project as timely implementation of the project was very important for Hong Kong's long-term development. He therefore would vote for the item but would urge the Administration not to abandon the principle of open and fair competition. He requested and SITB agreed to keep Members updated of the progress of the project at the ITB Panel.Admin.

18. In response to Mr James TO's query on whether it was necessary to award the development rights for both the IT part and the residential part of the Cyberport to the same private company, SITB said that the intention was to generate revenue from the residential part to finance the IT part of the Cyberport. Besides, if these two parts of the project were to be implemented by different developers, interface problems would likely arise which in turn would cause delay to the project.

19. Mr LEE Wing-tat and Miss Emily LAU commented that SITB had failed to account for the decision on the award of development rights to PCG despite members' repeated queries on this. They considered that on this occasion, the Administration had departed from the principle of open and fair competition. Miss Emily LAU further suggested that the ITB Panel convene an urgent meeting to provide an opportunity for the aforesaid group of ten property development companies to state their views on this subject, and the special Panel meeting should in any event be held before the Finance Committee meeting on 21 May 1999 to consider the present proposal. 20. Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) were in support of the project on account of its importance to the restructuring of the Hong Kong economy. Members of DAB considered that while the Administration should maintain a dialogue with various parties concerned, implementation of the Cyberport project should not be deferred.

21. On the reasons for entrusting part of the proposed infrastructure works at an estimated cost of $795.0 million (at December 1998 prices) to PCG on a lump sum basis, SITB explained that for infrastructure works which would be carried out concurrently and within the same site boundary of the project works of a private development, it was a common practice for Government to entrust the infrastructure works to the developer concerned to avoid interface problems and to facilitate more efficient works programming. The Chief Assistant Secretary for Works (Programme Management) added that the same entrustment arrangement had also been adopted in other projects such as the Container Terminal 9 and the River Trade Terminal in Tuen Mun.

22. On the concern about whether the cost estimates for the entrusted works were reasonable, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) advised that the estimates had been carefully calculated and scrutinized by all the bureaux and departments concerned. Having examined the individual cost items in detail, the Administration considered the estimates reasonable. He confirmed that as the proposed entrusted works to PCG would be executed on a lump sum basis, the Government would not reimburse nor recover from the developer any sums different to the actual costs incurred.

23. As to how the Administration would monitor the entrusted infrastructure works, DTD advised that the Administration would engage an independent checking engineer (ICE) to ensure that the design and construction works would comply with Government's requirements. The details of the ICE's duties and the mechanism through which the Administration would monitor his employment and performance had already been outlined in the discussion paper. The fees of $4.0 million for the ICE had also been included in the project estimates.

24. Miss CHAN Yuen-han said that Members of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions were in support of the Cyberport project. She was however concerned about whether the Government's policies on and implementation of technology transfer and manpower training could tie in with the project and meet its objectives. In response, SITB said that the Cyberport project was a major initiative of Government's Digital 21 Information Technology Strategy. He confirmed that providing education and training in IT was a major concern of Government's education and IT polices, and the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau would maintain close liaison with the Education and Manpower Bureau in this regard. He further advised that while the Administration would appeal to multi-national and overseas IT companies to set up offices in the Cyberport, it would also encourage local firms to make use of the Cyberport facilities. He trusted that given the favourable environment provided by the Cyberport, there would be ample opportunities for the development of local IT talents.

25. Miss CHAN further commented that apparently, the Administration had no clear policy to facilitate technology transfer through the Cyberport project. Dr Raymond HO echoed Miss CHAN's concern and enquired whether the Administration would consider including conditions relating to technology transfer in future tenancy agreements of the Cyberport. In reply, SITB advised that imposition of conditions requiring tenants to employ a certain number of local workers might be considered too stringent by prospective tenants. He felt that tenants should be given the freedom to decide their mode of operation, and this kind of obligations were neither preferable nor necessary. He also pointed out that multi-national and overseas IT companies would employ local IT professionals and technicians to work in their offices at the Cyberport based on their business considerations.

26. Mr James TO cautioned that it might not be realistic to place too high an expectation on the Cyberport with regard to technology transfer and the grooming of local IT talents though these objectives might be incidental to the project. He said that it might be more realistic to focus the development of IT talents in local tertiary institutions.

27. Mr CHAN Kam-lam expressed concern on whether the surrounding road networks would have sufficient capacity to cope with the traffic demand of the Cyberport development. The Deputy secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting advised that during the initial two years of construction, construction materials would be transported to Telegraph Bay by barges and thus the impact on road traffic would be limited during this period. As regards the overall transport network for the development, the Chief Engineer (Hong Kong), Transport Department, advised that a number of road improvement projects for the Western and Southern districts including the construction of a flyover linking Western Harbour Crossing and Rumsey Street Flyover in Central and the road improvement and traffic management projects in Kennedy Town had already been completed. Other improvement projects in the Pokfulam area were in progress and would be completed before the opening of the first phase of the Cyberport. According to the relevant traffic impact assessment study, after the completion of these road projects, the capacity of the surrounding road networks would be sufficient to cope with the additional traffic demand generated by the Cyberport development. He also pointed out that as the Cyberport would consist of both commercial and residential developments, the volume of traffic from and to the Cyberport would be fairly evenly distributed during the day, thus reducing the pressure on one-way traffic flow.

28. In reply to Dr Raymond HO's enquiry about the sewage treatment facilities for the Cyberport development, DTD advised that the proposed sewage treatment plant at Telegraph Bay and the 300 metres long submarine outfall would provide sewage treatment for the Cyberport development before the commissioning of the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme (SSDS) Stages III & IV scheduled for 2007/08. The sewage treatment plant would provide standard preliminary sewage treatment as well as chemical treatment and disinfection and these treatment processes would ensure that sewage discharged to the sea waters would meet the established standards. He confirmed that the standard of treatment of these facilities was equivalent to the standard of option 1 of SSDS II introduced at a joint Panel meeting on 5 February 1999. Addressing Dr HO's concern about the consequences of a delay in the SSDS III/IV, DTD advised that this would not cause serious problems as the aforesaid facilities had a design capacity to cope with the demand of the Cyberport development for at least 10 years.

29. In reply to Dr HO's enquiry about the provision of noise mitigation measures at an estimated cost of $73 million, DTD referred to the drawing enclosed with the paper and advised that noise barriers and low noise road surfacing would be provided at roads D1 and D2. As to whether alternative mitigation measures like tree planting which were aesthetically more desirable than noise barriers had been explored, DTD advised that due to adjacent steep slopes and the short distance between the roads and the buildings, noise barriers would be the most effective noise abatement measure.

30. The item was put to vote. 14 members voted for the item, 10 voted against and 1 abstained. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG was present but did not cast a vote.

    Mr Kenneth TING Woo-shouMr James TIEN Pei-chun
    Dr Raymond HO Chung-tai Miss CHAN Yuen-han
    Mr CHAN Kam-lam Dr LEONG Che-hung
    Mr CHENG Kai-namMr SIN Chung-kai
    Mr WONG Yung-kanMr LAU Kong-wah
    Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yeeMr Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
    Mr TAM Yiu-chungDr TANG Siu-tong
    (14 members)

    Miss Cyd HO Sau-lanMr Albert HO Chun-yan
    Mr LEE Wing-tat Mr Fred LI Wah-ming
    Mr James TO Kun-sun Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Miss Christine LOH Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo Mr SZETO Wah
    (10 members)

    Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung
    (1 member)
31. The item was endorsed by the Subcommittee.

Head 706 - Highways

PWSC(1999-2000)1439TRWest Rail (phase 1) - essential public infrastructure works for Sham Shui Po section

32. Regarding the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of installing noise barriers to abate traffic noise impact on the future housing developments adjacent to Road P1, the Director of Highways (DHy) explained that while the West Kowloon Expressway (WKE) was the main source of traffic noise affecting these developments, it was not feasible to install noise barriers along the relevant sections of WKE as these sections had not been designed to accommodate the additional loading. The erection of noise barriers at ground level along Road P1, though technically feasible, was considered not to be cost-effective. These noise barriers, costing about $100 million, would only reduce the noise level by about one decibel. Additional noise mitigation measures for the future housing developments would still be required to keep the noise level within established guidelines and standards.

33. Mr LEE Wing-tat expressed support for the present proposal. However, he opined that the Administration should consider providing direct mitigation measures along existing highways and new highways under planning to abate traffic noise impact on future housing developments adjacent to the highways. Housing Department (HD), which was the developer of site 10 in this case, should not be required to devise their own on-site mitigation measures. Mr Edward HO echoed Mr LEE's view. He informed the Subcommittee that the relevant policy would be followed up by the Planning, Lands and Works Panel. As regards the present proposal, he agreed with the Administration that the existing WKE, rather than the proposed Road P1, would be the main source of traffic noise to the future adjacent housing developments. However, he was not fully convinced that it was not feasible to install noise barriers on the WKE viaduct to abate the traffic noise impact at source.XX

34. Miss Emily LAU said that she was still gravely concerned about the adverse environmental impact brought about by the West Rail (Phase 1) (WR(1)) and the proposed new roads. In response to her enquiry about the effectiveness of adjusting the orientation of residential buildings in reducing traffic noise impact, the Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Noise Management & Policy Group) (PEPO/NM&PG) advised that the difference between the noise level at a building with the front window facing the highway in question at an angle of 180 degrees and that at a building with the window facing the highway at an angle of 90 degrees was only three decibels. He added that apart from adjusting the orientation of buildings, HD would explore other feasible measures such as locating non-noise sensitive facilities as a buffer between the highways and the future housing blocks, constructing the housing blocks on a podium and installing air-conditioners at affected residential units.

35. Expressing similar concern about the traffic noise impact of new highways, Miss CHAN Yuen-han enquired about the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of building underpasses/subways, instead of at-grade roads and elevated highways, in new development areas such as the South East Kowloon Development. In reply, DHy confirmed that the Administration would explore the option of underpasses/subways in the planning for new development areas, but he pointed out that this option would involve issues such as substantially higher construction and maintenance costs, the need to provide ventilation facilities and the question of the interface with existing at-grade road networks etc. Miss CHAN considered that notwithstanding these constraints, new ideas about transport facilities should be explored when planning for new developments with a view to minimizing any adverse environmental impact of these facilities.

36. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG considered that information on the traffic and environmental impact of the proposed infrastructure facilities provided in this re-submission paper could not fully address members' concerns raised at the last meeting on 28 April 1999. He specifically expressed reservation on the adequacy of consultation with the affected residents. As regards the on-cost rate of 16.5% of the project base cost payable to Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) for the entrusted works, Mr CHEUNG was of the view that this on-cost level was too high when compared to the indicative percentage cost (12.95%) of consultancy services for engineering projects as advised by the Administration in an information paper provided to a joint meeting of the Financial Affairs Panel and the Planning, Lands and Works Panel in January 1999.

37. The item was voted on and endorsed. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG requested that his reservation on the item be recorded.

Head 706 - Highways

PWSC(1999-2000)1040TRWest Rail (phase 1) - essential public infrastructure works for Kam Tin section

38. In response to Dr TANG Siu-tong's query on the entrustment of the access road linking the Kam Tin Station (KTS) of WR(1) with the West Rail Depot, DHy advised that in general, provision of access roads to connect railway stations with existing public roads was the Government's responsibility. The proposed access road in question was required to connect KTS with the existing Route 3 Kam Sheung Access Road.

39. On the reason for not providing a road divider at the proposed access roads referred to in paragraph 3 (b) and (c) of the discussion paper, the Principal Government Engineer/Railway Development, Highways Department (PGE/RD) advised that road dividers were usually provided at dual two-lane roads or roads of a higher configuration. As the proposed access roads in question would be single two-lane roads with a traffic volume of about 100 vehicles per hour only and based on the traffic information obtained for the relevant traffic impact assessment,, the Administration considered there was no need to provide road dividers on the roads in question.

40. In reply to Mrs Miriam LAU's enquiry about the provision of park-and-ride facilities at KTS, PGE/RD advised that a park-and-ride carpark would be provided at the KTS and thus would be included in the WR(1) project works of KCRC. Bicycle parking spaces with proper locking facilities would also be provided in the immediate vicinity of KTS. At Mrs LAU's request, PGE/RD agreed to confirm the number of planned bicycle parking spaces after the meeting.Admin.

41. Regarding the provision of bus interchange facilities at KTS, PGE/RD advised that the proposed public transport interchange east of KTS would provide eight bus bays, six of which would be used as bus terminals and the remaining two as bus stops. He supplemented that as KTS was the last/first station of the southbound/northbound WR(1) in the New Territories, the provision of transport interchange facilities had been a major concern in planning the infrastructure facilities associated with KTS.

42. Referring to the poor growth of trees planted along the North Lantau Expressway, Mr LEE Wing-tat enquired about the maintenance arrangement for landscape gardening along highways. DHy advised that in most cases, the landscaping contractor would be responsible for the maintenance for the first two years after the completion of the project. Thereafter, the maintenance responsibility would be taken over by the Urban or Regional Services Department, as the case might be. The Highways Department (HyD) played a monitoring and co-ordinating role. He took note of Mr LEE's suggestion of taking into account contractors' past performance in landscape maintenance in future tendering exercises for highway landscaping projects.

43. Addressing the concern about the safety of the footbridge which would form part of the proposed footpath linking KTS with Kam Tin Town and would have a main drainage channel running underneath, PGE/RD assured members that the safety aspect would be given careful consideration in the design of the footbridge.

44. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)1141TRMTR Tseung Kwan O extension - essential public infrastructure works

45. Noting that the sites on both sides of the diverted Yau Tong Road to be widened under the proposal had been designated for a Home Ownership Scheme development, Mr LEE Wing-tat enquired whether noise barriers would be erected along the new road to abate traffic noise at source. In reply, PGE/RD advised that HyD had been in close liaison with HD since the early planning stage with a view to identifying the best noise mitigation measures. According to the environmental impact assessment studies of HD and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC), the noise impact on the future housing blocks, which would be built on a podium, could be kept within the established guidelines and standards by suitable design and layouts of the buildings. PEPO(NM&PG) added that the aforesaid studies had revealed that erecting noise barriers along the widened Yau Tong Road would not be cost-effective in abating noise impact on the future high-rise residential blocks. Instead, HD planned to build a 3-metre horizontal extension from the 6-metre high podium, as well as to provide a deck cover, which would also serve as a podium garden, to reduce traffic noise nuisance at the future housing blocks. In reply to Mr LEE's enquiry on whether implementation of the various noise abatement measures at the housing sites would reduce the efficiency in land use, PGE/RD pointed out that apart from traffic noise, there were other constraints in optimizing the use of the sites concerned. In view of the detailed discussions among the relevant departments on the development plans for these sites over the past two years, he was confident that the current plan for the housing development had achieved the optimal land use under the given constraints.

46. Regarding the provision of landscaped areas at the stations of Tseung Kwan O Extension (TKE) and the associated public infrastructure facilities, PGE/RD advised that landscaped areas would be provided where space was available. As the landscaped areas within the boundary of the TKE stations would be constructed and funded by MTRC, they were not shown in the present funding proposal. As regards the landscape treatment to the embankment encasing the at-grade railway tunnels between Po Lam Station and Po Shun Road, which was part of the present project proposed to be retained in Category B, PGE/RD advised that the Government would fund this landscaping work because the embankment would be owned and managed by the Government in future.

47. On whether the junction between the diverted Yau Tong Road and Lei Yue Mun Road, which was outside the boundary of the proposed road widening works, would have adequate capacity to cope with the future traffic demand, PGE/RD confirmed that improvement to this road junction was being planned under a separate project in conjunction with other improvements at Lei Yue Mun Road.

48. The item was put to vote and endorsed.

Head 707 - New Towns and Urban Area Development

PWSC(1999-2000)12 53CD River training works for the upper River Indus

49. On the existing policy on the rehousing of residents affected by land acquisition for river training and rehabilitation works, DTD referred to the supplementary information note PWSCI(98-99)18 issued to members earlier and briefed members on the rehousing arrangements under the policy. As far as the present proposal was concerned, DTD advised that the land acquisition and clearance for the project works affected 156 households involving 396 people and 707 structures. Two-thirds of these households had been provided with public housing in the North District and the remaining one-third had been provided with interim housing in Yuen Long.

50. At Mr CHENG Kar-foo's request, DTD agreed to provide information on the rehousing arrangements for the people affected by the projects detailed in paragraphs 20 to 22 of the discussion paper, including Stages I and II of the regulation of Shenzhen River and river training works for the lower and upper River Indus.Admin.

51. The item was voted on and endorsed.

52. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 1:00 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
4 June 1999