LC Paper No. PWSC168/98-99
(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 twentieth meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Wednesday, 23 June 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 LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Members absent :

Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr James HERD
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Mr Gordon SIU, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Mrs Stella HUNG
Deputy Secretary for Works (Programme & Resources)

Director of Environmental Protection

Director of Architectural Services

Mr Raymond WONG Hung-chiu
Deputy Secretary for Security (1)

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management)

Mr Philip CHAN Kwan-yee
Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (E)

Mr KWOK Ka-keung
Director of Finance, Administration and Planning, Hong Kong Police Force

Chief Superintendent of Police (Planning and Development), Hong Kong Police Force

Project Manager/1, Housing Department

Mr Francis LO
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (5)

Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2)

Project Manager/2, Housing Department

Mrs Irene CHENG
Deputy Project Manager A3, Housing Department

Mr Laurie LO
Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Welfare)1

Dr Constance CHAN
Assistant Director of Health (Health Administration and Planning)

Director of Civil Engineering

Mr TIN Hon-wai
Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)

Deputy Director of Civil Engineering (Civil)

Clerk in attendance:

Miss Polly YEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)3

Staff in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8


Upgrading of projects to Category A

Head 703 - Buildings

PWSC(1999-2000)55 235LP Improvements to Police stations and
operational facilities

At the invitation of the Chairman, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management) (DC of P (Mgt)) briefed members on the supplementary information note tabled at the meeting.

2. In reply to Mr LAU Kong-wah's enquiry on the additional resources required if video interview rooms (VIR) facilities were to be expanded to all interviews with suspects, DC of P (Mgt) pointed out that while the capital cost for installation of a VIR facility would be about $259,000, its operating/recurrent costs could be considerable. For example :

  1. A one-hour tape-recorded statement would take three hours to transcribe. After that, the transcript would need to be translated. Last year, some $7 million had been earmarked for the translation of statements alone;

  2. Additional manpower was needed to operate the video equipment in a separate room; and

  3. Some cases involved a large number of suspects. It would be costly to videotape all interviews.

3. In reply to the Chairman, DC of P (Mgt) explained that it would be difficult to quantify the additional resources required. Factors such as the number of suspects giving statements, the number of cases with statements eventually brought to court would have bearing on the resources required. Nevertheless, he agreed to provide further information on resource implications by comparing cases of a similar nature with and without the use of VIR facilities.Admin.

4. Mr LEE Wing-tat was not convinced by the Administration's explanation for not expanding the scope of the video interview facilities in the present funding proposal. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong shared similar concerns. He urged the Administration to seriously consider increasing the use of VIRs as wider use of VIRs benefited both the suspects and the officers concerned through reduced complaints of physical abuse and false accusations.

5. Miss Emily LAU recapitulated her support in principle for improving facilities at Police stations to render better services to the public and to provide a better working environment for staff. She nevertheless concurred that if the use of VIRs was conducive to reducing misunderstandings and complaints against alleged Police abuse, the provision of such facilities should be expedited in the interest of all concerned. At Miss LAU's request, DC of P (Mgt) agreed to provide further information on the overall number of complaints against the Police, as well as the improvement, if any, following the implementation of VIRs two years earlier.Admin.

6. Responding to members' concerns, DC of P (Mgt) confirmed that Police officers were generally in support of videotaping interviews with suspects. The admissibility of video recorded evidence in court had also improved. Meanwhile, the Police would commence a review of the VIR scheme in late 1999/early 2000. Views expressed by members on the subject would be taken into consideration. He also informed members that issues related to the use of VIRs would be further discussed at the next meeting of the Security Panel on 8 July 1999. On whether further provision of VIRs could be accelerated, DC of P (Mgt) pointed out that implementation of VIR facilities must also tie in with the availability of the necessary equipment at the courts.

7. In this connection, DC of P(Mgt) supplemented that VIRs would soon be provided in a total of 63 Police stations. Of the remaining 20 Police stations not provided with VIR facilities, either they rarely needed to deal with criminal suspects, or such needs could be readily covered by another Police station nearby. Mr LAU Kong-wah opined that the subject of more VIR facilities could be further pursued at the Security Panel in order not to affect consideration of the proposal in question. He expressed support for the proposal.

8. On the tendering arrangements, Miss Emily LAU sought justification on the Administration's proposal to award the works to only two or three contractors. In reply, the Director of Architectural Services ( D Arch S) advised that two to three contractors for the entire project was the preferred option because of savings in providing standard parts through economies of scale, improved consistency in workmanship, and - simpler site supervision and quality control by the Architectural Services Department.

9. On whether the unit cost of $4,128 for this project was fair and reasonable, D Arch S considered that the said cost compared favourably with that of the recent fitting out works for the Social Security Field Units of the Social Welfare Department costing some $4,600 per square metre. In reply to Miss Emily LAU about the cost for similar works undertaken in the private sector, D Arch S remarked that such costs would be in the order of $6,000 per square metre.

10. The item was put to vote. 9 members voted for the proposal, none against and 3 abstained :

Mr Kenneth TING Woo-shouMr James TIEN Pei-chun
Miss Cyd HO Sau-lanMr Eric LI Ka-cheung
Mr Gary CHENG Kai-namMr LAU Kong-wah
Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yeeMiss Emily LAU Wai-hing
Mr TAM Yiu-chung
(9 members)


Mr LEE Wing-tat
Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong
Mr SIN Chung-kai
(3 members)

11. The item was endorsed by the Subcommittee.

PWSC(1999-2000)52 179SC





Community hall at Aldrich Bay phase 4 housing development

Community hall at Tsz On Estate phase 3 housing development

Community hall at Sheung Tak Estate phase 9 housing development

Community hall at Shek Lei Estate phase 12 housing development

Elderly health centre at Kwai Shing East Estate phase 7 housing development

12. Noting that the existing Shek Lei Community Centre would be demolished in late 1999 and construction of the proposed community hall (CH) under the Shek Lei Estate Redevelopment phase 12 would only be completed by 2003, Mr TAM Yiu-chung enquired about the availability of CH facilities for the residents of Shek Lei in the interim. The Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2) (AD/HA(2)) advised that the Home Affairs Department (HAD) was discussing with the Housing Department on ways to minimise the time gap between the demolition of the existing centre and the provision of the new one. He however remarked that due to the need to tie in with the redevelopment programme, it was not possible to demolish the existing community centre after the new CH was built. Project Manager 1 (PM/1), Housing Department pointed out that the already tight construction schedule could not be shortened much. Nevertheless, he took note of members' concern and would consider whether the completion of the new CH could be slightly amended. Mr SIN Chung-kai shared Mr TAM's concern that construction of the new CH should be expedited.

13. In response to Miss Emily LAU's enquiry about the planning criteria for the provision of CHs, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (5) (PAS/HA(5)) confirmed that the Administration had devised a new set of planning standard guidelines for the provision of CHs in 1998. Under the previous planning standard, CHs were provided solely on the basis of the population. Such a rigid approach had resulted in some CHs being under-utilised. The current planning standard took into account other factors such as the utilisation rate of other existing CHs in the district, the expectation and demand of the district community, and the availability of comparable facilities in the district. He stressed that both the previous and current planning standards were dependent on site availability. Hence the ratio of CH to population could vary among the districts.

14. On Miss Emily LAU's enquiry about the feasibility of accommodating CHs and other community facilities in the same building, PAS/HA(5) confirmed that according to the relevant planning standard guidelines, new CHs would normally not be built as stand-alone buildings. Rather, they should be built together with other compatible community facilities to optimize land use. PM/1 supplemented that each of the proposed four CHs would be accommodated together with small household units mainly for the elderly and a residential care home for the elderly in the same building. In addition, a day care home for the elderly and a social centre for the elderly were proposed to be attached to the joint development at Sheung Tak and Aldrich Bay respectively. The existing HAD Tsz Wan Shan sub-office currently located at Tsz Wan Shan (South) Community Centre would be reprovisioned to the CH development at Tsz On Estate.

15. As regards the overall utilization of CHs in the territory, PAS/HA(5) advised that the median utilization rate of all CHs, which had taken into account the utilization situation in different sessions of the day and on all days of the week, was around 60%. The utilization rate was generally higher at night-time and during weekends and public holidays. Miss Emily LAU considered that the utilization rate of 60% was on the low side and enquired about measures to improve the utilization situation.

16. In response, PAS/HA(5) said that a 60% median utilization rate was considered acceptable. He also pointed out that the relatively low utilization rate for some CHs could be attributed to special circumstances such as imminent demolition of the nearby housing estates. HAD would also review the utilization of those CHs which had a utilization rate below the median rate and identify possible improvement measures. The relevant District Offices and Provisional District Boards would also closely monitor the utilization of individual CHs. In this connection, the Chairman remarked that based on his experience, a median utilization rate of 60% was not considered low.

17. Concerning measures to improve the management of CHs, AD/HA(2) advised that the majority of existing CHs were managed by HAD, with the rest entrusted to non-governmental organisations on a trial basis. In some cases, the relevant Provisional District Boards were invited to take the lead in improving the management of CHs. He further informed members that HAD was examining various management options for those CHs with low utilisation.

18. Miss Cyd HO enquired about the capacity of the proposed CHs, and the respective demand for large and small community facilities managed by HAD. In reply, AD/HA(2) confirmed that the proposed four CHs would each have a maximum capacity of 450 seats. According to feedback from the districts, the demand was for larger facilities with a capacity for a few hundreds. He also pointed out that activities involving a relatively small number of participants could be readily accommodated in CHs or other facilities managed by HAD. Miss HO however said that the feedback she received was quite different. She pointed out that it was highly undesirable to hold several activities each involving tens of participants concurrently in a CH. She therefore urged HAD to review and publicize to community organisations information on the availability of smaller venues. The Administration took note of Miss HO's comment.Admin.

19. Expressing support for elderly health centres (EHCs), Mr TAM Yiu-chung enquired about the progress of setting up 18 EHCs and Visiting Health Teams (VHTs) across the territory as announced by the Chief Executive in his 1997 Policy Address. In reply, the Assistant Director of Health (Health Administration and Planning) (AD/H(HA&P)) advised that the plan was to establish one EHC in each of the 18 districts by late 1999 or early 2000. So far, 12 EHCs had been established and commissioned. Each EHC could handle 2 300 clients annually, and 10 700 attendances and 8 000 attendances annually for curative sessions and health promotion activities respectively. Each VHT would deliver 480 programme-sessions with 11 000 client-contacts per year.

20. The current Ha Kwai Chung EHC was non-purpose built and temporarily accommodated at Ha Kwai Chung Polyclinic in shared facilities with the general out-patient clinic. The intention was to reprovision the facility at Kwai Shing East. AD/H(HA&P) advised that the Ha Kwai Chung EHC could cater for the needs of 2 300 elderly. So far, about 1 300 had enrolled. She supplemented that when the EHC service was first introduced in 1997, the average utilisation rate was only about 59%. In 1998, the rate had increased to 81%. She assured members that the Administration would continue to publicize and promote the service.

21. Addressing Mr TAM Yiu-chung's concern about the adequacy of the estimate of $2.2 million for "furniture and equipment" for the proposed EHC, AD/H(HA&P) advised that the provision should be sufficient for procuring the necessary furniture and equipment for the various services provided by the EHC. These included medical consultation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietary service and chiropody of the EHC. Where necessary, the Administration would seek additional funds for new equipment.

22. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Head 711 - Housing

PWSC(1999-2000)46 566CL Development at Anderson Road

23. Members noted that the present proposal and the following item PWSC(1999-2000)47 had been discussed at the meeting of the Housing Panel on 3 May 1999.

24. Mr CHAN Kam-lam expressed concern about the adequacy of the road network in East Kowloon to meet the additional traffic demand generated by the proposed development at Anderson Road (ARD), bearing in mind that there were other planned developments in the East Kowloon and Southeast Kowloon areas. Miss Emily LAU also enquired about the proposed road improvement works and the traffic impact created by the construction works.

25. In response, the Deputy Director of Civil Engineering (Civil) (DDCE(C)) advised that the future traffic demand of ARD had been examined in the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) study for the project. The study had taken into account the target population in the East Kowloon and South East Kowloon areas up to the year 2011. The population projection for the latter was conservative as it was based on the initial plan for the South East Kowloon Development, the scale of which was currently under review. The TIA study had also taken into account the committed developments and the target population in Tseung Kwan O and Sai Kung. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management) (PAS/H(PM)) supplemented that the proposed road improvement works included a flyover linking the Clear Water Bay Road and Lung Cheung Road and improvements to seven road junctions in the area as shown on the layout plan attached to the discussion paper. These improvement works were scheduled for completion before the first intake of population at ARD in 2009. Details of the road junction improvement works would be examined in the proposed detailed design for ARD.

26. Noting that the Anderson Road Quarry (ARQ) would operate up to 2012, Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Miss Emily LAU expressed concern about the nuisance generated by the quarrying operations after the population intake at ARD in 2009. In response, DDCE(C) advised that according to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project, a buffer distance of 125 metres between the quarry plant and the future housing blocks would be adequate to control the quarry dust within acceptable limits. The noise level generated by the quarrying operations would also be acceptable. He further advised that the Administration would continue to monitor the dust and noise levels of the quarry. He further advised that the quarrying operations area would move farther away from the ARD over time. PAS/H(PM) added that the core quarrying operational area of the ARQ and the nearest housing block at ARD in future would be 200 to 300 metres apart. The scale of the quarrying operation would also diminish progressively towards its closure date in 2012. Thereafter, the entire quarry would be rehabilitated with the planting of trees and vegetation.

27. In reply to Miss Emily LAU's further enquiry, the Director of Civil Engineering confirmed that the buffer between the future housing blocks and the ARQ would be a landscaped slope. The Administration assured members that the environmental monitoring programme to be carried out by the project consultants during the detailed design stage and the construction stage would ensure that sufficient safeguards would be in place to mitigate noise and dust impacts on the future housing blocks at ARD. Mr CHAN Kam-lam requested and the Administration agreed that each phase of future development and the detailed assessment on the impacts of the quarry on the ARD should be reported to the relevant district board(s). In view of members' concerns, The Chairman suggested that the Administration should also report to the relevant Panel(s) in due course. Admin.

28. Miss CHAN Yuen-han conveyed the concern of the residents of Shun Tin Estate about possible environmental nuisances caused by the works for the ARD, and requested that the situation be closely monitored. In response, PAS/H(PM) confirmed that the environmental impacts of the project during construction had been examined in the EIA study for the ARD and suitable mitigation measures had been recommended. These measures included phased construction activities for the site formation works to avoid undue noise and dust impacts and a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme to enable early identification and rectification of problems arising from construction activities. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) had also recommended a series of conditions to be incorporated into the future construction contracts, such as the requirement to cover the loads on trucks, to restrict the speed of vehicles on entry and exit and to sprinkle water at the work site at specified intervals. Miss CHAN requested and the Administration agreed to provide a list of the environmental mitigation measures recommended in the approved EIA report and the conditions recommendations by EPD to the provisional district board(s) concerned. Admin.

29. Regarding the availability of the EIA report to the public, DDCE(C) advised that the EIA Ordinance required, inter alia, that the EIA report be published on the Internet for public access. He confirmed that the Administration had consulted the Kwun Tong and the Sai Kung Provisional District Boards on the EIA report.

30. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)47 564CL Development near Choi Wan Road
and Jordan Valley

31. Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that two fault lines had been found at the Jordan Valley Landfill (JVL) through which landfill gas might migrate to the proposed development. He was particularly concerned that the construction works for the development might trigger the migration of landfill gas. As this issue had not been specifically addressed in relevant EIA report, he informed members that he had raised this issue at the Kwun Tong Provisional District Board (KTPDB).

32. Seeking explanation on the issue of landfill gas and its implication on the proposed development, Miss Emily LAU enquired whether the Advisory Council on the Environmental (ACE) had been specifically consulted on this issue and queried whether KTPDB was satisfied with the Administration's explanation. Referring to paragraph 10 of the discussion paper, she opined that the result of public consultation should be faithfully and fully recorded for members' consideration. Conditions specified by ACE upon endorsement of the relevant EIA report should also be included.

33. In response, DDCE(C) advised that the feasibility study for the proposed development revealed that there was little risk of landfill gas migration from JVL though the fault line that ran across the JVL to the development site. Currently, the JVL was under restoration and a landfill gas collection and treatment plant had been installed at JVL by the restoration contractor. EPD had also installed a number of monitoring stations around the JVL and so far, no gas was found to be leaking. Further assessment on the risk of landfill gas emission and migration from the JVL would be made at the detailed design stage of the project. He pointed out that the problem of landfill gas emission or migration could be resolved by implementing suitable control measures.

34. The Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) confirmed that a review of the landfill gas hazard assessment was one of the conditions attached to the approval for the relevant EIA report on the advice of ACE. He advised that if any landfill gas problem was subsequently confirmed, such problem(s) could be dealt with effectively by proven and relatively simple measures. A common solution was to install impermeable barriers to prevent landfill gas from migrating into the basement of buildings. If the problem was considered to be potentially serious, an alarm system could be installed to enable the management to deal with any landfill gas problems at an early stage. DEP took note of Miss Emily LAU's comment and undertook to include any specific advice of ACE in the future discussion papers for this Subcommittee.Admin.

35. DDCE(C) added that in view of the KTPDB's concern over the potential landfill gas hazard despite the Administration's explanation on 8 March 1998, the Administration would consult KTPDB again when a detailed assessment on the landfill gas issue was completed. He further advised that there had been substantial discussion by ACE on the issue of landfill gas. One of the conditions specified by ACE upon endorsement of the EIA report was to review the landfill gas hazard assessment at the detailed design stage and report on the findings.

36. Addressing Miss Emily LAU's concern on whether the fault lines at the JVL would affect the foundations of the future buildings at the proposed development, DDCE(C) advised that according to the advice of geologists, fault lines would not move though they might widen or diminish in size. The fault lines at the JVL would not pose insurmountable problems to the foundation works for the proposed development.

37. Mr. CHAN Kam-lam requested the Administration to ensure the proposed consultancy would identify measures to guard against disturbance to the fault lines and would not trigger uncontrolled migration of landfill gas from JVL during construction. In response, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands recapitulated that the issues of fault lines and landfill gas would be examined in detail under the proposed consultancy. The main concern was to identify and implement effective measures to monitor and control the building up and dispersion of any landfill gas released from the JVL.

38. In reply to Miss CHAN Yuen-han's enquiry, DDCE(C) confirmed that the Administration would not abandon the project on account of landfill gas as there were proven and simple engineering measures to overcome such problems. He added that the landfill gas collection and treatment plant installed at the JVL would have reduced significantly the amount of residual gas at the landfill site by the time of the first population intake at the development.

39. Dr Raymond HO shared DDCE(C)'s view. In reply to his enquiry on whether any measures were being implemented to accelerate the release of landfill gas at the JVL, DDCE(C) said that under the landfill restoration works, the contractor had installed a capping layer on the landfill and a full network of vent pipes to direct landfill gas to the gas collection and treatment plant. The intensity of landfill gas emission at the JLV would be closely monitored. The Administration took note of Dr HO's concern that the vent pipes installed at the JVL should be sufficient in number and in depth.

40. Mr CHAN Kam-lam expressed concern about future traffic movements between the proposed development and the Kwun Tong area. He pointed out that the major roads in the Kwun Tong area were already operating at full capacity and therefore might not be able to cope with the additional traffic demand generated by the development. In response, DDCE(C) said that based on the findings of the relevant TIA study, a link between New Clear Water Bay Road and Lung Cheung Road and improvement works to a number of road junctions in the Kwun Tong area were proposed. He assured members that the traffic movements to and from the development and the impact on the road junctions in the vicinity would be carefully examined at the detailed design stage.

41. Noting that the development under the present proposal was located near ARD considered under item PWSC(1999-2000)46, Mrs Miriam LAU asked whether the proposed consultancies for the two developments would be awarded to the same consultant. If not, how the Administration could ensure consistency between the proposals for road improvement works and other traffic arrangements for the two developments. In reply, DDCE(C) said that as the two consultancies would be tendered out under two separate contracts, it would be difficult to predict at this stage whether they would be awarded to the same consultant. He however pointed out that since the two development projects would be overseen by the same Government departments, consistency between the two projects could be ensured. He further explained that as separate TIA studies had been carried out for the two developments, the road improvement works under the respective development projects were proposed on the basis of forecast traffic movements generated by the each of the developments. The Chairman requested the Administration to take note of Mrs LAU's concern when planning the road improvement works and traffic arrangements. Admin.

42. The Chairman suggested that interested members might pursue the transport and landfill gas issues arising from the proposed development at the relevant Panel(s).

43. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Any Other Business

44. As this was the last meeting of the current legislative session, the Chairman thanked members and the Administration for their participation in the Subcommittee's deliberations.

45. The Subcommittee adjourned at 12:35 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
8 July 1999