LC Paper No. PWSC119/98-99
(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 fifteenth meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Wednesday, 28 April 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 Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon Margaret NG
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
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 TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Members absent :
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Public officers attending :
Clerk in attendance:
- Miss Emma LAU
- Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)
- Mr Gordon SIU, JP
- Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
- Mr H S KWONG, JP
- Secretary for Works
- Mr Rob LAW, JP
- Director of Environmental Protection
- Mr James HERD
- Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)
- Mr P L KWAN
- Deputy Director of Architectural Services
- Mr Laurie LO
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Health & Welfare (Welfare)1
- Mrs Marion LAI, JP
- Deputy Director of Social Welfare (Administration)
- Mr WU Shu-wing
- Chief Social Security Officer (Social Security)3, Social Welfare Department
- Mr H W TIN
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)
- Mr K B WAI
- Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)
- Mr K S LEUNG, JP
- Director of Highways
- Mr C K MAK
- Principal Government Engineer/Railway Development, Highways Department
- Mr Davey CHUNG
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (4)
- Mr Roy TANG Principal
- Assistant Secretary for Transport (3)
- Mr S S LEE
- Director of Territory Development
- Mr H P LIU
- General Manager/Planning and Development, Marine Department
Staff in attendance:
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2
PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAMME
- Miss Polly YEUNG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Ms Anita SIT
- Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8
Upgrading of projects to Category A
HEAD 703 - BUILDINGS
|PWSC(1999-2000)6||66IS||Refurbishment of Social Security Field Units and fitting out of a Central Casefile Depository in support of process re-engineering under the Computerised Social Security System of Social Welfare Department
The Chairman informed members that at the invitation of Social Welfare Department (SWD), some Subcommittee members had visited three Social Security Field Unit (SSFUs) premises which were in various conditions of dilapidation. Based on observations made at the visit, Miss Emily LAU concluded that apart from being inadequate to accommodate the facilities required for implementing the Computerized Social Security System, the general conditions of some SSFUs were grossly inadequate to meet the existing day-to-day operational requirements. Therefore, she agreed that refurbishment or reprovisioning of these SSFUs was urgently required. Her comment was echoed by the Chairman and Miss Cyd HO. Miss Cyd HO also commented that the information provided in the previous paper and the present proposal had not fully reflected the actual poor conditions of the SSFUs, which justified the proposed refurbishment works.
2 In reply to Miss CHAN Yuen-han's enquiry, the Deputy Director of Social Welfare (Administration) (DDSW(Adm)) advised that the proposed Central Casefile Depository (CCD) would be located in the former Kai Tak passenger terminal building for about five years. She confirmed that taking into account the fitting-out costs, rental and other factors, this arrangement would be more cost-effective than leasing other premises for the purpose. In this connection, Miss CHAN further enquired about the present position and timetable of the South East Kowloon Development (SEKD). The Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands advised that he could not provide a definite timetable for the SEKD at this stage as the Administration was reviewing various aspects of the development plan including the scale of reclamation, the land use options etc. Pending further decisions on the SEKD, the previous plan for temporary uses of the Kai Tak area would still be followed.
|3 As regards the proposed reprovisioning of seven SSFUs, DDSW(Adm) clarified that carrying out refurbishment works at the existing office premises of these seven SSFUs would be even more costly than reprovisioning these units. To ensure that existing services provided by these units were not interrupted, the units would remain in operation at the existing premises before removal. The Deputy Director of Architectural Services (DDArchS) confirmed that premises had been identified for the reprovisioning but the lease agreements had not been signed pending the required funding approval. Whilst the refurbishment works for all SSFUs under this proposal were scheduled for completion by mid-June 2000, in view of the acute inadequacies of the seven SSFUs, priority would be given to the fitting out works of the premises for reprovisioning. At members' request, the Administration agreed to provide further information on the timetable for the proposed refurbishment works.||Admin.
4 In reply to Miss Emily LAU's enquiry, the Administration advised that as the present proposal was only concerned with refurbishment and fitting out works of SSFUs, the proposed estimates did not cover the costs for office removal of the seven SSFUs and the transportation of files to the proposed CCD. Such costs would be accounted for separately under a recurrent expenditure subhead of the Government Property Agency (GPA).
5 Miss Margaret NG expressed support for the proposal on account of the genuine need to improve the working environment of the existing SSFUs without delay to meet service requirements. She also did not agree with the suggestion of making interim improvement works at the seven SSFUs to be reprovisioned as such works would be very disruptive to the operation of the units.
6 Noting that the proposed refurbishment works would shorten the waiting time of 90% of the clients from the present performance pledge of 10 minutes to five minutes, Miss Emily LAU questioned the actual clients' waiting time at SSFUs at present. In reply, DDSW(Adm) said that despite inadequate office provision of the existing SSFUs, the target of 10-minute waiting time could still be achieved in most cases.
7 On Miss Cyd HO's suggestion of reserving suitable premises in new housing estates to accommodate or reprovision SSFUs in future, DDSW(Adm) advised that easy access for clients was the primary consideration in selecting accommodation for SSFUs. She understood that the idea was being explored by GPA. She however undertook to liaise with the Housing Authority directly in this regard.
8 The item was voted on and endorsed.
HEAD 711 - HOUSING
PWSC(1999-2000)7 201EP Primary school in area 101, Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long
9 Miss Emily LAU expressed concern about the adequacy of the provision of physical education (PE) facilities in new schools. She opined that as the proposed primary school and another proposed secondary school, 169ES, would be constructed on adjacent sites, it might be feasible for the two schools to share the use of outdoor PE facilities with a view to providing a greater variety of PE facilities. In response, the Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support) (AD/E) advised that the provision of facilities in these two proposed schools was drawn up according to the latest standards. The proposed primary school would be provided with a variety of facilities for PE activities including a covered playground, two basketball courts, a covered multi-purpose area and a student activity centre. Besides, the assembly hall could also be used as badminton courts or a venue for other student activities.
10 DDArchS supplemented that schools could make use of the open playground for a variety of student activities apart from basketball games. To address resource constraints in providing PE facilities in schools, the Administration had started to examine the idea of co-locating a number of schools to form a "school village" with the provision of shared facilities such as a swimming pool, an indoor stadium and a football court. Preliminary assessment of the idea revealed that a "school village" had to consist of at least four standard schools to be cost-effective.
11 Miss Emily LAU stated her view that the existing standard provision of PE facilities in schools was inadequate. She urged the Administration to improve the standard whenever new schools were being planned. She opined that in this case where two schools would be constructed on adjacent sites, the feasibility of providing a greater variety of facilities to be shared between the schools should be explored, though further consideration should be given to rationalizing management and co-ordination of the common facilities.
|12 In reply to Mr Edward HO's enquiry on the feasibility of providing a mini-football court, AD/E confirmed that where space was available, schools might designate the open playground as a football court. DDArchS added that the rooftop of the assembly hall block could be used for student activities such as football games. He agreed to consider Mr Edward HO's suggestion of re-arranging the two basketball courts in the same manner as those at the proposed secondary school 169 ES to make more efficient use of the outdoor space, and if possible, to designate a mini-football court in addition to the two basketball courts at the open playground.
13 Addressing Mr CHENG Kai-nam's concern on how the current facility provision for new standard schools could enhance the use of information technology (IT) for teaching and learning purposes, AD/E confirmed that IT facilities had been a major focus in the latest designs for standard schools. For the primary school in question, besides the computer-assisted learning room, all classrooms would be equipped with infrastructure for computer network installations. DDArchS supplemented that in the past few years the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) had revised the designs for standard schools at frequent intervals to take into account new requirements specified by Education Department for the development of quality education.
|14 With regard to Mr Edward HO's enquiry about the difference in the unit cost for "building" works between the present primary school project and the secondary school project 169ES under the next agenda item PWSC(1999-2000)8, DDArchS undertook to provide supplementary information on the respective unit cost figures, and explain the difference, if any, after the meeting.||Admin.
15 In reply to Miss Cyd HO, AD/E confirmed that the projected demand for school places in Yuen Long district could be met in accordance with the planning schedule. He informed members that ten primary school projects had been upgraded to Category A and further new schools were under planning to meet the projected shortfall and to achieve the whole-day primary schooling target by the year 2002/03.
16 In reply to Mr Edward HO's enquiry about the reasons for placing this school project under Head 711 - Housing of the Capital Works Reserve Fund (CWRF), the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury advised that in most cases, school projects were placed under Head 703 - Buildings of CWRF. On this occasion, the proposed school was regarded as a community facility in support of the planned housing development in the area concerned and thus funds were allocated under Head 711 for building the school. Likewise, on some occasions, funds were allocated from Head 711 for certain infrastructure works associated with planned housing developments. She however pointed out that this accounting arrangement would not affect the compilation of statistics on capital projects for education.
17 The item was voted on and endorsed. Miss Emily LAU expressed her reservation on the item on account of the unsatisfactory provision of PE facilities in the proposed school.
|PWSC(1999-2000)8||169ES||Secondary school in area 101, Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long
|18 DDArchS agreed to consider Mr Edward HO's suggestion of modifying the layout of the proposed secondary school by relocating the Special Block to the south of the Classroom Block to make more efficient use of open space, and if possible, to designate a mini-football court in addition to the two basketball courts at the open playground.||Admin.
19 Addressing Miss Emily LAU's concern about the progress of eliminating floating classes in secondary schools, AD/E advised that the current plan was to eliminate virtually all floating classes of Secondary One to Five by 2000/01. This target would be achieved by building new schools and providing additional classrooms at certain existing schools through the implementation of the School Improvement Programme. Some existing schools would be able to eliminate floating classes by class re-structuring.
20 The item was voted on and endorsed. Miss Emily LAU expressed reservation on the item on account of the unsatisfactory provision of PE facilities in the proposed school.
HEAD 706 -HIGHWAYS
|PWSC(1999-2000)9||39TR||West Rail (phase 1) - essential public infrastructure works for Sham Shui Po section
|21 In reply to Dr Raymond HO's enquiry about the estimates for the proposed Road P1, the Director of Highways (DHy) explained that the unit cost of the proposed southbound Road P1 was higher than that of the proposed northbound Road P1 mainly because the former included a 1.6 kilometres long elevated section while the whole length of the latter would be constructed at ground level. As regards Dr HO's enquiry about the estimated cost for constructing an elevated carriageway for the whole length (3 kilometres) of southbound Road P1, DHy agreed to provide the information after the meeting.||Admin.
22 On the reasons for entrusting the proposed essential public infrastructure works (EPIW) to the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), DHy advised that the proposed EPIW were associated with the West Rail (Phase 1) (WR(1)) project and would be carried out within the boundary of or at close proximity to the WR(1) project sites. Implementing the EPIW and the WR(1) projects separately by the Government and the KCRC would unavoidably gave rise to interface problems which in turn would likely cause delay and additional cost to both the WR(1) project and the EPIW.
|23 In response to Mr Ambrose CHEUNG's query on the basis of the on-cost payable to KCRC at 16.5% of the project base cost, DHy advised that this percentage on-cost level had been widely used for over twenty years for entrustment projects such as those associated with the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) projects. Having regard to the full package of services provided by KCRC including technical studies, detailed design and construction supervision, the Administration considered the 16.5% on-cost level reasonable. He added that KCRC had initially asked for a percentage higher than 16.5% but subsequently agreed to accept this percentage after negotiation. Mr CHEUNG commented that the 16.5% on-cost level appeared relatively high. DHy responded that this percentage included the overhead cost of the company in addition to design & site supervision costs. In response to Mr CHEUNG's enquiry on the extent of the EPIW, the Principal Government Engineer/Railway Development, Highways Department (PGE/RD) added that the total estimated cost for all the EPIW associated with the WR(1) project was $3,135 million in 1997 prices. These works were grouped under five PWSC items, of which one had been endorsed at the last meeting on 24 February 1999 and two had been submitted for consideration this meeting. At Mr CHEUNG's request, he agreed to provide a full list of EPIW items and further information to substantiate the 16.5% on-cost level.||Admin.
|24 Expressing concern about the general shortage of minibus stands, Mrs Miriam LAU enquired about the respective design capacity of the two minibus stands and the taxi stand to be provided at the public transport interchange (PTI) next to the Yen Chow Street Station of WR(1). PGE/RD advised that provision of facilities at PTIs was decided by the Station Transport Integration Committee. He undertook to provide details of the facilities which had been endorsed by the committee to Mrs LAU,.||Admin.
25 In reply to Mrs Miriam LAU's enquiry on whether park-and-ride facilities would be provided at Mei Foo Station of WR(1), PGE/RD advised that such facilities would be considered for WR(1) stations north of Tai Lam Tunnel. The current plan was to provide park-and-ride facilities at Kam Tin Station and Tuen Mun Station. Park-and-ride facilities would not be provided at Mei Foo Station, as it would be located in the urban area..
|26 Addressing Mrs Miriam LAU's concern on whether Lai Wan Road would have adequate capacity to cope with future traffic demand after the commissioning of WR(1), PGE/RD advised that Mei Foo Station of WR(1) would serve mainly as an interchange with the MTR Mei Foo Station, and a passenger subway would be constructed to connect these two stations. It was estimated that only a limited number of WR(1) passengers would travel to the Lai Wan Road entrance of the Mei Foo Station by taxi. Hence, with the proposed widening, Lai Wan Road should be able to cope with the future traffic demand. At Mrs LAU's request, PGE/RD agreed to confirm the number of lanes on Lai Wan Road after widening.||Admin.
27 Mr James TO pointed out that currently, many vehicles made use of Nassau Street and Broadway Street, which were private streets inside Mei Foo Sun Chuen, as short-cuts to Lai Wan Road. He envisaged that after WR(1) came into operation, the traffic flow on Lai Wan Road and these two private streets would increase significantly. According to his understanding, residents of Mei Foo Sun Chuen were largely opposed to building a WR(1) station at Mei Foo, and they might choose to close the junctions between Lai Wan Road and the two private streets after the commissioning of WR(1). This might result in serious traffic congestion on Lai Wan Road and its adjacent roads. In this connection, he enquired whether the Administration had considered other alternatives to cope with the traffic demand in the vicinity such as to construct additional access roads/tunnels to Lai Wan Road.
|28 In response, PGE/RD said that according to the related traffic impact study, the increase in traffic flow on the aforesaid two private streets would be less than 100 vehicles per day and the main approach road to Lai Wan Road would be Mei Lai Road which was a public road. It was therefore considered that the closure of the two private streets would not cause any traffic problem in the area. In this regard, he undertook to provide the traffic projections for the roads in Mei Foo. He added that based on his observation during the consultation exercises conducted by the Administration and KCRC, residents of Mei Foo were generally in support of the WR(1) project, although they had diverse views on the design of the WR(1) Mei Foo Station.||Admin.
29 Mr James TO did not agree with the Administration's analysis. He considered that it was Broadway Street, rather than Mei Lai Road, that served as the main approach road to Lai Wan Road, and the Administration had under-estimated the additional road traffic brought about by WR(1). He cautioned that given the present design of the WR(1) Mei Foo Station and Lai Wan Road, if residents of Mei Foo closed the junctions between the aforesaid two private streets and Lai Wan Road after WR(1) came into operation, acute traffic congestion at Mei Lai Road and Lai Wan Road would be highly probable.
30 Mr TSANG Yok-sing pointed out that many elderly people and children would cross Lai Wan Road to go to Lai Chi Kok Park. He enquired about the provision of pedestrian crossing facilities at the road. In reply, PGE/RD assured the member that during construction period, the contractor concerned would be required to implement proper diversion measures to facilitate pedestrian crossing and to ensure safety of pedestrians. The implementation of traffic diversion and safety measures would be monitored by a site liaison committee consisting of representatives of Highways Department. He also advised that Highways Department would incorporate suitable pedestrian crossing facilities in the detailed design of the road in conjunction with Transport Department and KCRC.
31 Miss Emily LAU expressed grave concern about the environmental impact of the proposed EPIW. In reply to her enquiry about the findings of the relevant environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the mechanisms to ensure compliance with established standards, PGE/RD advised that among the proposed EPIW items, the road construction and widening works at Road P1 were subject to the environmental permit requirements. The EIA study concluded that the environmental impact of the project could be controlled to within established criteria and guidelines by proper implementation of the direct and indirect mitigation measures recommended in the EIA. One of these measures was the provision of low noise road surfacing. As regards the PTI at Yen Chow Street, he advised that it would be a covered structure provided with ventilation facilities. In response to Miss LAU's request for quantitative information on the environmental impact of the proposed EPIW vis-a-vis the established standards, DHy advised that such information was contained in the relevant EIA report, which had been agreed by EPD and endorsed by the Advisory Council on the Environment.
32 Miss CHAN Yuen-han expressed grave concern about the noise impact of the proposed EPIW. In reply to her enquiry, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) advised that the established upper limit of traffic noise for residential buildings was 70 decibels at the external facade of the building. This planning standard was also adopted in some other countries including the United Kingdom. In response to Miss CHAN's further enquiry about any plan to tighten the standard in the near future, DEP said that it was already very difficult to find sites for housing in the urban areas that could meet the present standard and noise insulation devices such as enhanced glazing had to be used in many new residential buildings.
|33 Miss Cyd HO also expressed concern about the environmental impact of the proposed EPIW. She envisaged that upon the commissioning of WR(1), there would be a significant increase in traffic on Lai Wan Road, as some passengers of WR(1) not living in Mei Foo would make use of the transport interchange facilities to be provided at this road. In reply to her enquiry on whether the residents of the buildings along Lai Wan Road had been consulted on the proposed works, PGE/RD advised that KCRC and the Administration had conducted three rounds of consultation on the WR(1) and the associated EPIW. The current design had taken into account the views collected during the consultation as far as possible. As to whether there would be noise barriers erected along Lai Wan Road, PGE/RD advised that noise barriers were usually provided at roads with large traffic volumes. In this case, Lai Wan Road would remain a local road with a relatively moderate traffic volume after the proposed widening. The provision of noise barriers at the road was therefore considered unnecessary. At Miss Cyd HO's request, the PGE/RD agreed to provide information on the existing and projected traffic volume and impact of the road on the adjacent buildings.||Admin.
34 Taking note of the Administration's advice that the sites adjacent to Road P1 had been designated for housing developments, Mr Edward HO enquired whether apart from low noise road surfacing, additional direct noise mitigation measures such as noise barriers would be provided at Road P1 so that the design and layout of the future residential buildings would be subject to fewer constraints posed by traffic noise. In response, PGE/RD advised that the Yen Chow Street Station site adjacent to the elevated section of Road P1 would be developed by KCRC and he understood that KCRC planned to construct noise abatement structures at the facade of the future residential buildings at the development. Two other sites adjacent to the northern section of Road P1 had been designated for public housing developments. The road section at these sites would be an at-grade carriageway and would have insignificant additional noise impact on the future residential buildings when taking into account the West Kowloon Expressway (WKE) which, due to its elevated structure and large traffic volume, would be the main source of traffic noise affecting these sites. Hence, erecting noise barriers along the at-grade section of Road P1 would have minimal effect in reducing the traffic noise impact.
35 DEP supplemented that the aforesaid sites adjacent to Road P1 had been re-zoned from industrial uses to comprehensive development areas to provide more land for housing. He stated that in view of the heavy traffic nearby, these sites were not ideal sites for residential developments. He also confirmed that according to the endorsed EIA report, WKE instead of the at-grade section of Road P1 would be the main source of noise to these future developments. He understood that Housing Department (HD) was working out the design and layouts of the public housing developments taking into account the need to abate the noise impact. The present indication was that through set-back from the road and proper orientation, about 70% of the future housing flats could meet the noise impact standard.
36 Taking note of the Administration's explanation, Mr Edward HO stated his view that where practicable, traffic noise impact should be abated at source. He urged the Administration to explore providing further direct mitigation devices at the proposed Road P1. He also pointed out that if the design and orientation of residential buildings were to be adjusted to abate the noise impact, the sites concerned might not be fully utilized. Mr LEE Wing-tat echoed Mr Edward HO's view and pointed out that in order not to delay housing projects, HD often had to give way to the requests from works group of departments on noise abatement issues. He thus requested the Administration to provide an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of providing direct noise mitigation devices at Road P1 as compared to that of implementing noise abatement measures at the public housing sites in question.
37 Responding to members' comments, DHy said that under the existing policy, the Government would, as far as practicable, implement all practical direct mitigation measures when building new roads. However, in the circumstances that the future land uses of affected areas were not yet confirmed or that a development plan was not yet available to facilitate planning of effective direct mitigation measures, the Government would leave it to the developer to implement noise abatement measures at the developments concerned. In this case, as layouts of the housing developments on the sites in question were not yet available, it was therefore impracticable at this stage to provide noise barriers of suitable design at Road P1.
|38 Mr Edward HO expressed reservation about the application of the aforesaid policy to the present situation where the affected areas had already been designated for housing developments. He requested the Administration to elaborate on the policy in this regard and explain how the policy should be applied to the proposed Road P1.||Admin.
|39 Mr Ambrose CHEUNG opined that so far, the Administration had not provided sufficient information to address members' concerns about the traffic and environmental impact of the proposed EPIW. Miss Emily LAU shared Mr CHEUNG's view and suggested that the Administration withdraw the item and provide further information to address members' concerns in its future re-submission. In this connection, Mr CHEUNG requested the Administration to provide further information on the results of the consultation with residents of Ching Lai Court and Mei Foo Sun Chuen.||Admin.
40 In view of members' requests for further information before they could make a decision on the proposal, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury advised that the Administration would withdraw the item and would provide additional information to address members' concerns in the resubmission.
41 The item was withdrawn by the Administration.
HEAD 707 - NEW TOWNS AND URBAN AREA DEVELOPMENT
|PWSC(1999-2000)3||299CL||Tsuen Wan Bay further reclamation, area 35, phases I and II
42 The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury advised that the Administration would withdraw this item. She explained that subsequent to the briefing on this project for the Planning, Lands and Works Panel on 23 March 1999, the Administration had held further discussions with some Panel members, who then raised concerns about the compensation arrangements for the fisheries trade in relation to the proposed relocation of the existing Tsuen Wan dangerous goods anchorage to Tang Lung Chau. As such, the Administration considered it necessary to allow more time for further discussion on the issue before re-submitting the proposal to this Subcommittee.
43 The item was withdrawn by the Administration.
Any Other Business
44 In view of the lack of time, the Chairman instructed that the remaining agenda items, i.e. PWSC(1999-2000)10, 11 and 12, should be deferred to the next meeting of the Subcommittee or to a special meeting to be arranged, if necessary.
45 The Subcommittee was adjourned at 1:00 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
20 May 1999