on 10 June 1999
PANEL ON PLANNING, LANDS AND WORKS
Tang Lung Chau Dangerous Goods Anchorage
Since the Administration last briefed the Legislative Council Panel on Planning, Lands and Works on 23 March on the need for relocating the Dangerous Goods Anchorage (DGA) from Tsuen Wan to Tang Lung Chau (TLC) to make way for the Tsuen Wan Bay Further Reclamation, we have continued discussions with various Members on their remaining concerns. We originally planned to submit a funding request for the relocation of the DGA to PWSC for consideration on 28 April 1999 but subsequently withdrew the submission in the interest of addressing more fully two particular concerns of Members, as follows -
CHOICE OF LOCATION
- the choice of the TLC site; and
- ex-gratia allowances payable to the fishing and mariculture community that might be affected.
2. Some Members have expressed concerns that the site south of TLC may not be suitable for the location of the DGA due to its proximity to the mariculture zones in Ma Wan (see site plan at Annex A). Possible site to the South of Sunshine Island has been suggested to the Government for consideration (see site plan at Annex B).
3. Before TLC is selected, a comprehensive territorial site search has been conducted. In identifying suitable sites, the following main criteria have been taken into account -
- reasonably close to Tsing Yi and Kwai Chung so as to minimize marine traffic of vessels carrying dangerous goods within the harbour;
- away from densely populated areas and ferry routes;
- away from areas reserved for port developments;
- engineering feasibility;
- located in areas with sufficient water depth for mooring the dangerous goods vessels; and
- avoid areas with potentially contaminated sediments as well as any areas that may result in adverse impact on the environment in general and water quality in particular.
4.Eight possible sites have initially been identified and a summary comparison is set out at Annex C. Among them, three sites (i.e. south of TLC, north of Hei Ling Chau and Siu Lam) were shortlisted for further assessment and south of TLC was eventually found to be most suitable site for reprovisioning the DGA. Following this site search, a detailed Engineering Feasibility Study and an Environmental Impact Assessment were completed in 1998 which confirmed its feasibility.
5. The site suggested by Members, i.e. south of Sunshine Island, was not identified in the site search exercise for an obvious reason. The proposed site is flanked by the Adamasta Channel and the proposed West Lamma Channel. The former is a busy channel frequented by high-speed ferries plying between Hong Kong and Macau and other ports in the Mainland. The latter, on the other hand, is essential to the future development of the entire Northshore Lantau. Putting a DGA in that location with entrances/exits for dangerous goods vessels directly fronting the busy channels will result in unacceptable marine risk.
6. Upon Members' request, we have reviewed this site proposed by Members but come to the same conclusion that it is not a suitable location for the DGA.
EX-GRATIA ALLOWANCES AND COMPENSATION
7. At present, there are established practices of granting ex-gratia allowances to fishermen concerned for the loss of fishing ground as a result of reclamation, dredging, dumping and other development projects (set out in Annex D: Finance Committee Paper of 7 May 1993); and also granting of ex-gratia allowances to mariculturists if Government dredging or reclamation projects cause the concentration of suspended solid in the water to exceed a pre-determined level (set out in Annex E: Finance Committee Paper of 23 July 1993).
8. Members have expressed concerns that the disturbances to water quality caused by reclamation and dredging projects could be long-term and that fishes could die even if the concentration of suspended solid does not exceed the level that triggers ex-gratia allowance. While the Government contract normally requires the contractors concerned to indemnify the Government for any losses caused to third parties, the affected mariculturists would need to pursue its civil claim against the contractors concerned. The legal process involved is usually timely and highly costly which is very often beyond the means of the claimants concerned. Moreover, their claims are invariably contested and the need to prove before the court that fish losses in mariculture zones are caused by a distant construction project has proved to be an unreasonable and impossible burden for the claimants concerned.
9. Having fully considered these concerns, the Government have decided to extend to this project, on a pilot scheme basis, an administrative arrangement similar to that applies to damage to crops and property on agricultural lands as a result of public works (c.f. Works Bureau Technical Circular No. 28/92 at Annex F refers). In summary, should there be any claim from mariculturists for damages caused by this DGA project -
- the Government would be responsible for establishing whether such damage is caused by the DGA project; and if so, deciding on the level of compensation; and
- if the Government has obtained sufficient evidence to prove that such damage is caused by the DGA project, the Government would ensure that the contractors concerned would settle the claim without delay. And if the settlement is delayed, the Government would make direct payment to the claimant and recover it for the contractors concerned.
10. Specific conditions prescribing the above arrangement would be included into the contract of the DGA project.
11. The Administration believes that the above administrative arrangement should fully address the concerns of Members and the fishing and mariculture community.
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau