File Ref. LD TF/COM/1/94 III
PLANNING, LANDS AND WORKS PANEL
INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT WORKS AT WA SHAN AND
PING CHE IN NORTH DISTRICT
When the Administration briefed the Planning, Lands and Works Panel of the Legislative Council on the annual progress of cleaning-up of environmental black spots in the New Territories on 10 December 1998, some members expressed concern at the proposed infrastructure improvement works at Wa Shan and Ping Che. This paper provides further information to address these concerns.
INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PROPOSALS
2.We are committed both to improving and cleaning environmental black spots in the New Territories through the concerted efforts of Lands Department (LandsD) and Planning Department (Plan D) and utilizing a package of measures including in-situ environmental improvement works and enforcement actions.
3. Despite the persistent efforts of LandsD and PlanD, there are still 765 unauthorized developments (UDs), occupying some 238 ha of land. The proliferation of UDs is due partly to a mismatch between the supply of, and demand for, land suitable for open storage and port back-up uses. Whilst enforcement actions will continue to be taken against the UDs, we need to make available sites which could be readily put to open storage and port back-up uses because-
- sizeable portions of the properly zoned land are in remote locations and constrained by the lack of vehicular access, drainage and associated infrastructure; and
- it is difficult for individual operators to undertake improvement works to remedy off-site problems, such as inadequate roads and drainage facilities in the neighboring areas.
4. As the said problems are unlikely to be resolved satisfactorily within a reasonable time-span through the market mechanism it rests with Government to provide infrastructure to enable more of the zoned land to be used for the desired purposes. The proposal offers a solution that should bring valuable environmental improvement to the two areas without driving out existing operations. In this connection, we have reviewed a number of sites with regard to the following criteria-
- sites that can satisfy the location requirements of various open storage uses, e.g. proximity to main roads and concentration of similar uses;
- sites with minimal environmental impact on the surrounding land-uses;
- sites with low development costs and with flexibility in implementation of infrastructure works to ensure early site availability; and
- sites that are of reasonable size and configuration to ensure cost-effectiveness.
5. Having regard to the above, the Wa Shan and Ping Che sites which are zoned "Port Back-up" and "Open Storage" respectively have been identified as suitable for the said purpose. The Wa Shan site consists of an area of about 10.5 ha (with some 80 private lots) and the Ping Che site consists of about 16 ha (with some 110 private lots). About 30% of the land within these two areas is already covered by approval under Section 16 of the Town Planning Ordinance for the rezoned uses. The location of these two sites are shown at Enclosures 1
6. At present, access to the Wa Shan and Ping Che sites either relies on a temporary tolerated vehicular access over a Water Supplies Department reserved area (with a large underground water pipe) or makes use of a sub-standard village type vehicular road. The proposed infrastructure works will involve provision of standard vehicular roads with footpaths and laying of new drains. It is practically not possible for, and is unreasonable to expect, individual landowners of these two areas, to undertake such major road and drainage improvement works to serve the local community, particularly when these proposed works involve gazetting of the proposed road scheme, resumption of private land, etc. The proposed infrastructure works are considered urgently needed in order to-
- bring about environmental improvement to the local community (e.g. roadworks to enhance and improve traffic flow and road safety, drainage works to alleviate local flooding problems); and
- speed-up utilization of land in these two areas for the zoned purposes (i.e. container vehicle parking, open storage and related activities) as a means to reduce the proliferation of environmental black spots caused by such illegal uses elsewhere which have resulted from mismatches in the supply and demand for land.
7. The Provisional North District Board, when being consulted by the Administration on the utilization of these two areas for container vehicle parking and open storage purposes, expressed deep concern about the existing sub-standard access roads and drains which would give rise to road safety problems and flooding problems and strongly urged that the Administration should take early action to tackle these problems. The Town Planning Board, upon approving these two areas for the zoned uses, also noted that the Administration would undertake to implement the necessary improvement to roads and drains. (Representatives of Lands D will provide a short video tape show for about 3 minutes to illustrate the existing problems of roads and drains in these two areas).
8. With members' support, we will proceed with a submission to the Finance Committee for approval of funds (of $122 million) under the Task Force Vote to implement these improvement works.
(The Assistant Director Mr I J MacNaughton, the Principal Land Control Officer Mr Wilson WONG of the Task Force (Black Spots), Lands Department and representative of the Planning Department will brief this Panel on this paper)