LC Paper No. PWSC19/99-00
(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 2nd meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Wednesday, 20 October 1999, at 10:45 am

Members present :

Hon HO Sai-chu, SBS, JP (Chairman)
Ir Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, SBS, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam, JP
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, GBS, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Members absent:

Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP

Public officers attending:

Miss Elizabeth TSE
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury

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

Secretary for Works

Mr Eric HUI
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Mr Rob LAW, JP
Director of Environmental Protection

Deputy Director of Lands (Specialist)

Ms Angela S C CHAN
Chief Estate Surveyor/Acquisition, Lands Department

Director of Architectural Services

Mr Patrick LI
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)

Assistant Director of Education (Planning and Research)

Mr Philip K F CHOK
Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower

Mr Ivan LEE
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (5)

Professor LEE NGOK, JP
Executive Director, Vocational Training Council

Dr Frederick K W MAK
Deputy Executive Director (Training and Development), Vocational Training Council

Mr Lawrence WONG
Centre Manager, Hospitality Industry Training and Development Centre, Vocational Training Council

Mrs Erika HUI
Assistant Commissioner for Tourism, Tourism Commission, Economic Services Bureau

Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture and Fisheries Department

Mr Stanley YIP
General Manager (Research and Development), Hong Kong Tourist Association

Director of Civil Engineering

Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services

Director of Territory Development

Deputy Project Manager, New Territories North Development Office, Territory Development Department

Director of Water Supplies

Assistant Director/New Works, Water Supplies Department

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


Revision in approved estimate of a block allocation


PWSC(1999-2000)57 1100CA Compensation and ex-gratia allowances in respect of projects in the Public Works Programme

The item was voted on and endorsed.


Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(1999-2000)58 258EP Primary school in area 29, Tuen Mun
265EP Primary school at Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon
269EP Three primary schools at Po Kong Village Road, Kowloon

2. Miss Cyd HO said that according to her observation, the school hours, especially during the summer months, of some whole-day primary schools did not differ much from those of half-day schools. She enquired whether the Education Department (ED) had provided guidelines on whole-day schooling and how the implementation of whole-day schooling was monitored. In reply, the Assistant Director of Education (Planning and Research) (AD/E(P&R)) advised that relevant guidelines on primary whole-day schooling with details on the objectives and implementation arrangements had been issued to all public sector primary schools. Implementation of whole-day schooling in individual schools was monitored by the district officers/inspectors of ED which maintained close liaison with the respective school management. In this connection, the Chairman pointed out that as the implementation of whole-day primary schooling was a policy issue, members might further pursue the issue at the Education Panel if they so wish.

3. Mr Edward HO enquired about the feasibility of altering the layout of proposed school 258EP in Tuen Mun such that the classrooms would not be subject to excessive noise impact of the main road nearby. Notwithstanding his query, he remarked that he supported the provision of air-conditioning for all the classrooms of the school as presently proposed. The Director of Architectural Services (DArchS) advised that there would be difficulties in providing an alternative emergency vehicular access that satisfied the fire safety requirements if the layout of the school blocks was altered in the way suggested by Mr HO. At the Chairman's request, DArchS would further discuss the layout of the school with Mr HO after the meeting.

4. In reply to Mr Edward HO's enquiry about the traffic noise impact on the classrooms of the proposed primary school (3) at Po Kong Village Road, DArchS explained that the corridor side of the classroom block would face the Po Kong Village Road. As the classrooms would also have windows on the corridor side, they would be subject to the noise impact of the road. According to the findings of the relevant noise assessment, provision of air-conditioning to the classrooms from the third to sixth floors was necessary to mitigate excessive traffic noise.

5. Members noted that the three proposed primary schools at Po Kong Village Road were situated on a new site, where a secondary school was also being planned. Members considered that the present arrangement of using identical design and standard facilities for the three primary schools was not the best way to make use of the site. There should be ample opportunities to apply the idea of shared facilities, such as providing a common football court for the schools at Po Kong Village Road. Members therefore urged the Administration to consider applying the concept of "school estate" in this particular case. Mr LEE Wing-tat added that the Administration should adopt a more creative approach in designing new schools with a view to providing a better learning environment. Mr Edward HO suggested that the Administration might consider contracting out the design of new schools if in-house staffing resources were inadequate to provide design input for school projects.

6. In response, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2) (PAS/EM(2)) advised that a study on "school estate" was being undertaken by a dedicated committee but the school projects in question were planned before the concept of "school estate" was being studied by the Administration. In view of the urgent need to construct the proposed primary schools to implement the policy on whole-day primary schooling, it would not be feasible to await the outcome of the aforesaid study.

7. Regarding the timetable of the study, AD/E(P&R) advised that the Department had set up a School Building Design Committee to examine the issue with representatives of the Hong Kong Association of Architects, academics of local universities, school councils and parents. Given the present progress of the deliberations of the Committee, the first 'school estate' design brief should be available by early 2000.

8. Mr SIN Chung-kai stressed that it would not be easy to have a site earmarked for the building of a number of schools, as in the present case. Since the decision on the "school estate" concept would be made in a few months' time, the Administration should consider seriously taking this opportunity to try out the concept.

9. In response, AD/E(P&R) said that the subject site was formerly a quarry site and the site formation works, completed two years ago, were carried out with regard to the current design for the proposed schools. Hence, any alteration to the design of the schools might incur additional works. On the resultant works involved, DArchS confirmed that so long as the changes were related to the outdoor facilities and not the school design, he would make every endeavour to revise the overall plan design of the schools within a short period of time. He pointed out that changes to the outdoor facilities of the proposed schools might have implications on the adjacent land uses, including a planned clinic, and thus the Planning Department would need to be consulted on these proposed changes.

10. Members welcomed DArchS's suggestion and agreed that the Subcommittee would vote on this item on the understanding that the Administration would provide a written reply before the relevant Finance Committee meeting on the revised layout plan. Admin

11. Referring to the layout plan, Mr Edward HO reminded the Administration to examine the capacity of Road L3 to cope with the future traffic demand of the planned primary and secondary schools at Po Kong Village Road. DArchS confirmed that the relevant traffic assessment by the Transport Department (TD) had indicated that Road L3 in its present design would be able to cope with the future traffic demand. TD had considered the alternative of constructing a "U" shape road with both ends joining Po Kong Village Road but concluded that the road junctions under this alternative design would be susceptible to traffic congestion and thus the present design of Road L3 was adopted.

12. At Mr CHAN Kam-lam's request, the Administration agreed to include further information on the adequacy of the planned traffic network to meet the traffic demand of the proposed schools and the nearby land uses. Admin

13. Referring to the estimates for the proposed school projects, Mr James TIEN enquired about the basis for the provisions for price adjustment, which he considered not in line with the general deflation trend. He was concerned that such generous provisions for price adjustment would prompt contractors to submit bids at a higher price for the contracts. He also queried why provisions for price adjustment were necessary given that the proposed projects would be tendered under fixed-price lump-sum contracts.

14. DArchS explained that for budgeting purposes, estimates for projects submitted for the 1999-2000 financial year were drawn up according to the December 1998 prices. This constant price estimate applied to all projects submitted during same financial year and was adjusted based on a set of price adjustment factors drawn up on the basis of trend labour and construction prices. He further advised that although the proposed works would be tendered under fixed-price lump-sum contracts, it was still necessary to draw up the MOD project estimates with provisions for price adjustment for budgeting purposes. As the proposed works would be awarded through open and competitive tenders, the outturn tender price would be determined by competitive market forces rather than by the Government's estimates.

15. Mr LEE Wing-tat cautioned that the accuracy of estimates for public works projects had important implications on the overall budget of the Government. He considered it necessary to examine the current mechanism to ensure that the provisions for price adjustment for public works projects would not be excessive. He stressed that over-estimates of public works projects would adversely affect the effective appropriation of public resources, as funding available for other Government services would be correspondingly reduced.

16. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury also acknowledged the importance of accurate estimates for public works projects. She advised that in order to reflect construction price trends in the estimates more accurately, the price adjustment factors would be reviewed twice a year, instead of once a year as in the past. The constant price estimates submitted by works departments were also subject to vigorous vetting by the Finance Bureau.

17. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)59 270EP Primary school at Yee Shun Street, Chai Wan
271EP Primary school in area 44, Fanling

18. Mr Edward HO enquired about the feasibility of locating the two basketball courts for proposed school 270EP at Yee Shun Street at the ground floor instead of locating one of them at the rooftop as presently proposed. In reply, DArchS advised that for standard primary schools, the outdoor facility requirement was one basketball court plus an activity area. The layout of school 270EP was so designed in order to keep the existing trees intact.

19. Noting that the building services cost for school 271EP was $3.4 million higher than that for school 270EP because of the provision of air-conditioning for all classrooms and for some special rooms, Mr CHENG Kar-foo opined that consideration should be given to including air-conditioning as a standard provision for all new schools in order to improve the learning environment. In response, PAS/EM(2) advised that under the existing policy, air-conditioning would be provided to the library and some special rooms of all public sector schools while the provision for other rooms would be determined with reference to the noise impact criterion. According to a recent assessment, providing full air-conditioning for all public sector schools would require a capital cost of $5 billion and an annual recurrent expenditure of $200 per student. Given the resource requirements of other committed education initiatives, it was not feasible to implement full air-conditioning for all schools at this stage. The Chairman suggested that members might further pursue the subject at the relevant Panel if considered necessary.

20. The item was voted on and endorsed.

New commitment for a subvented project


PWSC(1999-2000)60 18EM Development of the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute

21. The Chairman informed members that the proposal had been discussed at the meeting of the Manpower Panel on 20 September 1999.

22. Mr TAM Yiu-chung declared his interest as a member of the Vocational Training Council. Expressing support for the proposal, he commented that the training offered at the proposed Chinese Cuisine Training Institute (CCTI) should give due emphasis on creativity, which he considered had been lacking in the local Chinese cuisine industry in recent years. In response, the Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower (DS/EM) confirmed that students would be encouraged to experiment new recipes and from time to time, culinary masters in the Mainland would be invited to the CCTI to exchange ideas and experience with local chefs. Moreover, the CCTI would be equipped with a food science laboratory to facilitate Chinese cuisine-related research.

23. Regarding the facilities and activities to cater for members of the public interested in Chinese cuisine, the Administration advised that the CCTI would include a Chinese cuisine training restaurant which would be open to the public and would serve to provide training opportunities for students. The institute would also organize culinary demonstrations by renowned chefs and provide opportunities for hands-on participation in the preparation of Chinese cuisine by local residents and overseas visitors. Members of the public might also join the part-time interest courses offered by the institute.

24. Mr CHENG Kar-foo opined that given the location and other constraints of the CCTI, the institute should concentrate its resources on the provision of training, rather than promoting itself as a tourist attraction. In response, DS/EM acknowledged that the location of the institute might not be ideal for tourism purposes. However, the present proposal was to establish principally the training element of the institute at the Pokfulam site. He informed members that the Administration was seeking a separate site in a tourist popular district for the tourism related element of the institute. Addressing Mr CHENG's concern on possible duplication of functions between the CCTI and the aforesaid tourist facility, DS/EM advised that upon the commissioning of the tourist facility, the institute at Pokfulam would concentrate on the provision of training and trade tests.

25. Dr Raymond HO declared his interest as a former member of the Vocational Training Council. He opined that there was no need to establish a separate tourist facility on Chinese cuisine as the CCTI should be able to meet the tourism objectives. He considered that upon the commissioning of Route 7, the location of the CCTI would pose no problem for tourists, especially those travelling in groups.

26. Miss CHAN Yuen-han said that Members of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions supported the project in principle. She commented that the facilities and activities provided in the CCTI and the future tourist facility on Chinese cuisine should be well co-ordinated with a common objective of promoting the local Chinese cuisine industry. She particularly stressed that there should be dedicated facilities at the future tourist facility on Chinese cuisine to introduce the cultural aspects of Chinese cuisine to local residents and overseas visitors. Miss CHAN's concern was duly noted by the Administration.

27. Mr SIN Chung-kai suggested that to promote Chinese cuisine and tourism, the CCTI might consider holding annual Chinese cuisine contests, initially open to local chefs and in subsequent years, open to overseas chefs as an international event. Dr Raymond HO expressed support for Mr SIN's suggestion, which was noted by the Administration for consideration.

28. On the treatment of grease and exhaust smoke that would be generated from the CCTI, DArchS said that provision had been made in the project estimates for the relevant treatment facilities to ensure that the relevant international standards were met. He added that ArchSD and the project consultant would closely monitor the construction of these facilities and the situation upon commissioning of the CCTI.

29. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(1999-2000)61 313RO International Wetland Park and Visitor Centre at Tin Shui Wai

30. Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam sought elaboration on the strategic plan for the proposed International Wetland Park and Visitor Centre (IWP&VC), including the relative emphasis on outdoor sightseeing and indoor activities, and the measures to facilitate overseas visitors who at present had little opportunity to visit the wetland areas in Hong Kong. In reply, the Administration and the General Manager (Research and Development), Hong Kong Tourist Association, advised that the proposed IWP&VC would primarily be a conservation and education facility but would also serve recreation and tourism promotion purposes. According to the surveys conducted by the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA), many overseas visitors were interested in the natural environment of Hong Kong. However, they at present had little opportunity to visit the internationally important Ramsar Site, especially the famous Mai Po Marshes, as the number of visitors was restricted to 40 000 a year under a permit system designed to limit the impact of human presence on the ecologically sensitive wetlands. The Administration therefore proposed to make use of the 64-hectare ecological mitigation area (a buffer between the Tin Shui Wai new town and the Ramsar Site) as a complementary facility to meet the demand for visits to the wetlands. The IWP&VC would provide both indoor and outdoor facilities as detailed in the discussion paper. While the project would be promoted as a tourist attraction by HKTA, further measures to facilitate visits by tourists would be formulated in the detailed planning for the phase 2 works.

31. As regards the number of visitors that the IWP&VC could accommodate, the Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AD/A&F) advised that upon full commissioning, the IWP&VC could together accommodate about 470 000 visitors each year. It was envisaged that at any time, about 80% of the future visitors to the IWP&VC would be accommodated inside the Visitor Centre.

32. Addressing Mr CHAN Kam-lam's concern about the adequacy of the local traffic network to cope with the future traffic demand generated by the IWP&VC, AD/A&F advised that this aspect would be examined under the proposed consultancy study. He added that 60 parking spaces for different types of vehicles would be provided under the phase 2 works.

33. Addressing Mr Gary CHENG's concern about the environmental impact of the project on the wetland areas, AD/A&F assured members that the design of the project would take account of prevailing environmental factors to ensure that the ecological mitigation function of the subject site would not be compromised.

34. In view of members' concern, the Chairman requested and the Administration agreed to brief the relevant Panel(s) on further details of the project in future. Admin

35. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(1999-2000)62 37TF Reconstruction of Pak Sha Wan Public Pier, Sai Kung

36. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(1999-2000)63 278CL Kau Hui development - engineering works, area 16, Yuen Long

37. Addressing Miss CHAN Yuen-han's concern about the effect of the proposed works on the old houses in Kau Hui, Yuen Long, the Director of Territory Development advised that the Territory Development Department maintained close liaison with the Antiquities and Monuments Office (A&MO) of the Home Affairs Bureau in this regard. There were at present over 100 old houses with preservation value in Kau Hui, of which five would be affected by the proposed works. The A&MO had decided to produce drawings and photos on two affected houses for record and to keep some materials and artifacts taken from the other three affected houses for future exhibition purposes. He further advised that local residents in Kau Hui generally welcomed the proposed works and had not expressed any strong views on the preservation of affected archaeological sites.

38. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)64 29CD Main drainage channel for Ngau Tam Mei phase 2 - Ngau Tam Mei to Yau Mei San Tsuen section

39. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(1999-2000)65 90WC Replacement and rehabilitation of watermains, stage 1 phase 1

40. In response to Mr LEE Wing-tat's concern about the leakage rate of the water mains in Hong Kong and how the situation compared with that of Macau, the Director of Water Supplies (DWS) confirmed that the leakage rate of water mains in Hong Kong was deteriorating. This called for a comprehensive territory-wide replacement/rehabilitation programme to improve the situation. He also advised that the leakage rate in Macau was considerably lower than that in Hong Kong mainly because a major water mains replacement project in Macau had been completed recently.

41. Expressing concern about the substantial increase of pipe failures from 19 000 per year in 1994 to 1997 to 25 700 in 1998, Mr LEE Wing-tat queried whether an on-going monitoring programme was in place for the entire water supplies network. In response, DWS advised that a maintenance programme for the network was in place. However, with an increasing number of water mains approaching the end of their service life, the number of pipe failures as well as the ratio of main bursts to leaks had been on the increase in recent years. Having reviewed the overall situation and taking into account the relevant costs, the Administration considered that the mains aging problem would require a comprehensive priority programme of replacement/rehabilitation as presently proposed.

42. In reply to Mr Edward HO's enquiry about the co-ordination of the proposed works with those undertaken by other works departments to minimize road openings, DWS confirmed that co-ordination of water works involving road openings was a priority concern and the project consultant would liaise with other departments, especially the Drainage Services Department, in programming the replacement/rehabilitation works. Mr Edward HO further enquired whether consideration would be given to constructing common utility ducts for various utility installations under main trunk roads in the proposed consultancy study. In reply, DWS said that this kind of ducts was a very expensive option and he understood that the Works Bureau had carried out some studies in this regard. Mr Edward HO indicated that he might take up the subject further at the Planning, Lands and Works Panel.

43. On Mr TAM Yiu-chung's concern about the traffic impact of the future water mains replacement/rehabilitation works, DWS assured members that measures to minimize the traffic impact of the works would be within the scope of the proposed consultancy study.

44. The item was voted on and endorsed.

45. The Subcommittee adjourned at 12:25 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
11 November 1999