Public Works Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting
held on 4 June 1996 at 10:45 am in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members Present:

    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members Attending

    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming

Members Absent:

    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling

Public Officers Attending :

Mr Ian DALE, JP Director of Marine
Mr Tony CLARK, JP Deputy Secretary for Economic Services
Mr Richard YIP, JP Assistant Director of Agriculture & Fisheries (Fisheries)
Mr P L KWAN, JP Director of Architectural Services
Miss Annette LEE Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
Mr Anthony TONG Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)
Ms Ada FUNG Chief Architect of Housing Department
Mr Bernard LAM, JP Director of Civil Engineering
Mr S S LEE, JP Director of Territory Development

In Attendance:

Mr Canice MAK, JP Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Mr H S KWONG, JP Secretary for Works
Dr Rob LAW, JP Director of Environmental Protection
Mrs Carrie LAM Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)
Mr James HERD Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General
Mrs Constance LI Clerk to the Public Works Subcommittee
Mr Andy LAU Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

Upgrading of projects to Category A



Study on Tonggu Waterway

Members expressed concern about the possible adverse impact of the proposed waterway on the marine ecology and the Chinese white dolphins. In this respect, a member suggested that the engineering study should await the assessment of the impact on the marine environment and dolphins and the necessary mitigation measures. In response, the Deputy Secretary for Economic Services (DS/ES) advised that the technical and environmental studies would have to be conducted at the same time for cost-effectiveness in view of their inter-relationship. He further advised that there was a pressing need for the Government to identify an alternative water channel to relieve the marine traffic congestion at Ma Wan Channel for navigational safety, hence the proposed study. The Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries added that while desk-top studies had already suggested the general preferred alignment of the Tonggu Waterway to minimize the adverse impact on the dolphins, a detailed study would be necessary to better assess the impacts of the proposed waterway on the ecology and fisheries. He assured members that the proposed waterway would unlikely affect the survival of the Chinese white dolphins as a population which exist in the Pearl River Delta, and that the proposed study would actually provide additional useful information about the ecological requirement for better formulation of measures to benefit the dolphins. As part of the programme to improve the marine habitat, the Administration would set up a dolphin sanctuary in Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau area.

2. On the possibility of deferring the proposed study until the Chinese side had completed their study on Chinese waters, DS/ES advised that Hong Kong would need to make its own assessment in respect of the impact of the proposed works within Hong Kong waters, and there would be close liaison with the Chinese side through the Infrastructural Coordinating Committee to avoid duplication of efforts. Subject to the approval of the proposed study, the Government would consult the district boards concerned and the Chinese side on the funding arrangements for the detailed construction programme.

3. In reply to a member, the Director of Marine confirmed that the Tonggu Waterway was the only suitable alternative route for further development between Shekou and the western New Territories.

4. The item was voted on and endorsed. Ms Emily LAU had reservation on the proposal. Members of the Democratic Party also reserved their position on the paper.




Primary school in area 25, Tsuen Wan

5. In response to a member’s question on the apparent mis-matching situation whereby some districts had an over-provision or under-provision of school places, the Assistant Director of Education (AD of E) advised that basically there were sufficient half-day primary school classes in districts, but additional classes were required to turn half-day primary schools into whole-day schools. He further advised that the over-provision of school places in some districts was only temporary due to slippage in population intake in respect of the private residential developments.

6. On the criteria for selection of noise abatement measures, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) advised that such measures would be taken when the external noise level exceeded 65 decibels, and in selecting the appropriate measure(s), the department would assess the noise level, the effectiveness of different options and other factors such as the visual impact of these measures and effects on other installations in the area. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) added that in the proposed school, air-conditioning and window insulation would be provided for all rooms in the special room block facing the main road, in addition to the construction of a 3-metre high noise barrier along part of the boundaries of the school. As regards whether a special school design would help to reduce the noise impact, D Arch S advised that the present school layout had already catered for the environmental impact by re-locating the classrooms away from the noise-prone area.

7. Replying to a member, D Arch S advised that due to a shortage of in-house staff, consultants would be engaged to carry out quantity surveying.

8. On Government’s plan to advance the opening of the school to September 1997 before the completion of the project in December 1997, AD of E advised that the classrooms of a new primary school in area 2, Tsuen Wan would be used temporarily for this purpose. Such an arrangement was adopted to reduce any interface problems in the middle of the school year, and had been found acceptable to parents in previous cases.

9. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Secondary school in area 59, Tseung Kwan O

10. On the selection of sites for new schools, members considered that in recent proposals, the environment of the selected school sites was rather unsatisfactory in terms of location and noise impact. In response, AD of E advised that, given the scarcity of land and competition from other land users, it had always been difficult to identify suitable school sites having regard to the various constraints such as accessibility by public transport, slope safety, etc. In this respect, the Deputy Secretary for Planning, Lands and Works (DS/PEL) briefly outlined the present procedures and the public consultation work for the planning and selection of school sites, and advised that noise abatement measures including low-noise surfacing and noise barriers would be implemented to bring the teaching environment up to an acceptable standard.

11. On the justification of an additional secondary school, AD of E advised that there would be a shortfall of 148 secondary classes in the territory by 1998, and it was government policy to phase out the existing floating classes in secondary schools. In view of the anticipated demand for school places in Tseung Kwun O, it was considered that an additional secondary school should be constructed in the area to reduce the shortfall. The proposed site was conveniently located and would be suitable for the construction of a secondary school.

12. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Noise abatement measures in government schools, stage IV

13. On the progress of the noise abatement programmes Stage II and III, D Arch S advised that the works were largely completed except in three schools where further discussion would be necessary regarding the location of the transformer rooms. The noise abatement measures implemented had effectively reduced the noise pollution of these schools. In reply to a member, AD of E advised that there was currently no further noise abatement programme for schools upon the completion of Stage IV, but the Administration would keep the situation under review to see if further improvements would be necessary, for example, due to changes in traffic conditions. As regards the policy on the wider issue of noise pollution faced by schools in the territory, the Chairman advised that the subject could be followed up at the Panel.

14. On the installation of air-conditioners and exhaust fans in classrooms, D Arch S advised that both facilities were necessary to improve air circulation in classrooms. He also confirmed that, depending on the capacity of the transformer rooms of the schools, it would be necessary to upgrade the electricity supply in some schools.

15. Responding to a member’s question, D Arch S advised that the project would be entrusted to term contractors which were selected through competitive tendering. The arrangement was adopted to speed up the delivery time of the project, and should not result in higher construction costs.

16. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Northeast Northeast New Territories reclamation for dumping

17. In reply to a member, the Director of Civil Engineering advised that the project would not have any permanent impact on the water quality of the Tolo Harbour, and appropriate environmental protection measures would be taken during the project. An independent consultant would also be engaged to supervise and audit the contractor’s environmental monitoring programme. In order not to aggravate the traffic conditions on Tolo Highway, the dumping materials would be conveyed by means of water transport. As regards the impact on the Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology Limited Building of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Government had agreed with the University that an amount of $0.2 million would be reimbursed to the University for the cleaning and maintenance work arising from Stage I of the project.

18. In response to a member’s query that the Government had not formulated the land use Layout Plan before proceeding with the proposed reclamation project, DS/PEL advised that the proposal was to meet the existing demand to accommodate inert construction waste in the northeastern New Territories. As regards the future land use, one option was to use the reclaimed site for the construction of the Science Park. The Outline Zoning Plan would be worked out when Stages II and III of the reclamation works commenced.

19. The item was voted on and endorsed.




New Territories North East development - main drainage channels for Fanling, Sheung Shui and hinterland

20. A member asked why the Administration took such a long time to submit the proposal to the Committee as the River Indus Study was completed as early as 1989. In response, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) advised that both River Indus and Beas River were at the upper stream of the Shenzhen River, and improvements to these rivers would need to tie in with the implementation of the Shenzhen River Regulation Project. Now that the Shenzhen River Regulation project had commenced, it was the appropriate time to start the river training works throughout the major portions of the River Indus and Beas River.

21. The item was voted on and endorsed.



North Lantau phase IIB development in Tung Chung, engineering works

22. Responding to a member, DTD advised that it was the existing policy to provide suitable noise mitigation measures for new town developments where land use information was available, in order to minimise noise nuisances to the residents in the vicinity.

23. In reply to a member, DTD advised that the proposed two open channels were rainwater drains and should not have adverse environmental impact.

24. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Yung Shue Wan development, engineering works

25. Members generally supported the need for essential infrastructure to meet the development needs and to improve the environment of the area. They were concerned, however, that the proposed reclamation and roadworks would destroy the rural character of Yung Shue Wan and the natural shoreline together with its marine fauna.

26. In response, DTD advised that the present design had taken into account residents’ views and the need to strike a balance between the preservation of natural environment and the provision of essential infrastructure for the area. After weighing the benefits of the proposed reclamation (which would provide the essential infrastructure necessary to improve the sanitary and environmental conditions of the area) and the views of the local residents and the environmental bodies, the Government considered that the proposed works would be necessary in view of the long-term benefits. To preserve the natural environment and the rural character of Yung Shu Wan, a rubble mound seawall would be constructed for the reclamation of the sewage treatment plant site which would also facilitate recolonization of marine fauna. Planting and other landscape works would also be provided.

27. On the location of the sewage treatment plant and the refuse transfer station, DTD advised that the present location was considered acceptable in terms of cost-effectiveness and the possible environmental impact.

28. On the projected population increase from 4,000 in 1995 to about 6,800 upon full implementation of the plan, DTD clarified that it was mainly attributable to natural growth taking into account the development of commercial and residential areas in phase II of the programme , and other areas in Yung Shue Wan.

29. As regards public consultation on the commercial and residential developments under phase II of the project, DTD advised that as phase II was still at an initial stage of planning and the works would not commence until 2000, the Administration would consult the residents again in due course for their views on the design of the Phase II programme. He explained that phase I and phase II were distinct and separate projects, and members’ approval of the phase I programme would not prejudice any future amendments to the phase II project. He pointed out, however, that the present layout plan was already the product of extensive consultation with the different parties concerned.

30. After discussion, members maintained the view that while they supported the need to improve the basic infrastructure of the area, the present design did not adequately address the concern about the preservation of the natural environment including the natural shoreline of Yung Shu Wan. They requested the Administration to review the present design and to provide more detailed information, including District Board’s comments and the revisions made to the original plan in response to objections.


31. In view of members’ comments, the Administration withdrew the proposal.



Land formation for supplementary public rental housing site - Lei Yue Mun

32. Responding to members’ questions, DTD advised that the cascade to be constructed would be for stormwater drains and would not cause any environmental nuisance. As regards the scope of the slope stabilization works at Devil’s Peak, DTD advised that the Geotechnical Engineering Office had confirmed that the proposed works would not affect the squatter areas at Devil’s Peak.

33. At members’ request, DTD undertook to provide further information on the $110,000 provision for claims in relation to the clearance of cultivated land within the project boundary, and the allocation plans for the three public housing blocks under discussion.


34. This item was voted on and endorsed.



Construction of two bridges and roads and drains to serve the housing site in area 18, Tuen Mun

35. Responding to a member, DTD advised that the cycle tracks would be of 3-metre wide and would form part of the cycle track system in Tuen Mun scheduled for completion in 2000.

36. This item was voted on and endorsed.

Other Business


Revised Terms of reference for PWSC

37. This item was voted on and endorsed.

38. The Committee was adjourned at 1.00 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
19 June 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998