LegCo Paper No. PWSC 102/96-97
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on Wednesday, 4 June 1997, at 10:40 am in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members present :

    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members absent :

    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP (Chairman)
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP

Public officers attending :

    Mrs Carrie LAM
    Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

    Mr Bowen LEUNG, 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 S H PAU, JP
    Director of Architectural Services

    Mr S Y TSUI, JP
    Director of Marine

    Assistant Director of Marine (Port Control)

    Mr Y K LEE
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services (D)

    Miss Annette LEE
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)

    Mr M Y CHENG
    Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)

    Mr M S HU, JP
    Director of Water Supplies

    Mr John COLLIER, JP
    Director of Drainage Services

    Mr P K LEE
    Assistant Director of Marine (Government Fleet)

    Dr FUNG Hong
    Deputy Director (Hospital Planning & Development), Hospital Authority

    Ms Jennifer CHAN
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Medical)2

    Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (Recreation & Sport)

    Mr K S LEUNG, JP
    Director of Highways

    Mr S S LEE, JP
    Director of Territory Development

Clerk in attendance:

    Mrs Constance LI
    Chief Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

Staff in attendance:

    Mrs Vivian KAM
    Assistant Secretary General 1

    Ms Anita SIT
    Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)1

    Mr CHEUK Wing-chuen
    Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)2

In the absence of the Chairman, Dr Hon Samuel WONG, the meeting was convened by Mr Albert CHAN, Deputy Chairman.


Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(97-98)42163GKLocal marine traffic control station at Container Terminal No. 8

2. Members noted that this was a re-submission item. The original proposal had been discussed by the Subcommittee on 21 May 1997, but was withdrawn by the Administration in view of members’ reservations. In the present paper, the Administration clarified that the project would include a closed circuit television (CCTV) system to improve marine traffic monitoring in the area. The Administration had also explained the operation of the proposed local marine traffic control station (LMTCS) to individual members before the meeting.

3. Members asked about measures taken by the Administration to improve marine safety in the western parts of the harbour, and in what ways the proposed LMTCS would help reduce marine accidents below the Tsing Yi Bridges. In response, the Director of Marine (D of M) advised that there were statutory restrictions on the height of vessels entering the Rambler Channel to avoid crashes against the Tsing Yi bridges. The proposed LMTCS at Container Terminal (CT) No. 8, with the provision of CCTV and radar equipment, would expand the existing marine surveillance area and help improve marine safety at the western side of the harbour. In reply to members, D of M confirmed that the location of the proposed LMTCS at CT8 had taken into account the development of CT9, and that it did not cover the waters off Tuen Mun. He added that apart from the existing LMTCS at Ma Wan and the proposed one at CT8, there were plans to build a third LMTCS at Green Island depending on the future development of marine traffic in the area.

4.On the scope of responsibilities of the proposed LMTCS at CT8, D of M advised that its primary responsibilities were to regulate the traffic of ocean-going vessels and river trade vessels at the Kwai Chung Container basin and in its approaches to ensure navigational safety. With the provision of a CCTV system and a patrol launch, it would be possible for the LMTCS, in the course of monitoring local vessel movements, also to enforce marine traffic regulations. At the request of the Chairman, D of M undertook to provide further information on the coverage of the CCTV. D of M also undertook to confirm, after the engineering studies of the project, that the proposed CCTV system would cover the water areas off Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi and assist in control of vessels in transit through Rambler Channel to Tsuen Wan Bay. D of M would explore the possibility of extending the CCTV coverage to include the Tsuen Wan Bay.


5. The item was voted on and endorsed.



First secondary school in area 16, Tuen Mun


Secondary school in area 7, Tai Po


Secondary school in Aldrich Bay reclamation, Shaukeiwan


Secondary school in area 3, Tin Shui Wai

6. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Maintenance depot for the Water Supplies Department, the Architectural Services Department and the Drainage Services Department at Cheung Sha Wan

7. On the question of whether shared use of the proposed Cheung Sha Wan Depot by three different departments would create any management problems, the Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) advised that these departments would occupy different floors, and that there would be a joint building management committee comprising representatives from all user departments to co-ordinate building management matters and issues of common concern.

8. Replying to a member, D Arch S advised that the achieved plot ratio of eight for the proposed depot was the maximum limit for industrial buildings or mixed industrial/commercial buildings in the area.

9. With regard to the construction cost of the project, D Arch S advised that the construction costs excluding site formation and furniture and equipment would be approximately $10,832/m2 for a construction area of 24 335m2. If only the building and building services costs were taken into account, the construction cost would be $9,031/m2, which was lower than the average cost of $10,100/m2 for private industrial buildings of a similar grade. He added that the provision of vehicular access in the building had taken up some of the construction space. In response to the Chairman, he confirmed that no excessive provisions were included in the project, and the standards adopted were similar to that of normal industrial buildings with similar loading capacity to accommodate heavy vehicles and equipment.

10.On the benefits and improvements to be brought about by this project, the Director of Water Supplies (DWS) advised that the proposed re-location of the regional offices serving Kowloon and the New Territories from the present depot at Argyle Street to their respective regions would definitely improve customer service and enable quicker responses to requests for emergency repairs and maintenance works. This would also alleviate the existing congestion in the Argyle Street Depot for better operational efficiency. While it would be difficult to express the improvements or benefits in monetary terms, DWS undertook to provide more information on savings that could be achieved by the project. Admin

11. In reply to a member, DWS confirmed that when all existing regional offices in the Argyle Street Depot had been re-located, the site would be returned to the Government for re-development.

12. While members were generally in support of the proposal, some members were concerned about the resultant increase of 0.3% in water charges by the year 2001. In response, DWS advised that this was to recover the increase in recurrent expenditure (about 2 cents for each cubic metre water) as a result of the project. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3) (DS/Tsy(3)) clarified that the estimated increase in water charges was not part of the proposal and the information was included only to give a complete picture of the financial implications of the project. She assured members that any increase in water charges would have to be justified separately in the normal manner.

13. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Improvements to Government Dockyard - remaining works

14. In reply to a member, the Director of Marine advised that the government fleet had a total of 573 vessels at present. A ten-year plan had been drawn up in consultation with other government departments to replace old vessels and to procure new vessels to meet operational requirements. He also advised that maintenance of military vessels was outside the scope of responsibilities of the Government Dockyard (GD).

15. Addressing members’ concern as to whether the GD was operating in a cost-effective manner when compared to the private sector, D of M advised that its operating cost was about 30% lower than that of a private dockyard. With regard to the suggestion of converting the GD to a trading fund, DS/Tsy(3) advised that there had been some preliminary discussions on the subject and the trading fund option would not be actively pursued at the present stage.

16. On the expected improvements in efficiency after re-provisioning, D of M advised that the department aimed at achieving a utilization target of 86% for the government fleet in 1997 as the improved facilities at the Dockyard would improve the efficiency of vessel repair works.

17.Responding to a member on the proposed office accommodation for the Marine Police (MP) at the Dockyard, D of M advised that the on-site liaison staff of MP responsible for the maintenance and testing of MP vessels were at present accommodated in two pontoons located on shore. It was proposed to provide permanent office accommodation and workshop for these staff. At the request of the member, he undertook to provide further information on the MP staff to be accommodated at the GD.


18. A member sought clarification on the high costs of consultants’ staff in the quantity surveying discipline as compared to the architectural discipline. D Arch S advised that the consultants’ staff costs were calculated on the basis of the estimated man-months required by the consultants according to the established remuneration rates for the respective disciplines. As the consultants’ works for the detailed design and preparation of the tender documents for the project had been funded under a Block Allocation, the consultants’ fees under this proposal were for administration of the construction contracts. The proposed staff to cost ratio of the two disciplines was considered reasonable as more quantity surveying work would be involved in post-contract management.

19. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Provision of permanent facilities to Government Dockyard on Stonecutters Island

20. In reply to a member, D of M confirmed that the reprovisioning of the Government Dockyard from Yau Ma Tei to Stonecutters Island would be completed with the upgrading of this project and that in PWSC(97-98)35.

21. On the relatively small provision of $2.2 million for piling works as compared to the total project cost of $199.7 million, D Arch S explained that this proposal was mainly concerned with the renovation and conversion of existing structures and facilities. The piling works required were for setting up floating jetties at the Dockyard.

22. The item was voted on and endorsed.

New commitment for subvented project




Ruttonjee Hospital - air-conditioning

23. Responding to a member, the Deputy Director (Hospital Planning & Development) of the Hospital Authority advised that it had been government policy since the mid-1980’s to provide central air-conditioning to all public hospitals under planning or major renovation to enhance patient comfort and to provide greater control over infection. Since the re-development of Ruttonjee Hospital had been approved in 1982, at a time when air-conditioning was not yet a standard facility in public hospitals, only limited areas of the Ruttonjee Hospital building were currently air-conditioned. To avoid introducing variations to the construction contract which would disrupt the agreed building programme, air-conditioning had not been extended to other patient areas during the re-development project.

24. Members in general supported the proposal to install a new air-conditioning system in the Ruttonjee Hospital to cover all patient areas. The Chairman remarked that the Hospital Authority and the Administration should speed up the programme for providing central air-conditioning to all existing public hospitals.

25. The item was voted on and endorsed.


New item

Improvement work to voluntary agency camps

26. On the low utilisation rate of some voluntary agency (VA) camps shown in Enclosure 2 to the paper, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sports (PAS/RCS) clarified that some of these camps should have a higher usage rate when the non-operational days due to closure for renovation were discounted. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that other camps such as the Lamma Youth Hostel and the Duke of Edinburgh Training Camp had a utilisation rate below 50%. The Administration had been discussing with camp managements concerned on possible measures to increase patronage of these camps, such as introducing concessionary rates and other measures to make their programmes and facilities more attractive.

27. While members supported the need to provide adequate fire protection measures in VA camps, they had doubts as to whether the stringent fire safety requirements of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance should be applied indiscriminately to holiday camps. The Chairman and some members pointed out that the Ordinance was intended to enhance the fire safety standard of guesthouses in congested multi-storey buildings as these were more susceptible to serious fires. In view of the high capital costs for VA camps to comply with the high fire safety standards and that most camps were independent, single-storey houses of low fire risks, members asked whether consideration should be given to exempt VA camps from certain statutory requirements.

28. PAS/RCS responded that, in recognition of the relatively low fire risks of holiday camps, they were included in the final phase of implementation. To provide adequate fire protection measures for camp users especially families with young children and elderly people, the Administration had agreed, on the advice of Fire Services Department, that the statutory fire safety requirements should be complied with to enable the camps to be licensed under the Ordinance. However, as the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Authority could only finalise the detailed fire safety requirements for holiday camps earlier this year, it was envisaged that the necessary works would not be completed until the end of 1998. It would therefore be necessary to seek an extension of the grace period, from July 1998 to the end of 1998, under the Ordinance.

29. In reply to members, D Arch S advised that except for the installation of sprinkler systems in 13 of the camps, all other items listed in paragraph 3 of the paper were essential and inexpensive. In view of members’ concern, he agreed to re-examine whether sprinkler installations were absolutely necessary for the 13 camps in question.

30. On cost recovery, PAS/RCS advised that the Government would meet the capital costs of the fire safety measures, while the recurrent expenditure would be absorbed by camp managements.

31.At the request of the Chairman, the Administration undertook to confirm in writing that there were no re-development plans in the coming three years for the sites of the 20 subvented VA camps covered by the paper. Admin

32. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Upgrading of projects to Category A




Widening of Tolo Highway between Island House interchange and Ma Liu Shui interchange

33. Members welcomed the proposed improvements to the section of Tolo Highway between Island House Interchange and Ma Liu Shui interchange. Some members asked if there were plans to improve also the northern (Fanling) sections of the Tolo Highway to alleviate traffic congestion between Tai Po and Fanling. In response, the Director of Highways (DHy) advised that a preliminary feasibility study on widening the section between Tai Po and Fanling to dual-4 lane would be conducted in September 1997, and construction works would start in 2002. The proposed timetable had taken into account the traffic forecast that the section of Tolo Highway north of Tai Po would remain within acceptable limits until 2006, and that the commissioning of the Country Park Section of Route 3 in mid-1998 would reduce traffic demands on Tolo Highway.

34. On the cash flow forecast for the project under discussion, DHy clarified that while the consultancy works would be substantially completed by the end of 1998, some work would still be required in 1999-2000 to cater for unforeseen changes in design during the construction stage.

35. In response to a member, DHy confirmed that the traffic flow on Tolo Highway would not be affected by the improvement works during construction, and this requirement would be specified in the contract.

36. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Yuen Long - Tuen Mun corridor : engineering works for new residential areas at Hung Shui Kiu and San Hing Tsuen

37. Responding to a member’s concern that the Administration had not consulted residents affected by the land resumption until recently, the Director of Territory Development advised that, in accordance with the established practice, the Administration had consulted the concerned Rural Committees and District Boards in late 1996. In April 1997, the Administration had also held discussion with affected residents who had expressed concern about the compensation and re-housing arrangements.

38.Noting that the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) had plans to provide public housing for about 13 000 people in area 13, the Chairman asked whether these units would be for rental or for sale. The Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) responded that he did not have details of the HKHS development in area 13, and he undertook to provide the information after the meeting. At a member’s request, he would also relay to HKHS the suggestion of reserving some public housing units in area 13 for the clearees. Admin

39. The Chairman commented that consideration should be given to increase the plot ratio of area 13 for greater cost effectiveness. In response, SPEL advised that according to the current plan, area 13 would support a population of 13 000 and the proposed plot ratio would be appropriate. Nevertheless, a consultancy study was underway to review the longer term and strategic development potential of the Northwest New Territories, and area 13 would be covered by the study.

40.With regard to the rate of compensation for land resumption in these areas, SPEL advised that this would be paid in accordance with the zoning policy and formulae agreed by the Finance Committee. He clarified that the rate of compensation was based on the existing rather than the future land use of the area concerned. In response to a member, SPEL undertook to provide further information on the ex-gratia compensation zoning of the development site. Admin

41. Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) sought clarifications on the reasons for seeking the Subcommittee’s endorsement of the project before the Executive Council’s approval of land resumption. They were concerned that the Subcommittee’s recommendations might pre-empt the Executive Council’s decision. In response, the Administration explained that it was the intention to seek the Executive Council’s approval of the land resumption for this project in July 1997, and to start the works in December 1997. In view of the urgency of the project to provide more land for housing development, the Administration had hoped to obtain the Subcommittee’s endorsement of the necessary works within the current legislative session. The proposal had therefore been included on the agenda of this meeting which was scheduled as the Subcommittee’s last meeting in the 1996-97 session according to the timetable agreed at the beginning of the session. The Administration assured members that the Subcommittee’s recommendation on project upgrading would not pre-empt the Executive Council in its deliberations on the land resumption issues, and that no works would be carried out without the Executive Council’s approval of land resumption. Notwithstanding the Administration’s explanation, members of the DAB still had doubts on the procedural arrangement for this proposal, and Mr IP Kwok-him requested that the DAB’s reservations in this respect be put on record.

42. As the proposal had been discussed at length and on the basis of the Administration’s clarification that even with the approval of funding, the proposed works in the project would not start until the land resumption had been authorised, the Chairman put the item to the vote. The item was voted on and endorsed.

43. The Committee was adjourned at 12:15 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat

18 June 1997

Last Updated on 16 August 1999