LegCo Paper No. PWSC 16/96-97
(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, 6 November 1996
at 10:45 a.m. 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 S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members absent :

    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai

Members attending :

    Hon SZETO Wah

Public officers attending :

Mr Bowen LEUNG, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Secretary for Works
Mr 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)
Director of Territory Development
Deputy Director of Highways
Director of Drainage Services
Mr Kenneth CHAN, JP
Director of Architectural Services
Mrs Sarah KWOK
Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (B)
Mr LAU Shu-lam
Chief Fire Officer (Headquarters), Fire Services Department
Miss Annette LEE
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)
Mr CHENG Man-yiu
Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)
Chief Architect/5, Housing Department

Clerk in attendance:

Mrs Constance LI
Chief Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

Staff in attendance:

Miss Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1
Mr Andy LAU
Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)


Revision in scope/approved estimate of projects in Category A




Belcher Bay reclamation

Noting that the project estimates had been revised twice since the Finance Committee’s original approval in 1992, members enquired the reasons for the proposed revision of project costs. In response, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) explained that the increase was largely due to price fluctuation caused by inflation. He advised that the Government only started to use the money-of-day prices for all capital works projects in April 1995. Prior to this date, estimates for non-Airport Core Programme projects were approved on a constant price basis, making no allowance for inflation during the construction period. As the project fell into this category, the project estimates approved earlier were inadequate to cover the actual costs of the proposed works.

2. DTD further advised that the project scope had been expanded to include additional temporary district open space, following consultation with the Central and Western District Board. In reply to a member, DTD confirmed that it was technically feasible to include the detailed design of the additional facilities in the project at this stage, as the provision of the open space was not part of the main contract which had already commenced.

3. Responding to a member, DTD advised that the Belcher Bay reclamation was part of the overall programme for the Green Island Reclamation for which an environmental impact assessment had been conducted and mitigation measures implemented. The proposed additional works would not have any adverse impact on the environment.

4. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Upgrading of projects to Category A




Yung Shue Wan development, engineering works

5. Members noted that the paper was a re-submission item, and the Administration had reviewed the design in response to members’ comments expressed at the meeting on 4 June 1996 and during a site visit to Yung Shue Wan on 20 July 1996. In response to members’ concerns about the measures to preserve the natural environment and rural character of Yung Shue Wan, particularly in Phase II of the project, DTD advised that the Administration would study the feasibility of forming an artificial beach along a section of the promenade within the Phase II seafront, and that appropriate open space and community services would also be provided. The Phase II project would start in 2000 and should be completed in 2003. The facilities to be provided would cater for a target population of 6,800 in 2003.

6. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Tseung Kwan O development, phase 3, remaining engineering works

7. With regard to noise mitigation measures, a member commented that the requirement to set back developments on the two sides of the road did not represent an economic use of land. He suggested that the Administration should explore more effective noise abatement options such as using low-noise materials for road-surfacing. In response, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) advised that for new projects, an assessment would be made on the overall environmental impact, and all possible noise abatement options would be considered during the planning process. As regards the feasibility of using low-noise road surfacing materials, the Deputy Director of Highway (DD/Hy) advised that the Administration had evaluated the effectiveness of various noise-reduction materials for roads, but their durability was questionable. Low noise surfacing materials on their own were of limited value as they had no effect on the noise impact from car engines. The Administration would continue to explore other noise mitigation options.

8. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Public transport interchange in Siu Sai Wan

9. Members expressed concern about the air pollution problem in the existing covered public transport interchanges (PTI) and asked what measures the Government would take to improve the design of the ventilation systems of the new PTIs.

10. In reply, DD/Hy advised that the design of the ventilation systems would be in compliance with the prevailing standard set by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). In relation to the interchange at Lam Tin, the Director of Environmental Protection advised that the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) had recently been working on an improved design for the ventilation system. The results were encouraging and should ensure better ventilation in future PTIs. DD/Hy added that the new specifications for ventilation systems could be included in the tender for the PTI, and EMSD would eventually be responsible for the system testing and subsequent maintenance.


11. As for measures to minimize noise reverberation which might affect residents, DD/Hy undertook to provide further information to members after the meeting.

12. Responding to a member’s question, DD/Hy advised that the Transport Department would review the deployment of transport routes serviced by the bus termini in the area as the existing permanent bus terminus would cease operation upon the opening of the new PTI. He also noted a member’s suggestion that, for the convenience of the residents, the PTI could be opened prior to the completion of the entire development. In response to a member’s question, DD/Hy advised that the reserve area at the PTI would mainly be the service core for the building and for the utilities. He also confirmed that a toilet would be provided at the PTI.

13. Noting that the Government would stipulate in the Conditions of Sale for the land a condition requiring the developer to provide the PTI at a ceiling cost of $21.65 million, members sought clarification on the tendering arrangements. In response, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3) advised that in line with the agreement of the Sino-British Land Commission, land premium less the cost of land production was shared between Hong Kong Government and the future Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. As such, only those project costs directly related to land production would be deducted from the premium, while funding for Government, Institution and Community facilities on the land would have to be met through the Public Works Programme. SPEL added that it was normal practice to entrust certain government projects such as PTIs to private developers. In the invitation to tender for the site, the Government could require the developer to provide certain facilities at a ceiling cost as a contingent liability of the land sale. Such costs would not include adjustments for inflation, and the developer would have to bear any additional costs greater than the ceiling figure which was calculated on the basis of the cost to Government of carrying out a similar project. On completion of the project, the developer would be reimbursed the actual costs, on production of bills and receipts, subject to the ceiling specified in the tender document.


14. A member remarked that such arrangements might induce the developer to maximize the ceiling costs by such means as entrusting the project to a subsidiary company. To ensure that the developer would not charge unreasonable prices for the project, he suggested the Government consider the option of requiring the developer to conduct an open tendering exercise for the PTI. At the request of the Chairman, the Administration agreed to further examine the feasibility of this suggestion.

15. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Port Shelter sewerage


Port Shelter sewerage, stage 2

16. On the arrangements for house connection works, the Director of Drainage Services (DDS) advised that the Administration would serve notice to the owners of the affected premises requiring them to construct corresponding terminal manholes in their private lots, in line with the progress of the works. If necessary, the house connections works could be carried out during weekends.

17. Noting that the Port Shelter sewerage improvement project would take some years to complete, a member asked whether the works could be expedited with the deployment of more resources. In response, DDS advised that given the scale of the improvement works and current manpower constraints, the Administration had drawn up a prioritised programme for the necessary works, with regard to the population density and water quality in the affected areas. The improvement works for the more seriously affected areas had already commenced. The present proposal covered areas where the quality of beach water was ranked as acceptable.

18. In reply to a member, DDS advised that on completion of the public sewerage system and household connections in the area, householders would be required to pay a sewage charge.

19. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Sewage sludge conditioning facilities



20. Members expressed concern about the need to spend $200,000 for overseas inspection of the machinery. The amount appeared to be on the high side compared to the costs of overseas visits organized by the Legislative Council and other government departments. In reply, DDS advised that, to safeguard Government’s interest, it was normal practice to send staff overseas to attend the factory acceptance tests on technically sophisticated machinery procured under contract. Apart from ensuring the quality of the machinery to be delivered, attendance at the factory tests would enhance the professional knowledge of the staff. He undertook to provide a breakdown on the estimated costs of the overseas inspection visits, including information such as the number of participants and the itinerary. To facilitate members’ consideration of proposals of this kind, the Administration undertook to include in future submissions to the Finance Committee cost breakdowns of all overseas visits or inspections.

21. Responding to a member, DDS advised that the standard of sludge dewatering was drawn up on the basis of the Integrated Sludge Disposal Strategy Study commissioned by the EPD, with regard to operational and environmental problems associated with the disposal of sludge at landfills. He further advised that the present sludge dewatering facilities at Shatin Treatment Works were incapable of meeting the current standard, and new facilities would have to be provided for this purpose. He confirmed that the dewatering operation would not have any adverse impact on the water quality of Shing Mun River.

22. Members were generally in support of the proposal. They expressed reservations, nevertheless, on the arrangements relating to the Sewage Services Trading Fund in view of a recent Resolution passed by the Legislative Council urging the Government to review the Sewage Services Trading Fund.

23. The item was voted on and endorsed.




Chai Wan ambulance depot

24. Members generally considered that the paper did not contain sufficient information, such as the forecast demand for emergency ambulance service in the area, to justify the need for an additional ambulance station in Chai Wan.

25. In response to members’ questions, the Chief Fire Officer (Headquarters) (CFO) advised that, with the increase in the number of emergency ambulance calls in Chai Wan and Shaukeiwan areas from about 11 000 in 1994-95 to 12 337 in 1995-96, the facilities of the existing ambulance depot were already stretched to the limit. This had adversely affected the quality of ambulance service in the district, such that, in 1995-96 only 87.36% of emergency calls were the subject of a response within the target travelling time of ten minutes. This compared to a figure of 93% for such calls in 1994-95. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Security added that the existing depot with only two bays was sub-standard, but due to site constraints, further expansion of the existing depot was not possible. It was therefore necessary to construct a new standard depot with four bays to meet the service demand.

26. On the planning standards for the construction of new depots, CFO advised that it was difficult to forecast the demand for emergency service. The current planning standard was based on the performance target of 92.5% of emergency calls receiving a response within a travel time of ten minutes. In deciding on the sites and the number of depots needed in any particular area, the Administration would take into account factors such as the frequency of calls, traffic congestion and the incidence of inclement weather.

27. In response to a member’s question on the future use of the existing depot following the opening of the new depot, CFO advised that the Hing Wah Estate depot would be retained until the Department had reviewed the actual demand for emergency services in the district. The existing site would then be released. On the question of whether maintaining two depots would lead to duplication of resources, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury clarified that construction of a new depot might not necessarily lead to a corresponding increase in manpower. Additional crews would have to be separately justified on the basis of the overall increase in the number of new ambulances, in the context of the annual Resource Allocation Exercises. She clarified that the re-current expenditure figure of $256,000 mentioned in the paper was only for the maintenance of the new depot.

28. Members expressed concern about the nuisance caused by ambulance sirens and the public address system installed at ambulance depots. They asked the Administration to review the design of such devices to reduce the noise nuisance to nearby residents. In response, CFO advised that the Department had already introduced administrative measures to contain the level of noise at depots and would strictly enforce the proper use of sirens etc during day-time operations, for example, to facilitate the speedy transportation of emergency cases during rush hours. The Department would continue to examine other options to reduce the noise nuisance in this respect.

29. In response to a query on projected expenditure for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001, the Director of Architectural Services advised that most costs would be incurred before 1999. Nevertheless, a small amount of funds would be required for minor modification works following the completion of the construction period.

30. Some members were concerned that the proposed site was not fully utilized. They questioned whether the Administration had made genuine efforts in identifying joint users in order to maximize the use of the site. In reply, CFO advised that the Government Property Administrator had conducted joint user searches on two occasions in 1994 and 1996 but had been unsuccessful. In view of the urgent need to improve ambulance service in the area, the proposal was made in order not to delay the project further.


31. After some discussion, several members maintained the view that the Administration should provide further information before a decision was taken on the proposal. In view of members’ queries, the Administration withdrew the proposal. The Administration would re-submit the paper to the Subcommittee with additional information for members’ consideration at the next meeting.

32. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.



Two primary schools in area 55, Tseung Kwan O


Primary school in area 31, Tin Shui Wai

33. With regard to the quality of windows to be provided at the proposed school in Tin Shui Wai, the Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) clarified that Type I openable, well-gasketted windows would be used to reduce the traffic noise impact to an acceptable level.

34. Some members commented that the location of school sites in recent proposals was rather unsatisfactory as the schools were often subject to noise nuisance. They urged the Government to make more efforts to make available better sites for new schools.

35. The item was voted on and endorsed.



Third secondary school in Siu Sai Wan, Chai Wan


Secondary school in area 25, Tseung Kwan O


Secondary school in area 31, Tin Shui Wai

36. On the high piling costs of the proposed schools in Siu Sai Wan and Tseung Kwan O, D Arch S advised that the piling costs reflected the adjustments required to suit the site conditions. In the Siu Sai Wan project, bored piles were used instead of the traditional steel H-piles, while additional steel H-piles would be required for the school in Tseung Kwan O.

37. As different types of gasketted windows would cater for different levels of noise nuisance, D Arch S advised that the selection of a particular type of window would be based on the maximum design capacity of the road, hence it would not be necessary to replace the windows in case of an increase of traffic in the area.

38. Members again expressed their concern about the unsatisfactory location of new school sites as these schools would be subject to a high level of noise nuisance. They urged the Government to make more efforts to make available better sites to schools.

39. The Administration also took note of a member’s suggestion that there should be sufficient loading bays for school buses in the vicinity.

40. The item was voted on and endorsed.

41. The Committee was adjourned at 12:50 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
28 November 1996

Last Updated on 16 August 1999