Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. PWSC 37
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the
Provisional Legislative Council

Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Tuesday, 4 November 1997, at 10:45 am

Members present:

Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Henry WU
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Members absent :

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

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

Secretary for Works

Mr Rob LAW, JP
Director of Environmental Protection

Mr Edward CHU
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Director of Territory Development

Miss Vera SO, JP
Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (Administration & Markets)

Deputy Director of Water Supplies

Director of Architectural Services

Ms Ellen CHOY
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)

Assistant Director of Education (Allocation & Support)

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

Ms Jennifer CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (M2)

Director of Highways

Clerk in attendance:

Mrs Vivian KAM
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5

Staff in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Mr Kenneth KWOK
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8

As the Chairman, Mr HO Sai-chu, was not in Hong Kong, the Deputy Chairman, Mr Raymond HO Chung-tai, chaired the meeting.

Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(97-98)54 7455CL Site formation for Yuen Long combined wholesale food market

2.Members noted that the proposal under consideration was mainly for site formation works for the combined wholesale food market, and that construction of the market would come under a separate proposal to be made at a later stage. Nevertheless, as the location of the market and its usage could hardly be changed once the site was formed, members raised concern on the acceptability of the site to the affected wholesalers.

3.The Director of Territory Development (DTD) explained that the nuisance caused by the existing wholesale activities along Hop Yick Road in Yuen Long had been the subject of frequent public complaints for many years. There was an urgent need for building a wholesale food market in the district to accommodate the kerbside wholesale activities. The Environmental Improvement Committee of the Yuen Long District Board (YLDB), which had all along kept a close interest in the project, had been consulted on the location of the site and had expressed support of the proposal. Finding a suitable site in the district was difficult because of the requirement for proximity to its present location and large size of the site required. The proposed location was chosen after careful and lengthy consideration by various Government departments and parties concerned.

4.A member emphasised the importance of consultation especially with the food traders, and enquired about efforts made in this direction. In response, the Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (Administration & Markets) (AD/AF(A&M)) advised that there was no formal group which represented the traders but public consultation was done through the YLDB. The traders, who attended YLDB meetings, were aware of the Administration's proposal and had not raised any objections to the proposed location which was close to the Yuen Long Town Centre and had good supporting infrastructure. At members' request, AD/AF(A&M) agreed to notify and consult the food traders directly and report on the results of the consultation undertaken when bidding funds for the construction of the food market structure. She also confirmed in response to a member that the market would be managed by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department. Admin

5.On the aspect of environmental impact, DTD advised that the Administration had fully assessed the potential environmental nuisance of the market. On account of the potential noise nuisance, an original plan for incorporating a poultry market into the food market had been rejected and the market would only house traders of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Poultry wholesale activities in the whole territory would be taken care of by the Cheung Sha Wan and the Western wholesale food markets.

6.Commenting on AD/AF(A&M)'s advice that the market was temporary in nature, members expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of long term planning for the use of the site. They also saw a need for maximising resources and putting the land into more effective use in view of the scarce land resources in Hong Kong. As opposed to the construction of a one-storey structure, the addition of more facilities should be considered including, for example, a multi-storey building which would include carparks for lorries in order to alleviate the problem of carpark shortages particularly in the Yuen Long district. DTD said in response that utilisation of the land had been given careful consideration. He nevertheless agreed to re-examine other possible usages as suggested by members in conjunction with departments concerned, and report on the outcome when funds were sought for the construction of the market. Admin

7.On the schedule for the proposed works, DTD confirmed that land resumption would be completed by March 1998 and that the completion of related road works would synchronize with the completion of the market at the end of 1999.

8.The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)579227WFExtension of Au Tau treatment works supply system - mainlaying between Au Tau treatment works and Yuen Long Town

9.The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)569029WSImprovement to Tsuen Wan/Kwai Chung salt water supply

10.Noting that most of the salt water mains in the supply system in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung district were asbestos cement pipes, a member enquired about the safety aspect of such pipes and its usage in other cities. The Deputy Director of Water Supplies advised that asbestos cement mains were safe for water transportation and were commonly used internationally in the 1960's. The number of such mains being used in Hong Kong should be comparable to those in other countries. He assured members that when there was a need to remove or repair the pipes, contractors would do so in accordance with guidelines on handling of asbestos material laid down by the Environmental Protection Department and that no danger would be posed to both the workers and members of the public. Under the proposal being considered, new mains would be laid to provide an alternative salt water main so that water supply would not be suspended when emergency repair or regular maintenance was carried out. The Administration had consulted the Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing Provisional District Boards on the project and would minimise inconvenience to the public, in particular disturbances to traffic at major road junctions, during the construction period.

11.The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)583212ESSecondary school in Heng Fa Chuen, Hong Kong

3222ESSecond secondary school in area 16, Tuen Mun

12.Referring to the anticipated shortfall of 123 classes in the territory by 1999, members asked for the geographical distribution of such classes. The Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support) (AD of E (A&S)) responded that the shortfall was mainly in Tuen Mun and Hong Kong Island East and construction of two secondary schools, one in each of the two districts, had accordingly been proposed to relieve the shortfall.

13.Members were concerned about the impact of road traffic noise on the proposed secondary school in Heng Fa Chuen, and enquired about the effect on the school of the highway to be constructed upon clearance of a temporary housing area nearby. A member also suggested changing the orientation of the classroom block so that the classrooms would face the sea rather than the busy roads in order to reduce noise nuisance. The Director of Architectural Services advised that noise mitigation measures would be provided to the school in accordance with the stipulated criteria. It was however not possible to change the orientation of the classroom block owing to the restriction imposed by the 10 meter wide drainage reserve. As regards the proposed highway referred to by members, the Director of Highways (DHy) undertook to provide a written reply after the meeting. Admin

14.On the utilisation of the 30 classrooms and facilities in the 15 special rooms, AD of E (A&S) advised that provision of the 30 classrooms would enable the school to operate secondary 1 to 6 classes without floatation and that the special rooms would include up-to-date information technology related facilities such as computer room and multi-media centre. The Chairman remarked that members who were interested in the subject could follow-up the issue at the Education Panel or the Information Policy Panel.

15.The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)553228EPPrimary school in area 3, Tin Shui Wai

3237EPSecond primary school in area 3, Tin Shui Wai

16.The Director of Environmental Protection confirmed in response to a member that to minimize road traffic noise to the proposed primary schools, temporary noise mitigation measures in the form of noise barriers would be constructed along Ping Ha Road before completion of the permanent noise barriers.

17.The item was voted on and endorsed.

New commitment for subvented project


PWSC(97-98)608034MMHong Kong Eye Hospital - expansion of surgical care facilities

18.A member observed that the provision of two additional operating theatres would only increase the level of eye surgeries provided by the Hong Kong Eye Hospital by about 34%, and that this was not compatible with the increase of 66% of elderly people in Hong Kong by the year 2016. He asked if there were plans for coping with the demand for medical eye care services. The Deputy Director/Hospital Authority (DD/HA) explained that the need for medical eye care services was not directly proportionate to the expansion in population. He supplemented that eyecare facilities were also available in other eye specialist clinics and hospitals in Queen Mary Hospital, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital and Madam Yung Fung Shee Health Centre, and that these should be sufficient to cater for the need of residents in the different areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. He also confirmed that the average waiting time for non-emergency cases would, upon expansion of the facilities, be reduced from 11 to seven months.

19.On the question of manpower, DD/HA affirmed that there was no staff shortage in this field as the Hospital Authority had been stepping up training in the past few years. The number of surgeries carried out on cataract for example had increased from 5 000 in 1993-94 to 10 000 in 1996-97, and a sufficient number of staff were available to perform the tasks.

20.The item was voted on and endorsed.

Revision in approved estimate of a block allocation


PWSC(97-98)596100TXBlock allocation - Highway works, studies and investigations for items in Category D of the Public Works Programme

21.In response to a member, DHy confirmed that the supplementary provision sought was for carrying out unforseen substantial and urgent slope repairs and road resurfacing/rehabilitation works for roads/pavements damaged by the extraordinary and prolonged heavy rainfall during this summer. He assured members that contractors as well as supervisory staff would be reminded of the need to follow strictly the requirements of providing alternative routes for pedestrians during construction, and to display the schedule for completion and complaint hotlines at the work sites.

22.The item was voted on and endorsed.

23.The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
25 November 1997