LC Paper No. PWSC34 /98-99
(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 fifth meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Wednesday, 7 October 1998, at 10:45 am

Members present :

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon Margaret NG
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Members absent :

Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Public officers attending :
Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Bowen LEUNG, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Secretary for Works Ag.

Director of Environmental Protection Ag.

Mr James HERD
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Director of Architectural Services

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

Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)

Director of Drainage Services

Director of Highways

Ms Shirley LAM
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)

Mr SIN Kwok-keung
Chief Traffic Engineer (New Territories East), Transport Department

Mr LEE Yan-ming
Chief Traffic Engineer (New Territories West),Transport Department

Director of Water Supplies
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

Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(98-99)19 226EP Primary school at Aldrich Bay reclamation,Shau Kei Wan
246EP Primary school in Siu Sai Wan
248EP Primary school in area 31, Tin Shui Wai
253EP Primary school in area 90B, Sha Tin
254EP Primary school in area 100, Sha Tin

In reply to a member's enquiry about the timetable for the provision of whole-day primary schooling, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2) (PAS(EM)2) advised that all proposals on new schools required for achieving the target of converting 60 % of bi-sessional primary schools to whole-day operation by the school year 2002/03 would be submitted to this Subcommittee before October 1999. Information on new schools planned for completion and for commencement of operation in the 1999/2000 to 2001/02 school years had been set out in the information note PWSCI(98-99)12. Members noted PAS(EM)2's remark that a longer-term target for achieving whole-day schooling for all primary students would be announced in the Chief Executive's 1998 Policy Address. On ways of converting bi-sessional primary schools into whole-day schools, the Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support) (AD of E) advised that the conversion was implemented mainly by reprovisioning some classes in existing bi-sessional schools to new schools constructed in the same district, supplemented by other administrative measures, such as slight adjustments in class size from 32.5 to 34.5 on average.

2. Elaborating on how the new designs of primary and secondary schools could facilitate the use of computers across the curriculum, PAS(EM)2 and AD of E advised that under the existing policy, each Government/aided/subsidized primary school and secondary school would be provided with, on average, 40 and 82 computers respectively. One of the key features of the new designs for primary and secondary schools (planned for completion in 2000 and thereafter) was to provide more accommodation and additional computer networking capacity so as to allow greater flexibility for the use of computers to facilitate the teaching and learning process They confirmed that apart from being installed in computer rooms and computer-assisted learning rooms, computers could also be used in the classrooms of new primary and secondary schools.

3. Responding to a member's concern about the adequacy of facilities for physical education and extra-curricula activities, PAS(EM)2 advised that for an existing 30-classroom primary school, the standard provision included two basketball courts, a covered playground of about 800 square metres, a student activity centre, and an assembly hall. In addition to these facilities, a multi-purpose area of 525 square metres would be provided under the new design for standard primary schools.

4. Regarding the increase in gross floor area on a reduced footprint under the new design for standard primary schools as set out in PWSCI(98-99)12, the Director of Architectural Services (DArchS) explained in reply to members that the classroom block under the new design would still consist of eight storeys. The increase in gross floor area was mainly attributable to the addition of a multi-purpose area in the special room block.

5. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(98-99)20 245EP Primary school at West Kowloon reclamation, Tai Kok Tsui
249EP Primary school in area 1, Tsing Yi
250EP Primary school at West Kowloon reclamation, Yau Ma Tei
251EP Primary school at Shek Yam Estate Phase 2, Kwai Chung

6. Referring to the explanatory note E(ii) in the Enclosure to the discussion paper on the cost for drainage and external works for school 245EP, DArchS advised in reply to a member that the use of ductile iron pipes and superflex joints was necessary as the site concerned was a recently reclaimed site. These materials cost about twice as much as the usual drainage materials. He also confirmed that these materials had been used for some years in public works projects on recently reclaimed sites.

7. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(98-99)21 239EP Two 24-classroom primary schools in South Horizons, Ap Lei Chau
244EP A 24-classroom primary school in Lok Wah Estate, Kwun Tong
255EP A 24-classroom primary school in area 39A, Fanling

8. In reply to a member, AD of E confirmed that to meet the shortfall of classrooms in the Kwun Tong District, seven new primary schools, including school 244EP under the present proposal, with a total of about 200 classrooms had been planned for completion by the 2002/03 school year. The relevant proposals would be submitted to this Subcommittee by October 1999.

9. Noting that the standard provision of basketball courts for a 24-classroom primary school was one court, members considered the total provision of open space including the basketball court too low because about 1000 students will have to be accommodated in this open space during recesses and school gatherings. PAS(EM)2 explained that there were practical difficulties in securing standard size school sites with a site area of 6200 square metres or above for building standard 30-classroom primary schools to meet the shortfall in school places. In order to meet the increase in demand and to speed up the implementation of whole-day primary schooling, the Administration had decided to make use of smaller sites to build smaller schools with 24 classrooms so as to meet the needs in certain districts. She stressed that where possible, two basketball courts would be provided in these smaller schools while the provision of other facilities would be suitably adjusted.

10. As to whether the layout of schools could be modified according to the constraints of individual sites to enable more efficient use of space, DArchS advised that where time and site conditions allowed, the Architectural Services Department (ASD) would be prepared to adjust the standard design to make better use of the site area. For example, the Department might consider modifying the layout of primary school 251EP under the previous item PWSC(98-99)20 from the L" shape to an I" shape to make available a larger open playground. However, in the case of school 239EP(A), preliminary assessment had revealed that modifying the layout of the school according to the shape of the site would entail substantial changes to the overall design of the school and delay the construction works.

11. Members considered that the Administration should exercise flexibility in the design of school buildings. While they appreciated the scarcity of land and site limitations, they urged the Administration to endeavour to improve the design of schools for the benefit of students. They did not accept that the tight construction schedule of new school projects would necessarily constrain the Administration in exploring improvements to the design. At the Chairman's request, the Administration agreed to confirm, before the scheduled Finance Committee meeting to consider the item, whether the design of school 239EP(A) could be modified to provide for a larger open playground without causing delay to the project.Admin.

12. In reply to a member, DArchS said that there would be designated loading areas for school buses for each proposed new school. For school 255EP in Fanling, due to site limitations, designating a loading area in front of the school was not feasible. Nevertheless, agreement had been reached with the management of Ka Fuk Estate (next to the school) to designate a loading area for school buses inside the estate. Students would have safe access from the estate to the school.

13. Noting that the site area for school 255EP was only 3029 square metres, a member was concerned that there would be insufficient space for students' activities during recess or lunch breaks. In reply, AD of E assured members that there should be sufficient space to cater for students' activities as apart from the open playground, there would be a multi-purpose area of over 400 square metres, as well as a covered playground of 613 square metres. The school could also make use of other facilities including the assembly hall, the student activity centre or even classrooms for students' extra-curricula activities.

14. Responding to members' concern about the maintenance of slopes adjacent to schools, PAS(EM)2 advised that under the existing policy, the responsibility for slope maintenance was mainly determined by the ownership of the slope in question. For slopes owned by Government, ASD would be responsible for the slope repair or maintenance works. For slopes owned by aided schools, Government would provide the necessary funds but the school management concerned had to engage private contractors to carry out the works. AD of E further confirmed that the slope adjacent to the proposed primary school 244EP in Lok Wah Estate was owned by Government and Government would be responsible for the necessary slope works.

15. As regards slopes requiring maintenance which were adjacent to a school but not owned by Government or the school, PAS(EM)2 advised that the owner(s) of the slope should be responsible for the maintenance of the slope. Besides, in implementing slope safety measures, the Government would give priority to those slopes which might affect schools. The Government also provided guidelines and organized seminars to enhance schools' awareness of slope safety and relevant contingency measures. A member further pointed out that it was important to ensure that new schools should be free from slope safety problems.

16. The item was voted on and endorsed. Miss Emily LAU and Mr Edward HO requested that their reservation on the proposal be recorded.

PWSC(98-99)22 224ES Secondary school at West Kowloon reclamation, Yau Ma Tei
225ES Secondary school at Nga Ying Chau, Tsing Yi
226ES Secondary school in area 90, Sha Tin
227ES Secondary school in area 77, Sha Tin
228ES Secondary school in Lok Wah Estate, KwunTong
229ES Fourth secondary school in Siu Sai Wan
231ES Secondary school at West Kowloon reclamation, Tai Kok Tsui

17. In reply to a member, AD of E advised that two basketball courts would be provided in a standard new 30-classroom secondary school. For school 225ES in Tsing Yi, apart from the basketball court shown on the layout plan, one more basketball court would be provided at the rooftop of the special room block. As to whether the layout of the school could be modified to provide for an additional basketball court on the open playground, DArchS opined that this was technically feasible but he needed to consult the Fire Services Department on whether the modified design would still satisfy fire safety requirements. Admin.

18. With regard to members' queries on school 229ES in Siu Sai Wan, DArchS undertook to consult the Lands Department on the planned land use of the triangular shaped site adjacent to the school site and to confirm before the scheduled Finance Committee meeting whether the former could be incorporated into the school site boundary. He also agreed to include information on the site area in the layout plans of all proposed schools in future submissions.Admin.

19. In reply to a member, AD of E confirmed that to facilitate greater interaction between teachers and students, all the proposed secondary schools would be provided with two deputy principal's offices, a discipline master's office and a school social worker's office. The former two offices would each have a net floor area of 10 square metres and the third 7 square metres. There would also be three interview rooms to cater for different needs. The bigger one would have a net floor area of 23 square metres and the other two smaller ones would have a net floor area of 6.5 square metres. These facilities had been duly included under items (d), (e) and (l) in paragraph 3 of the discussion paper.

20. On the provision of air-conditioning, PAS(EM)2 pointed out that in view of the substantial financial implications, (a capital cost of $500 million and a recurrent expenditure of $200 per student), the Administration had decided not to pursue across-the-board installation of air-conditioning for all schools at this stage. However, air-conditioning would be provided for individual schools on a need basis. In this connection, a member requested the Administration to consider providing air-conditioning to school 226ES in Ma On Shan on the ground that massive impending construction works would be undertaken in the area.

21. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Head 704 - DRAINAGE

PWSC(98-99)24 205DS Aberdeen, Ap Lei Chau and Pok Fu Lam sewerage

22. Noting that the minimum diameter of the proposed branch sewers was 150 millimetres, a member expressed concern that such small-diameter sewers might not be able to cater for the future flow demand and thus might need to be replaced very soon. He remarked that sewerage construction works were costly and disruptive and therefore, the proposed sewers should have adequate capacity to meet the long term demand. Addressing the member's concern, the Director of Drainage Services (DDS) advised that the majority of the proposed branch sewers would have a diameter of over 150 millimetres. Sewers of 150 millimetres in diameter would only be used for connecting the trunk sewers to individual properties, for which sewers of greater diameter would lower flow velocity and become susceptible to siltation.

23. Responding to concerns about the present problem of spillage of sewage in the areas in question and the method to be used for constructing the trunk sewers, DDS advised that the capacity of existing sewerage systems in the areas was generally inadequate for dealing with the current sewage flow and coping with future flow demand. There had been incidents of spillage in the subsidiary sewers especially in areas where a number of restaurants were located. However, the spillage situation was not serious on the main roads. The proposed trunk sewers would be constructed by pipe jacking, which would require higher construction costs but would cause less disruption to vehicular traffic and pedestrian access and minimise interference with existing underground installations.

24. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(98-99)25 126DS Sham Tseng sewerage and sewage treatment and disposal facilities

25. Noting that the whole project in question would only be completed by the end of 2003, some members questioned the present phasing of the project (with stage 2 phase 1 works under the present proposal to be completed in April 2001, stage 2 phase 2 works by April 2002 and the remaining works by December 2003). They pointed out that the water quality in the area was already very poor and enquired about the feasibility of expediting the project by combining and/or fast-tracking the various phases.

26. In response, DDS advised that the phasing of the project had been carefully planned taking into account the requirements of works sequencing and the necessary co-ordination required amongst the various works stages. The stage 2 phase 2 works were scheduled to commence in late 1999 to tie in with the programme for connecting the facilities of existing developments to the new sewerage system constructed under the stage 2 phase 1 works. He stressed that some environmental benefits could be achieved by April 2002 as the majority of the sewage flow in the areas would have been connected to the new sewerage system by then to enable the commissioning of the pumping station, sewage treatments works and submarine outfall constructed under the stage 2 phase 2 works. He added that the usual long time-frame for sewerage projects was inevitable due to the inherent complexity of the works and the statutory procedures required to get owners of concerned developments to link the existing facilities to the new sewerage system. He however took note of members' views that the remaining works should be expedited where possible, and that the funding proposals for the remaining parts of the project be submitted to this Subcommittee as soon as possible.

27. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Head 706 - HIGHWAYS

PWSC(98-99)26561TH Widening of Tolo Highway between Island House interchange and Ma Liu Shui interchange

28. On the impact of the associated reclamation works of the proposed road widening on the water quality of Tolo Harbour, the Director of Highways (D/Hy) advised that according to the Environment Impact Assessment study for this project, the reclamation works would not have significant impact on the marine environment. He assured members that the Highways Department would liaise with the Environmental Protection Department on the proper disposal of any contaminated mud removed from the seabed during reclamation works.

29. Noting that the planned Pak Shek Kok Reclamation (PSKR) would be a continuation of part of the reclamation proposed under this project, a member enquired about the interface arrangements for the two projects and questioned if part of the seawall constructed under this project might become abortive bearing in mind that another seawall would need to be constructed for the PSKR. DHy clarified that only a short length of temporary seawall would be constructed for the widened Tolo Highway within the PSKR site. The temporary seawall was necessary as works for that portion of PSKR would not commence until early 2001 while roadworks under this project were planned to start in December 1998 for completion in December 2001. Early reclamation for a strip of land protected by the temporary seawall was required to facilitate the transport of dumping waste to the PSKR public dump site. He added that part of the reclamation works funded under this project would actually be carried out in the context of the PSKR project. At the Chairman's request, the Administration agreed to provide information on the costs of the temporary seawall under this project, and further information on the interface arrangements for the two projects in question.Admin.

30. On the projected traffic flow on the Tolo Highway, members questioned the basis for deriving the traffic forecast figures quoted in the discussion paper, and whether more information on the future traffic demand was available for them to assess the need for the proposed roadworks. The Chief Transport Engineer (New Territories East), Transport Department (CTE/TD) advised that the annual growth of traffic on Tolo Highway over the past few years was 18% on average. He informed members that the projected V/C ratio for the southbound traffic (the busier traffic direction) with the proposed road widening would be 1.11 for year 2006. He further explained that the projected V/C ratios were computed by using a traffic demand model, which took into account parameters including the population forecast and the projected capacity of other transport infrastructure for the region etc. At members' request, the Administration agreed to provide further information on the projected traffic flow on the Tolo Highway from year 2001 onwards, and information on the factors that had been taken into account in deriving the projected V/C ratios. Members also requested the Administration to assess the impact of Route 3, the future railway development in North-east New Territories and the growth of cross-border freight traffic on the future traffic flow on Tolo Highway.Admin.

31. In view of members' questions and time constraints, members agreed that discussion on this item should be carried over to the next meeting to be held on 21 October 1998. The Administration was also requested to address the following additional points raised by members :
  1. In view of the Administration's projected V/C ratio of 1.11 in 2006 for the southbound traffic, the rationale for widening the Tolo Highway to dual-4 lanes, instead of dual-5 lanes or otherwise;

  2. while there were plans to widen the remaining section of Tolo Highway and Fanling Highway between Island House interchange and Fanling, whether there would be corresponding improvements to the road infrastructure south of Ma Liu Shui Interchange leading to Kowloon; and

  3. on the project estimates, further clarification on the relatively high cost estimates for noise barriers ($591.3 million) required for this project and site staff costs ($131.4 million).
Any other business

32. Due to insufficient time, items PWSC(98-99)27, 28 and 23, which had not been dealt with at the meeting, would be carried over to the next meeting of the Subcommittee.

33. The meeting ended at 12:50 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
27 October 1998