LC Paper No. PWSC110/98-99
(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 fourteenth meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Wednesday, 14 April 1999, 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 Yuen-han
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
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Members absent :

Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Christine LOH
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP

Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Gordon SIU, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Secretary for Works

Mr M J Stokoe, JP
Deputy Director of Environmental Protection

Director of Architectural Services

Mr Francis LO
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (5)

Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2)

Mr John WAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (1)

Director of Territory Development

Chief Engineer (Tsuen Wan), New Territories
West Development Office

General Manager/Planning and Development,
Marine Department
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(1999-2000)461GI GIC accommodation in development at Fanling Sheung Shui Town Lot 195, area 19, Luen Wo Hui, Fanling

Mr Eric LI declared interest as a member of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

2. Miss Emily LAU enquired about the cost-effectiveness of the existing two Environmental Resources Centres (ERC), and the justifications for providing an additional ERC in the proposed Government/Institution/Community (GIC) accommodation. In reply, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands said that at the policy level, the Administration was committed to implementing a series of measures to tackle the pollution problem and for these measures to be effective, it was necessary to promote public awareness of environmental issues facing Hong Kong and enlist community support for and participation in implementing the measures. The Deputy Director of Environmental Protection (DD/EP) supplemented that the two existing ERCs in Wanchai and Tsuen Wan were established in 1993 and 1997 and had been attended by some 83 000 and 17 000 visitors respectively. The proposed ERC at Luen Wo Hui would serve the population of the North District in the New Territories.

3. Elaborating on the cost-effectiveness of these ERCs, DD/EP indicated that although the Administration had not conducted any survey on the direct effect of ERCs on community environmental awareness, public education on environmental protection should be considered as a long-term exercise. The implementation of ERCs mainly aimed at "training the trainers" who would in turn disseminate the message to other members of the community such as students. Miss Emily LAU expressed disappointment with the Administration's response, commenting that a substantive cost-effectiveness analysis should have been conducted at least for the ERC in Wanchai which had already been in operation for six years. She pointed out that in view of the poor performance of the Government in environmental protection over the past years and the meagre information provided by the Administration on the cost-effectiveness of the existing ERCs, she had reservation on setting up an additional ERC as proposed.

4. On the reason for providing a community hall facility in Fanling at Luen Wo Hui in addition to an existing community hall at Cheung Wah Estate instead of providing one in Sheung Shui, the Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2) (AD/HA(2)) advised that an auditorium facility of the Provisional Regional Council was already available in Sheung Shui, whilst the existing community hall at Cheung Wah Estate with only 200 seats simply did not have sufficient capacity to cater for a large number of community events. The Administration had also received strong calls from residents of the Luen Wo Hui area to provide a community hall facility with a greater capacity. Having regard to the large population in Fanling, particularly around the Luen Wo Hui area, the Administration considered it appropriate to provide an additional community hall to address the genuine need for community building facilities of the population.

5. On concern about the low utilisation of some existing community halls, AD/HA(2) acknowledged the problem and assured members that the Home Affairs Department was actively formulating measures to improve the situation, with particular regard to the management aspects. As regards the proposed community hall, the Administration envisaged that given the large population in the North District and the tradition of festive activities in the area, the future utilisation of the proposed community hall would be even higher than the existing one at Cheung Wah Estate. Mr LAU Kong-wah pointed out that the low utilisation of some existing community halls could be attributed to the outdated design and provision of these halls and enquired how the design of the proposed community hall would be geared to meeting modern-day requirements and community needs. In reply, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (5) (PAS/HA(5)) advised that the proposed 450-seat community hall would be designed according to the latest planning standards for community building facilities which had just been revised in 1998. The Director of Architectural Services (DArchS) supplemented that the proposed community hall would be provided with modern sound equipment and other electronic audio-visual facilities.

6. Mr LI Wah-ming pointed out that under existing policy on children and youth services, an integrated approach was usually taken in providing youth facilities and a variety of other youth services were usually offered in conjunction with Children and Youth Centres (CYC). He enquired whether this approach would be adopted for the proposed CYC as the project scope in the paper indicated that only a study/reading room would be provided in addition to the CYC. In response, PAS/HA(5) undertook to obtain further information from the Social Welfare Department and provide a written reply to Mr LI's question before the meeting of the Finance Committee scheduled to consider this proposal. As a general remark, Mr Eric LI pointed out that apart from the availability of space, provision of a wide variety of facilities would also involve manpower and co-ordination considerations. Admin.

7. Noting that construction of the proposed GIC accommodation would take about two years but the professional input (architectural discipline) of the consultant for contract administration was estimated to be two man-months only, Mr Edward HO enquired about the reason for the estimate. DArchS clarified that the project architect would supervise the works throughout the construction period, but he would not need to provide supervision on a full time basis. In reply to Mr HO on how the actual consultants' fees for the project would be determined under the proposed entrustment arrangement, DArchS advised that subject to the approval of the Finance Committee, the scope and requirements of the GIC accommodation project would be incorporated into the land sale conditions for the subject site. The project estimate under the present proposal would represent the ceiling of the financial commitment for the project. Under the land sale conditions, the developer would be required to present its estimates on consultant's fees and the construction cost for the whole development project, including those for the GIC part, to the Government for agreement before engaging contractors to commence construction. Upon completion of the project, the Administration would discuss and finalise with the developer the actual final construction cost and consultants' fees for the GIC accommodation.

8. As regards the apportionment of the consultants' fees between the developer and the Government under the entrustment arrangement, DArchS advised that the developer would be required to present the bills of consultants' fees for the whole development and the fees would be apportioned pro-rata to the respective construction floor areas of the GIC portion and the remaining portion of the composite development. He further remarked that this arrangement was able to protect the interest of the Government in the light of past experience in similar composite development projects in which residential units formed the main component.

9. Mr LI Wah-ming alerted the Administration of the need to ensure adequate supervision of the GIC project works, since the developer had no direct interest in the GIC portion of the development. While assuring members that the Administration would closely monitor the construction of the proposed GIC accommodation, DArchS advised that the outturn quality of GIC projects entrusted to private developers had generally been satisfactory, partly because developers were motivated to deliver a quality GIC structure to impress prospective buyers of the residential units of the same development. Mr LI pointed out that while developers might be motivated to construct an attractive facade for the GIC accommodation, they had no particular incentives to ensure quality works for the internal parts of the accommodation. Mr LI's concern was echoed by Mr LAU Kong-wah. DArchS noted the advice and would ensure that there would be adequate supervision of the GIC facilities during the construction period.

10. As regards the plot ratio achieved by the proposed GIC accommodation, DArchS advised that the designated maximum plot ratio for the residential, GIC and carpark portions of the subject development was 2.89, 3 and 1 respectively. The proposed GIC accommodation in the form of a podium structure could only achieve a plot ratio of 2.4 due to the statutory height limit for podium structures. In response to Mr LEE Wing-tat's query on the necessity of the height restriction, DArchS said that the Buildings Department was undertaking a consultancy study on the existing statutory provisions relating to the lighting and ventilation aspects of buildings and the aforesaid provision on height restriction for podium structures would also be covered. Pending completion of the review, the Government had to abide by the existing statutory provisions.

11. In reply to Mr Edward HO's enquiry, DArchS confirmed that according to the land sale conditions drawn up by the Lands Department for the subject site, unused plot ratio for the GIC portion could not be transferred to the residential portion. He added that as far as he understood from the Lands Department, strict application of the 2.89 plot ratio limit for the residential use was necessary on town planning considerations. Mr Edward HO was concerned that this restriction might not be justified as it would prevent the site from being developed to its full potential. At the Chairman's request, the Administration agreed to provide a written explanation to address Mr HO's concern.

12. With regard to the urgency of the proposal, DArchS explained that this was not due to any slippage in the planning process, but the need to incorporate the relevant conditions into the land sale conditions of the subject site which had been scheduled for disposal in April 1999 under the latest land disposal programme.Admin.

13. Miss Emily LAU requested that her reservation on the proposal with particular regard to the proposed ERC be recorded. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)5 173SC Centre for Youth Development

14.Mr Eric LI declared an interest as the chairman of the Commission on Youth (CoY).

15. On the purposes of the proposed 24-storey Centre for Youth Development (CYD), the Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (1) (PAS/HA(1)) advised that having regard to the views of various youth service providers and youth groups, the Administration and CoY were of the view that the emphasis of development programmes and services for young people should be on diversity and participation. The proposed CYD was aimed at providing modern but affordable facilities which were much needed and were not available under the present programmes and services on youth development. The long-term goal was to develop the CYD into a popular place for youth functions.

16. On the reasons for selecting the subject site in Chai Wan for the proposed CYD, which some members considered as lacking in space for outdoor sports and recreational facilities, Mr Eric LI, in his capacity as chairman of CoY, advised that the steering committee for the project had carefully examined the need for inclusion of sports and recreational facilities in the CYD. In view of the availability of such facilities in the vicinity, such as the Lei Yue Mun Holiday Village, Chai Wan Park and various other sports and recreational facilities managed by the Provisional Urban Council, the steering committee considered it more appropriate to provide other types of facilities which were not currently available. In this regard, CoY and youth service providers shared a common concern about the lack of affordable facilities for youth development activities such as exhibitions, leadership training programmes and youth exchange programmes. PAS/HA(1) added that the subject site was easily accessible as it was adjacent to the Chai Wan Mass Transit Railway Station, and its convenient location would help making the CYD a popular activity centre among young people.

17. Mr SIN Chung-kai stated his objection to building the proposed CYD in Chai Wan. The district, in his view, was an old district with a relatively small proportion of young people in its population. He considered it more appropriate for the proposed CYD to be located in Central Kowloon or New Territories. Mr CHENG Kar-foo also expressed reservation on the suitability of the subject site in view of the lack of space for sports and recreational facilities.

18. Regarding the future management of the CYD, PAS/HA(1) informed members that the said steering committee was working out details of the future operational arrangements for the CYD. The primary principle was for the Centre to operate on a self-financing basis. It was envisaged that the CYD would be able to provide facilities and services at relatively low charges and remain financially viable as the capital cost of the Centre would be funded by the Government. PAS/HA(1) confirmed that the same arrangement had been adopted for the Arts Centre and the Academy for Performing Arts in the early years of their establishment.

19. With reference to the proposed facilities in the CYD, PAS/HA(1) advised that the 150-room youth hostel would mainly cater for youth exchange programmes involving both local and overseas participants and youth leadership training programmes for local young people. The other proposed facilities including a convention centre and various activities areas would serve as venues for activities to promote arts and culture, information technology and leadership training. He stressed that the design of these facilities would be highly versatile to cater for a diverse range of youth activities. The proposed cafe and shops would provide a source of funding for the CYD and provide young people with the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurship. He also confirmed that all the existing facilities and services at the Chai Wan Community Centre would be reprovisioned at the proposed CYD. Mr Eric LI added that except for the day nursery, all the services and facilities to be reprovisioned were related to youth development and thus were compatible with the proposed new facilities for the CYD.

20. Mr Eric LI appreciated that members might have considerable queries at this stage, mainly because the detailed design and operational arrangements were yet to be worked out. He remarked that CoY in conjunction with the Administration had undertaken extensive consultations with youth groups and service providers in finalising the proposal for the project. Many of these bodies had expressed high expectations and looked upon the CYD to provide the necessary hardware support for their youth development programmes. There was also a consensus among these bodies that young people should be given greater freedom and innovation over the use of facilities and therefore, the facilities of the CYD should be highly versatile in design.

21. In reply to members' enquiries, DArchS advised that based on an estimated construction unit cost of about $22,000 per square metre, the estimated total construction cost for the CYD with an estimated total gross floor area of 35 000 square metres was some $850 million.

22. Members in general were of the view that although the present proposal was concerned with engaging consultancy services for the detailed design for the proposed CYD and a separate proposal on its construction would be submitted to this Subcommittee at a later stage, the present proposal would have important implications on the whole project, for which substantial financial commitment would be required. Whilst members did not dispute the need to provide greater youth services facilities, they considered that a number of issues relating to the concepts, objectives and the future operational arrangements of the proposed CYD would require further clarification and discussion. They were particularly concerned at how the whole project including the proposed facilities could contribute to the objectives of promoting youth development. They therefore urged the Administration to brief the Home Affairs and other relevant Panels on the project before further consideration of the funding proposal.

23. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong considered that insufficient justifications had been provided in the paper and commented that the Finance Bureau (FB) should also scrutinize all funding proposals vigilantly before submitting them to this Subcommittee. In response, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (DS/Tsy) assured members that FB vetted all funding proposals carefully before forwarding them to this Subcommittee and the Finance Committee as a matter of standing practice. She emphasized that FB had carefully scrutinized the present proposal with regard to its objectives, the proposed facilities and the project estimates. Noting members' concerns, she agreed that members would have been in a better position to make a considered judgement on the present proposal if they had been briefed at the relevant Panel(s) beforehand. In order to provide members with a full picture of the financial commitment required for a specific project, she said the Administration would try to include as far as possible information on the financial implications of the subsequent stages of the project in question in future PWSC proposals.

24. The Administration took note of members' requests for further information on the following aspects of the proposed consultancy -

  1. the justification for engaging consultancy services instead of deploying in-house resources to prepare the outline sketches, detailed design and contract documentation for the project;

  2. the basis on which the estimates for the consultants' fees were calculated;

  3. the assessment of alternative project approaches such as entrusting the project to the organisation that would take up the management of the CYD and the design-and-build approach; and

  4. whether upon reprovisioning, additional space would be provided to the existing facilities/services at the Chai Wan Community Centre.

25. In view of members' queries and comments, DS/Tsy said that the Administration would withdraw the proposal and brief the relevant Panel(s) on the project as soon as possible.

26. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

Head 707 - New Towns and Urban Area Development

PWSC(1999-2000)1164CLTseung Kwan O development, engineering works in Siu Chik Sha, stage 2 - remainder

27. On the reasons for not entrusting the proposed drainage works to the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) in conjunction with the Tseung Kwan O Extension Line (TKE) project, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) advised that as MTRC had already commenced the construction of the TKE, it was not feasible to incorporate the proposed drainage works into the TKE project. He however assured members that the schedule of the proposed drainage works to commence in August 1999 for completion in August 2000 could tie in with that of the TKE project of MTRC.

28. With regard to the alignment of the proposed box culvert, DTD advised that the latter had to be extended to Road D9 to collect rainwater from the water inlets on the road before being connected to the existing main box culvert to the south and parallel to Road D9.

29. As regards the reasons for constructing a temporary open channel instead of a box culvert in area 86 in 1991 when reclamation of the area was first being undertaken, DTD advised that for a large-scale reclamation area such as area 86, it was common practice to construct a temporary open channel to discharge rainwater collected from the reclamation area, because the reclamation would be subject to substantial settlement in the early years of its formation. This would pose great difficulties to the construction as well as the maintenance of a box culvert. Moreover, constructing a box culvert at an early stage would limit the land use options for the area. As the land uses of area 86 had now been decided and the reclamation had been formed for some years, it was now considered appropriate to construct a box culvert to service the area on a permanent basis. DTD further confirmed that in areas other than newly reclaimed sites, construction of open channels would be avoided as far as possible.

30. Addressing concerns about the present traffic congestion problem at Wan Po Road (Road D6) and the increase in traffic flow brought about by the proposed works, the Secretary for Works (S for W) pointed out that the problem would be solved in the long term upon completion of the Wan Po Road widening project, for which construction was being undertaken on the road reserve initially provided along the road. Upon widening the existing single two-lane standard to the dual two-lane standard, the volume to capacity ratio of the road would be substantially reduced from 0.9 to 0.36. He further advised that to alleviate the traffic congestion in the interim, the Transport Department together with other departments concerned including the Territory Development Department would work out and implement traffic management measures to improve the traffic flow on Wan Po Road and the other roads in the vicinity. As regards the traffic impact of the proposed works, S for W clarified that the works would have minimal effect on the traffic flow in the area as they would be carried out on the pedestrian pathway. DTD added that the works contract would include standard conditions requiring the contractor concerned to implement proper traffic diversion measures in the event that partial closure of roads was required.

31. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)281CDMain drainage channels for Yuen Long and Kam Tin stage 2 - remainder

32. On how far the flooding problem in the Yuen Long and Kam Tin area could be improved upon completion of the proposed river training works in March 2002, DTD referred to the map attached to the discussion paper and advised that the downstream river training works in the Yuen Long and Kam Tin area were being undertaken under separate contracts and would be virtually completed by the year 2002. With the completion of the remaining upstream river training works by January 2003, the main drainage system of the whole area would be able to accommodate a 50-year return period rainstorm. Flooding in the area concerned would thus be greatly reduced.

33. In response to enquiries about the cost-effectiveness of entrusting the river training works to the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) in conjunction with the West Rail project, DTD explained that according to past experience, two different contractors carrying out works concurrently on the same site could easily give rise to disputes between the contractors and additional co-ordination work would be required to resolve interface problems. To circumvent such problems, it was a common practice to incorporate the works of the smaller project into the works contract for the larger project in question through entrustment arrangements. As regards the resultant savings of the entrustment arrangement in quantitative terms, DTD said that according to past experience, savings resulting from more effective time control and works management on site amounted to about 10% of the construction cost.

34. Regarding the on-cost of 11.6% of the construction cost payable to KCRC under the entrustment arrangement, DTD clarified that the on-cost represented the estimated cost to be incurred by KCRC for project management. Such cost would be incurred by the Government if the project was not entrusted to KCRC.

35. Addressing concerns on whether the contractor to be engaged by KCRC for the West Rail project would have the required expertise and experience in river training works, DTD advised that eight contractors had been pre-qualified at the pre-qualification exercise for the tendering of the West Rail project. Of these eight contractors, seven were specialized in road and drainage works and the remaining one was a large construction company with some experience in drainage works. He further advised that KCRC would be required to obtain the agreement of the Government on the design for those parts of the proposed drainage channel which fell within the site boundary of the West Rail project as well as on the relevant tender documents.

36. Regarding the objections to the gazetted road scheme ancillary to the midstream of the proposed drainage channel from Shek Wu Tong to south of Tai Hong Tsuen, DTD elaborated that among the four objectors who initially had refused to withdraw their objections, one had subsequently agreed to withdraw his objection subject to modification of the land resumption limit. The request had been accepted and the respective modification had been approved by the Executive Council. As the requests of the remaining three objectors for modification to the respective land resumption limits were not acceptable, these objectors had maintained their initial objections. These objections had subsequently been overruled by the Executive Council. He nevertheless confirmed that owners of the private land being resumed would be compensated in accordance with the relevant legislation.

37. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Any Other Business

38. In view of insufficient time, the Chairman instructed that item PWSC(1999-2000)3, which had not been dealt with at the meeting, should be carried over to the next meeting of the Subcommittee.

39. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
4 May 1999