Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(1)372/98-99


LegCo Panel on Planning, Lands and Works
Minutes of meeting held on Thursday, 17 September 1998, at 4:30 pm in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP (Chairman)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Non-Panel members attending:

Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han

Members absent :

Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Public officers attending:
Mr Wilson FUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning,
Environment and Lands (Planning)

Project Manager / Kowloon
Territory Development Department

Mr Edmund CHAU
Senior Engineer / Kowloon East
Territory Development Department

Mr Peter P C MOK
Senior Engineer / Kowloon East
Territory Development Department

Mr Vincent WONG Pak-hong
Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Planning)

Mr LAU Sing
District Planning Officer / Kowloon
Planning Department
Clerk in attendance :
Miss Odelia LEUNG,
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)1
Staff in attendance :
Mrs Mary TANG,
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)2
I The South East Kowloon Development
(LC Paper Nos. CB(1)203/98-99(01) and (02))

The Chairman informed that at the Panel meeting on 10 September 1998 at which the funding proposal for South East Kowloon Development (SEKD) at Kai Tak Airport - site investigation and consultants' fees was discussed, members considered it necessary to examine the proposed SEKD, hence the holding of this meeting.

2. At the invitation of the Chairman, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Planning) (PAS/PEL) explained that the funding proposal for site investigation and consultants' fees at the Kai Tak Airport site related to the first stage of SEKD. The proposal did not involve construction works and reclamation was not required at this stage. It was necessary to start the works as soon as possible in order to tie in with the housing development programme in the north apron area. As regards the land uses and the scale of reclamation of SEKD, he referred members to the LegCo Brief issued by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands on 3 September 1998.

3. With the aid of a map, the Project Manager / Kowloon, Territory Development Department (PM/TDD) briefly explained the proposed plan for SEKD. The entire SEKD covered about 579 hectares of land with about 280 hectares coming from the Kai Tak Airport site and the remaining 299 hectares to be reclaimed from Kowloon Bay and Kai Tak Nullah / Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter. Following the endorsement of the proposals in the SEKD Feasibility Study by the Chief Executive in Council at its meeting on 12 May 1998 and the endorsement of the relevant Outline Zoning Plans (OZPs) by the Town Planning Board(TPB) on 21 August 1998, all the OZPs relating to SEKD were gazetted for public consultation on 4 September 1998. PM/TDD highlighted the four development packages of SEKD with regards to provision of housing, transport infrastructure, use of open space and other land uses as described in the LegCo Brief. He added that the proposed SEKD was beneficial to the environment as the decontamination works at the Kai Tak Airport site would provide a hazard-free environment and the decking of Kai Tak Nullah would resolve the odour problem which had been a constant source of nuisance to nearby residents.

4. On the proposed development of a metropolitan park, PM/TDD advised that the park, with an area of 50 hectares, would be the largest open space in the territory to accommodate a wide range of facilities including an outdoor event area, botanical gardens, a museum/gallery, and recreational places. A two-kilometre promenade would be provided along the new waterfront to link up Kwun Tong and Hung Hom. The park was intended to become a new attraction for both tourists and local residents. Apart from functioning as a city lung, it would provide spaces for holding a wide range of recreational and cultural activities. A stadium of international standards would be built, the detailed design of which would be considered at a later stage.

5. A member opined that the Kai Tai Airport site was one of the most important assets of Hong Kong. Development of the site must meet the needs of the community. She considered the design of the proposed SEKD outdated and was aware of alternative proposals of professional bodies to develop the site which would require lesser reclamations.

6. PM/TDD explained that the OZPs for SEKD were gazetted on 4 September 1998 for consultation for a period of two months, during which members of the public could submit views and objections to the TPB. The TPB might reject the objection in whole or in part or make amendments to the draft plans to address such objections. PAS/PEL supplemented that SEKD had been earmarked as one of the strategic growth areas for the provision of housing to meet the needs of the community. The SEKD Feasibility Study had established the engineering feasibility and recommended an implementation programme on infrastructural development to tie in with the housing programme and the provision of strategic transport links. Following public consultation on the SEKD plans and amendments to OZP plans if considered appropriate by the TPB to take account of public views, further studies would be commissioned on each of the four development packages.

7. On the member's further enquiry on the scope of permissible amendments including the possibility of shelving the entire Kowloon Bay Reclamation Phase 2, PAS/PEL reiterated that the main purpose of SEKD was for the provision of housing and that it would be up to the TPB to decide on any major amendments to OZPs to address public objections. The final decision on SEKD would rest with the Chief Executive in Council.

8. A member expressed reservations on the main purpose of SEKD for housing a target population of 320,000. His view was echoed by other members who were concerned that the number of people to be housed would have serious environmental and infrastructural impact on the area. Members also queried the need and the scale of the proposed reclamations.

9. PAS/PEL reiterated that it was the Administration's plan to develop South East Kowloon to meet housing needs. To this end, the four development packages of SEKD were designed with a view to housing 320,000 persons with the provision of necessary infrastructural and supporting facilities. The fourth stage involving Kowloon Bay Reclamation Phase 2, which was designed to accommodate a population of 60,000, was an integral part of SEKD. Notwithstanding, the four development packages were distinct to allow flexibility in design. Independent engineering feasibility studies would be undertaken for each stage and any necessary changes could be incorporated. PM/TDD added that the further detailed engineering studies would provide for flexibility in drainage development to take account of possible changes to the scale of reclamations.

10. A member was concerned about the impact of SEKD on residents in the area. She stressed the need for transparency in the planning process to keep residents in the picture. She was of the view that in developing the site, tourist attractions at Cha Kwo Ling and Lei Yue Mun as well as other places of cultural heritage interest must be preserved. She also pointed out that some parts of San Po Kong and Kwun Tong were industrial areas, and had accommodated a number of industrial establishments such as the Vocational Training Council. As such she considered it necessary to tie in land uses in the proposed SEKD with existing industrial uses.

11. The District Planning Officer/Kowloon, Planning Department (DPO/PD) said in response that the Administration was consulting the relevant provisional district boards on the proposed SEKD. The proposed new developments in South East Kowloon would have a positive impact on nearby areas. Efforts would be made to blend new and old districts progressively to ensure compatibility of development. Members were assured that the proposed SEKD would not affect the existing tourist attractions at Lei Yue Mun and Wong Tai Sin. As regards land uses, DPO/PD added that the latest trend of development in Kowloon Bay was the development of industrial offices. The relocation of industries to the Mainland had resulted in the lowering of demand for industrial spaces. As the present trend was to develop high value-added industries, feasibility studies were being conducted on the provision of a Science Park or an Industrial Park at the reclaimed areas in Pak Shek Kok. PM/TDD confirmed that 14 hectares of land had been reserved for industrial development in the proposed SEKD.

12. Regarding the Kai Tak Nullah, PM/TDD explained that a major part of the Nullah would be replaced by a network of box culverts to facilitate housing and transport development while a section of about 0.8 kilometres of the Nullah would remain as an open channel for conveying storm water to the harbour. Upon the completion of an intricate drainage network system which aimed at eliminating illegal drainage connections and separating sewage effluent from storm water, it was hoped that the water conveyed by the drainage channel would be clean enough to allow the holding of recreational activities.

13. Referring to a member's enquiry on how the silt from the Nullah would be dealt with, PM/TDD advised that biochemical methods would be used to treat contaminants to eliminate the odour. The silt would not be transported away but would be capped before the Nullah was reclaimed.

14. A member was concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed SEKD and the compatibility of the proposed development with the works undertaken under the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme. PM/TDD affirmed that an Environmental Impact Assessment study had been completed for the first stage of works involving site preparation and decontamination. Meanwhile EIA studies which incorporated the latest changes to SEKD would be completed by November 1998 for consideration by the Advisory Council on the Environment.

15. On the means to decontaminate the Kai Tak area, PM/TDD indicated that the following measures would be adopted -
  1. soil vapour extraction;

  2. air sparging under controlled conditions; and

  3. bio-piling.
PM/TDD added that these measures were still being tested by the consultants and the actual decontamination works had yet to start.

16. The Chairman pointed out that since a number of professional institutes and green groups had expressed concern about the proposed land uses and the scale of reclamation for SEKD, the Panel would hold a further meeting to receive views.

(Post meeting note - A special meeting was scheduled for 29 October 1998 at 4:30 pm to meet professional institutes, green groups and interested parties.)

II Any other business

17. There being no other business, the meeting closed at 5:45 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
26 October 1998