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Advisory Council on the Environment

 

Report of the 52nd EIA Subcommittee Meeting

(ACE Paper 15/2000)
for advice

INTRODUCTION

At its meetings on 5 April and 10 April 2000, the Subcommittee considered the EIA reports of Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) East Rail Extension - Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui, Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Study and Construction of an International Theme Park in Penny's Bay of North Lantau and Its Essential Associated Infrastructures.

ADVICE SOUGHT

2.Members are requested to advise whether the EIA reports should be endorsed.

VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) East Rail Extension - Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui
(ACE EIA Paper 2/2000)

3.The project will provide a direct rail link from the New Territories into the heart of the Kowloon Peninsula and a second interchange at Tsim Sha Tsui with the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) to relieve the increasing passenger demand in Kowloon Tong. This was identified as a high priority project in the Railway Development Strategy announced by the Administration in 1994. An environmental feasibility study which included an alignment selection for the project was endorsed by ACE in April 1997.

4.The project's construction work is scheduled to start in late 2000 for completion by 2004. It involves the extension of a pair of tracks from the existing Hung Hom Station southwards into an underground alignment to the East Tsim Sha Tsui Station (ETS) located below the Middle Road Children's Playground. A pedestrian interchange with the MTR in Nathan Road will be provided in the form of a subway. In addition, the project includes a number of subway connections to improve the pedestrian subway network in the area.

5.With regard to the latest EIA report submission, the Director of Environmental Protection in consultation with the relevant authorities, considers that the report meets the requirements of the EIA study brief and the Technical Memorandum on the EIA Process. KCRC has initiated public consultation in accordance with the requirements of the EIAO. Comments from the public and the ACE will be taken into account before DEP makes the final decision regarding approval of the EIA report.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee Members

6.Subcommittee members discussed the report at the meeting. Their main concerns were on the waste disposal arrangement, landscape impact and construction noise impact.

7.On waste disposal arrangement, the proponent confirmed that though the bulk of the waste material generated by the project would have to be disposed off-site due to restricted site area and the transportation of the waste would unavoidably pass through the central part of Tsim Sha Tsui, the shortest possible routing would be adopted to reduce the potential environmental impacts to the minimal.

8.On landscape impact, the proponent undertook that a contractor with the best available expertise and skills would be employed for the transplanting works. The whole process would be carried out with early preparation and great precaution so that the survival rate of the transplanted trees could be maximized. Meanwhile, native species would be accorded priority in the planting programme for the project.

9.On construction noise impact, the proponent stated that the use of full enclosure on the construction site of the project would not be possible due to the need for maintaining access of fire engines to adjacent high rise buildings. Full enclosure was therefore not considered a feasible mitigation measure for the affected area due to fire safety reasons. However, the proponent agreed to conduct on-site continuous noise monitoring. The Subcommittee also requested the proponent to make the results instantaneous available to the public through the proponent's website. Public complaints and follow-up actions by the proponent would also be shown in the website to ensure that prompt remedial action would be taken to protect the public from exposing to noise exceeding the worst case scenario predicted in the EIA report.

10.The Subcommittee agreed to recommend to the Council to endorse the report with the following conditions:

- A continuous noise monitoring mechanism at locations to be decided in consultation with the EPD would be set up by the proponent;
- The results of the continuous noise monitoring mechanism would be made available to the public through the proponent's website;
- Immediate action would be provided in the event that the noise levels exceeded the worst case scenario predicted in the EIA report;
- A monitoring programme for the result of transplanting would be carried out; and
- A total of 1,500 trees should be provided upon the completion of the project.

Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Study and Construction of an International Theme Park in Penny's Bay of North Lantau and its Essential Associated Infrastructures
(ACE EIA Papers 3/2000 and 4/2000)

11. The North-East Lantau area was originally planned for port development. The 1995 Visitor and Tourism Study undertaken by the Hong Kong Tourist Association and the Planning Department identified the potential for a tourism corridor along the north shore of Lantau Island and the 1997/98 Port Cargo Forecast indicated a general slowdown of the growth rate of cargo throughput in Hong Kong. The 1998 Territory Development Strategy Review (TDSR) identified North-East Lantau as having potential for a range of other land uses, such as tourism/recreation, housing, business estate and major transport interchange. As a follow up to the TDSR, the Civil Engineering Department (CED) commissioned this integrated planning and engineering feasibility study (i.e. the Northshore Lantau Development Feasibility Study (NLDFS)) in June 1998.

12. The NLDFS aims to review the overall land use planning and to address the cumulative environmental impacts of all the proposed developments in northeast Lantau. Different development themes including port, housing and recreation and tourism have been considered. The study concluded based on preliminary assessments that the North-East Lantau area is suitable for a recreation and tourism area and the North-East Lantau Port OZP amended and renamed as the draft North-East Lantau OZP to reflect the preliminary findings of the study, was gazetted in August 1999.

13. The proposed theme park development will be located on a reclamation site at Penny's Bay. The area was originally earmarked for container port development under the Lantau Port and Western Harbour Development Studies conducted in 1993. The relevant EIA report was endorsed by the then Environmental Pollution Advisory Committee in June 1993. Subsequently, three EIA studies were completed in 1995 which examined all environmental issues in relation to the reclamation works and associated infrastructures. These EIA reports were endorsed by the Council in 1995 with conditions and are now placed in the EIA Ordinance Register for public inspection.

14. In July 1999, the then Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands made an order under the EIA Ordinance to include a theme park with a site area of more than 20 ha in the Schedule 2 designated project list. CED subsequently commissioned an EIA study on the Construction of an International Theme Park in Penny's Bay of North Lantau and Its Essential Associated Infrastructures to reconfirm previous EIAs findings and to address any alternations as a result of change in land use.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee Members

15. Subcommittee members discussed the two reports at the meetings. The main concerns were on the cumulative impact of the various proposed projects in Northeast Lantau, air quality and noise impacts arising from the proposed firework displays in the theme park, construction and operational noise impact, the potential Hong Kong Lantau Link, C&D material disposal arrangement, water quality impact, artificial lake, potential land contamination impact of an existing shipyard, routing of Chok Ko Wan Link Road, preservation of the natural shoreline of Fa Peng and Pa Tau Kwu, transplanting programme, effectiveness of sloping wall, artificial reefs, fishery impact, impact on White-bellied Sea Eagles and the fresh water surface reservoirs.

16. On the NLDFS, the proponent indicated that the Schedule 3 EIA had demonstrated environmental feasibility of the NLDFS developments and infrastructures as proposed. The EIA had identified a number of designated projects within the NLDFS developments which would require further EIAs to be conducted.

17.On the air quality and noise impacts arising from the proposed firework displays in the theme park, the proponent stated that only insignificant impacts were projected. Baseline air quality measurements were taken and a monitoring programme for the first year of operation would be conducted to review the predictions made in the report. Meanwhile, a trial test had been conducted in Orlando which confirmed the feasibility of designing a mid-level fireworks show which would meet the noise criterion of 55 dB(A) Leq 15 minutes. The trial test also confirmed that no significant impact would occur in the air quality aspect. In response to Members' suggestion, the proponent agreed to carry out a trial run of firework display closer to the opening of the theme park and provide the results of the trial to the Council for reference. The proponent also undertook to implement all necessary mitigation measures to meet the required standards at all time.

18.For the potential Route 10 (Hong Kong Lantau Link), the proponent advised that according to their understanding it was only a long-term development proposal of the Administration and there was not yet a firm programme. The Link would be studied in a separate EIA if and when it materialized.

19.On C&D material disposal arrangement, the proponent clarified that the Phase 1 reclamation at Penny's Bay would accept C&D material in the second half of 2001 up to 80% of the C&D material arising during that period. Phase 2 reclamation starting in early 2002 would also take up as much public fill material as available. Members indicated that the disposal site of the dredged material and the effective utilization of public fill material generated by the project would need to be further discussed.

20.On water quality aspect, the proponent confirmed that a sewerage back-up system would be established for the project. Meanwhile, the sewage effluent generated in Discovery Bay would be taken to Siu Ho Wan for treatment through works to be carried out by Hong Kong Resort in the next few years.

21.For the proposed artificial lake in the theme park, the proponent confirmed that the water quality of the lake would not be affected by either the possible land contamination situation of a nearby shipyard which would have been decommissioned with the site properly cleaned up when the lake was formed, or the residue of firework displays which would be about 1 km away from the lake. The proponent also confirmed that a monitoring programme for the lake's water quality would be carried out to ensure compliance with relevant standards.

22.On the potential land contamination of an existing shipyard, the proponent said that local and overseas experience indicated that even under a worst case scenario, the site could be properly cleaned up. Preliminary tests conducted so far showed that the contamination should be localised. There would be a separate EIA study to be carried out for the decommissioning of the shipyard. No construction works would commence until the site had been cleaned up to the level agreed by the Director of Environmental Protection.

23.On the preservation of the natural shoreline of Fa Peng and Pa Tau Kwu, the proponent was requested to follow the principle of adopting the option with least environmental impacts when considering whether reclamation was necessary for the construction of the section of proposed Chok Ko Wan Link Road in Pa Tau Kwu.

24.On transplanting programme, the proponent drew reference to the experience in the development project of Chek Lap Kok, in which the transplanting of Pitcher Plants was successful with high survival rate. To enhance the performance of the project, the proponent undertook to carry out a three-year post transplanting monitoring programme to be conducted by experienced botanist. The proponent also undertook to seek funding for long term maintenance of the woodland compensatory planting.

25.On the proposed sloping seawall design for the reclamation at Penny's Bay, the proponent stated that different kinds of construction materials would be adopted and a three-year monitoring programme would be put in place to ensure their effectiveness as ecological mitigation measures.

26.On artificial reefs (AR) and the related fishery impact, the proponent clarified that the provision of AR under this project would not be considered as part of the reef deployment programme currently carried out by AFCD. The actual location of the AR was subject to further investigation. The proponent undertook to seek funding for the deployment of the AR and to work out effective management arrangements with relevant parties.

27.On the project's impact on a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles, the proponent indicated that the principal threat was direct human interference within the nest area. The proponent would implement appropriate mitigation measures including prohibiting human access to the nesting site. The proponent also indicated that in the worst case of the abandonment of the pair from their nest, suitable habitat and nesting sites were available in the vicinity. The proponent undertook to carry out monitoring of the White-bellied Sea Eagles throughout the construction phase and during the first two years of the operational phase of the theme park.

28.On the fresh water reservoirs, the proponent undertook to provide further information to Members even though they are not designated projects themselves.

29.After discussions, the Subcommittee Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend to the Council to further discuss the two reports at the next Council meeting to be held on 17 April 2000. The proponent was requested to provide the following information before the ACE meeting to facilitate discussion:

     (a) NLDFS EIA
- User friendly table setting out individual designated projects requiring detailed EIAs prior to their implementation;
- Justifications for the proposed reclamation work for the relevant section of Chok Ko Wan Link Road to the toll plaza of Route 10 and the advantages/disadvantages of using a viaduct or embankment construction method for this road section; and
- Justifications for the recommended alignment of Chok Ko Wan Link Road.
(b) Theme Park EIA
- Report of the air quality aspects of the trial test for firework displays conducted in Orlando;
- Confirmation from the proponent on the capacity and timing for the sewage connection between Discovery Bay and Siu Ho Wan Sewage Treatment Works;
- Sighting and foraging of White-bellied Sea Eagles at North Lantau;
- A concise table listing out all environmental protection measures the theme park will adopt; and
- Information on the proposed arrangement for disposing some of the dredged/excavated sediment outside Hong Kong.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
April 2000

 

 

 

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