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Advisory Council on the Environment

Report of the 61st Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee Meeting

(ACE Paper 30/2001)
For advice

INTRODUCTION

At its meeting on 4 August 2001, the Subcommittee considered the EIA reports of the following projects-
 

  1. Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII);
  2. Wan Chai Development Phase II (WDII);
  3. Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link (CWB&IECL); and
  4. Modifications to MTRC Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

ADVICE SOUGHT

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

VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE

Inter-relationship of CRIII, WDII and CWB&IECL

3. The Central and Wan Chai Reclamation Development comprises Wan Chai Reclamation Phase I, WDII, and CRI, II and III. Wan Chai Reclamation Phase I and CRII were completed in 1997 and CRI was completed in 1998. CRIII and WDII are the two remaining projects of the Central and Wan Chai Reclamation Development.

4. CRIII and WDII are contiguous reclamation providing land for key transportation infrastructure, including CWB&IECL. CWB&IECL together will form a new trunk road connecting Central and Causeway Bay along the north shore of the Hong Kong Island. It is a strategic east-west route and forms an integral component of both the CRIII and WDII projects. The three projects will be implemented over a similar time period from 2002 to 2012 with overlapping construction activities. Accordingly, the Administration submitted the three EIA reports at the same time under the EIA Ordinance so that the public and the Council could have a full picture of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed works.

Central Reclamation Phase III
(ACE-EIA Paper 7/2001)

5. The CRIII project involves reclamation stretching from Central Reclamation I to Lung King Street to the west of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) Extension, the construction of primary distributor roads and the reprovisioning of affected facilities along the shoreline. To facilitate project co-ordination, the construction of CWB tunnel within the CRIII area Airport Railway Extended Overrun Tunnel and North Island Line Protection Works have been entrusted to the CRIII project.

6. CRIII is a designated project under schedule 3 of the EIA Ordinance, i.e. an engineering feasibility study of an urban development project with a study area of over 20 ha. Three designated projects are identified and assessed under the EIA report of CRIII and they require separate environmental permits.

Wan Chai Development Phase II
(ACE-EIA Paper 8/2001)

7. The WDII project involves reclamation that will interface with CRIII to the east of the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter. A new marina will be formed to the north of Kellett Island. Primary distributor roads will be constructed over the CWB tunnel and affected facilities along the existing shoreline will be reprovisioned. WDII is planned to commence in 2004. Reclamation along Causeway Bay shoreline and Wan Chai shoreline will be completed by 2007 and 2008 respectively. The CWB tunnel construction will take place during this period and ground level roads and finishing works will be completed by 2010.

8. Similar to CRIII, WDII is also a designated project under schedule 3 of the EIA Ordinance. Five designated projects are identified and assessed under the EIA report of WDII and they require separate environmental permits.

Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link
(ACE-EIA Paper 9/2001)

9. The CWB&IECL project is planned to relieve traffic along the existing east-west route of Connaught Road-Harcourt Road-Gloucester Road in Hong Kong Island. CWB comprises the construction of the Central Interchange, a dual 3-lane trunk road tunnel of 2.3 km in length between Central and Causeway Bay and two single 2-lane tunnels along the Wan Chai shoreline. The IECL comprises mainly the construction of a dual 4-lane trunk road of 1 km in length along the Causeway Bay shoreline, linking CWB and the Island Eastern Corridor.

10. The CWB tunnel will be constructed during the course of reclaiming CRIII and WDII. On completion of the tunnel structures, they will be handed over to the CWB and IECL project for fitting out and completion for operation by 2011. Unlike CRIII and WDII, CWB and IECL is a designated project under schedule 2 of the EIA Ordinance.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee

11. In view of the inter-relationship of the three projects, Members considered the three EIA reports together. Members' concerns on the three projects were mainly on water quality impacts, the hydrodynamic effects of reclamation, the feasibility of extending the CWB tunnel so as to reduce the length of the elevated IECL, the disposal of dredged materials, the management and co-ordination of the three projects, visual impacts and EM&A programme.

Water quality impacts

12. On water quality impacts, the project proponents indicated that during the intermediate stages of construction work, storm water outflow and pollutants that may be discharged on the west of the HKCEC Extension might get trapped in the embayed area. To address this concern, the project proponents advised that they would channel the storm water outfall to the outside of the embayment until the permanent culvert extension had been constructed. A curtain wall of impermeable material extending from the sea surface down to the seabed will be constructed for this purpose. Stringent monitoring of water quality would be adopted and included in works contract as contract conditions to ensure that water quality standards will be met. Adverse impacts on water quality as happened during the West Kowloon reclamation project several years ago would not occur again. The water quality assessment indicated that the CRIII and WDII projects would not worsen existing water conditions and would comply with water quality objectives.

Hydrodynamic impact of reclamation

13. Members expressed concern about the reduction of flow speed in Victoria Harbour and the cumulative reduction in predicted mean discharge in Victoria Harbour up to 5%. On reduction of flow speed, the project proponents explained that the scale of the proposed reclamation in CRIII and WDII was quite small. It served to streamline the shoreline and remove existing sharp corners of the shoreline. At present, the critical and narrowest point as far as flow pattern is concerned is at the HKCEC Extension. Since CRIII and WDII Reclamations would not reduce the width of Victoria Harbour beyond the shoreline of the HKCEC Extension, they would not affect the depth-averaged ebb tide flow speed along the flow channel of the Harbour.

14. As for the decrease of the predicted mean discharge through Victoria Harbour, the proponents pointed out that the 5% decrease took into account the cumulative effect of the planned Kowloon Point Reclamation, the revised South East Kowloon Development reclamation, CRIII and WDII Reclamations and other reclamations inside and outside the Victoria Harbour. The change in flow discharge arising from WDII and CRIII Reclamations is less than 0.5%. It is noted that, even with the 5% decrease the cumulative impact assessment indicated that the WQOs would still be met. Water quality in Victoria Harbour is mainly affected by sewage discharge. With the implementation of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme, it is expected that water quality in the Harbour would improve considerably. Furthermore, TDD's cumulative impact assessment of all completed and planned reclamation projects carried out under the WDII and CRIII projects was based on the extent of reclamation proposed at that time. The cumulative impact assessment of other planned reclamation projects was based on the latest extent of reclamation proposed.

Extension of the CWB tunnel

15. On the feasibility of extending the CWB tunnel beyond the junction of the Cross Harbour Tunnel in Wan Chai, the project proponents explained that the Cross Harbour Tunnel was a deep tunnel in itself. To go underneath the junction of the Cross Harbour Tunnel, this would involve a high level of risk to both the CWB tunnel and the Cross Harbour Tunnel. Disruption of Cross Harbour Tunnel operation would have a severe impact on Hong Kong traffic flows. Secondly, a deep CWB tunnel under the Cross Harbour Tunnel would result in interface problem with the Island Eastern Corridor in that a major portion of the Corridor up to North Point Interchange would have to be demolished and rebuilt. Given the extensive impacts involved, the project proponents did not consider the proposal desirable.

Disposal of dredged materials and contaminated mud

16. The project proponents noted the Subcommittee's concern that dredged materials should be reused as far as possible and explained that some dredged materials which were too soft for reclamation purpose would need to be disposed. Approximately 60% of this material was contaminated. On disposal of contaminated mud, the project proponents clarified that about 2,000 cubic metres of contaminated mud would have to be disposed of in a special manner under the WDII project in accordance with Technical Circular 3/2000 issued by the Works Bureau. This contaminated mud would be put inside geosynthetic containers and disposed in contaminated mud pits in East Sha Chau. Geosynthetic containers have been used in similar applications in the United States. The proponents would carry out a trial test under the WDII project to work out the detailed handling mechanism of using geosynthetic containers and to tailor-make the containers, if necessary, to meet Hong Kong conditions.

17. The Subcommittee suggested and TDD agreed that as a condition of the environmental permit, the trial test on geosynthetic containers should be under the monitoring of EPD and a report should be made to the Council.

Overall co-ordination and management

18. On overall project co-ordination and management, the project proponents indicated that to minimize the effect of the construction period and to facilitate interfacing, entrustment of works would be arranged as far as practicable. The CWB tunnel has been entrusted to the project proponent of CRIII and WDII. The WDII project will also take into account the alignment of the proposed North Island Line and the CRIII project includes entrustment of the Airport Railway Extended Overrun Tunnel and North Island Line Protection Works. TDD and the Highways Department would work together to closely monitor the three projects to minimize adverse environmental impacts.

Visual impacts and pedestrianisation

19. On visual impact, the project proponents noted the objective to create a world-class harbour frontage in Hong Kong Island. In this respect, a landscape and visual impact assessment has been conducted to assess the impacts of WDII and CRIII for both the construction and operational phase. The proponents would carry out landscape and visual mitigation measures as far as practicable. The main characteristics of the visual and landscape designs of the three projects are namely the provision of an international quality landscape promenade, a network of open space to achieve pedestrian circulation and provision of a venue for community events, the creation of pedestrian arteries linking the water front and existing open space, stepped building heights, open and low rise nature of development, green buffer areas, etc. As for buildings, the relevant project architects will have the flexibility to introduce interesting and aesthetic building forms to complement the overall design of the waterfront and the promenade.

EM&A programme

20. In view of the long duration of the three projects and the extensive environmental impacts, the Subcommittee suggested and the proponents agreed that the EM&A programme of the three projects should be uploaded on the Internet for public information, as this had already become a norm to be included as a condition of the relevant Environmental Permit issued for major infra-structure projects. The project proponents also confirmed that they would employ a team of EM&A staff and independent environmental checker to monitor the environmental impacts.

Conclusion

21. The Subcommittee recommended the endorsement of the three EIA reports with the following conditions-
 

  • Central Reclamation Phase III and Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link
    1. the EM&A programme of the two projects should be uploaded on the Internet for public information.
  • Wan Chai Development Phase II
    1. trial tests on the use of geosynthetic containers and related handling mechanism should be undertaken under the scrutiny of EPD and a report should be made to the Council before implementation; and
       
    2. the EM&A programme of the project should be uploaded on the Internet for public information.

Modifications to MTRC Tsim Sha Tsui Station
(ACE-EIA Paper 11/2001)

22. The objective of the project is to improve the pedestrian interchange between the existing MTRC Tsim Sha Tsui Station and the new East Tsim Sha Tsui Station to be constructed under the KCRC East Rail Extension from Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui. The project involves the extension of the existing MTRC Tsim Sha Tsui Station towards the south by 56m to provide a new pedestrian subway along Nathan Road. Construction work is scheduled to start in 2002 and to complete in 2004.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee

23. The Subcommittee considered the EIA report and agreed to recommend it to the Council for endorsement without conditions.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
August 2001

 

 

 

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