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Advisory Council on the Environment

Report of the 62nd Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee Meeting

 

(ACE Paper 35/2001)
For information

INTRODUCTION

At its meeting on 3 September 2001, the Subcommittee considered a report on the Implementation of the Drainage Improvement Works for Ping Yuen River and the EIA report of the following two projects-
 

  1. Comprehensive Feasibility Study on the Revised Scheme of South East Kowloon Development; and
     
  2. Proposed Headquarters & Bus Maintenance Depot at Chai Wan.

ADVICE SOUGHT

2. Members are requested to advise whether they support the preliminary design of the drainage improvement works for Ping Yuen River and endorsed the EIA report of the two projects.

VIEWS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE

Implementation of the Drainage Improvement Works for Ping Yuen River
(ACE-EIA Paper 12/2001)

3. In 1996, the Advisory Council on the Environment endorsed the EIA report of the Rural Drainage Rehabilitation Scheme subject to a condition that the rehabilitation works for Ping Yuen River be further considered when the detailed design of the works concerned was available.

4. The design for Ping Yuen River has been held in abeyance until recently when the definite programme for the river training works under the Shenzhen River Regulation Stage III, a discharging point of the Ping Yuen River, was available. The project proponent has completed the preliminary design of the project and recommended to implement a trapezoidal drainage channel with grass slopes in lieu of the originally proposed solid concrete streambed with rock armor banks so as to maintain the ecological value of the area. The project is scheduled for commencement in 2003 after the Shenzhen River project has been completed.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee

5. At the Subcommittee meeting, Members' discussion focused mainly on the management of the abandoned meanders, the change from the 1 in 5 year rainfall event to 1 in 50 year rainfall event, aquatic planting bays/ ponds, vegetation mix and the adequacy of the ecological survey.

Management of the abandoned meanders

6. Members considered that there should be a management plan for the abandoned meanders. The project proponent pointed out that they would provide a culvert to maintain the stream course of the meanders and to keep them wet. But since they were outside the project boundary, there was no immediate plan for their management. It is planned that the abandoned meanders would be later handed over to AFCD which depending on the requirements would discuss with the consultants on the long-term management of the meanders. The project proponent agreed to follow up and submit a supplementary paper on this subject to the Subcommittee in due course

Change of rainfall event ratio

7. Members noted the change of the 1 in 5 year rainfall event to 1 in 50 year rainfall event. The project proponent pointed out that the objective of the change was to accommodate a more severe flood event and it was in line with the design for other river trunk channels such as the Yuen Long and Kam Tin Main Drainage Channel. To reduce the threat of flooding, it was necessary to change the design of the drainage by extending the width from 40 to 50 metres.

Aquatic planting bays/ ponds

8. Members noted the ecological value of the aquatic planting bays/ponds and suggested increasing the number of the aquatic features as far as possible.

Vegetation mix

9. On vegetation mix, the project proponent indicated that they would design the vegetation mix for the Ping Yuen River having regard to the success or otherwise of the vegetation mix in River Indus and River Beas.

Ecological survey

10. A Member expressed concerned about the adequacy of the ecological survey and considered that without knowledge about the species found in the project area, it would be difficult to provide effective mitigation measures. The project proponent pointed out that the habitats along the Ping Yuen River were mainly abandoned cultivation/grassland, woodland, and riverine habitats. Compared with the report in 1996, the report of the preliminary design has provided full compensation for the loss of riverine habitat and reduced considerably the loss of grassland habitat. Once the habitats were recreated, they would provide breeding ground for the species concerned. The ecological fieldwork conducted in 1999 confirmed that further ecological survey was not required.

Conclusion

11. The Subcommittee noted the preliminary design of drainage improvement works for the Ping Yuen River and that the project proponent would submit a paper to the Subcommittee on the management plan for the abandoned meanders.

Comprehensive Feasibility Study on the Revised Scheme of South East Kowloon
Development (ACE-EIA Paper 12/2001)

12. The objective of the project is to formulate the optimum plan for development of the site vacated after the relocation of the former Kai Tak Airport and the associated reclamation. The development site will provide land for housing and accommodate key infrastructure, a regional park and an easily accessible waterfront.

13. The project involves a new development area of 413 ha, comprising the former Kai Tak Airport Apron and Runway and a reclamation area of 133 ha, including reclamation at Kai Tak Approach Channel and Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter, Kowloon Bay Reclamation and Cruise Terminal and other marine and waterfront facilities. Construction of the infrastructure will start in 2003 to allow first population intake in 2005. When fully developed, the area will have a population of about 250,000.

14. The project 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. A total of 19 designated projects are identified and separate EIA will be conducted.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee

15. At the Subcommittee meeting, Members' discussion focused mainly on the percentage of tunnel and depressed roads, road reserve and vehicular ferry pier, handling of contaminated sediments, air quality impacts, the preservation of the skyline and the Automated Refuse Collection System.

Tunnel and depressed roads /

 

16. On Members' comments that the percentage of tunnels and depressed roads should be increased, the project proponent pointed out the 23% of tunnels/depressed roads carried about 35% of traffic in the area. Increase of the percentage was constrained by the presence of underground drainage and sewerage systems, and traffic safety considerations. It was also necessary to cater for the need to provide roads for emergency services, loading and unloading activities, etc. According to the plan, about 62% of the land transport in South East Kowloon Development (SEKD) area would be rail-based. This figure would double that of other development areas. Though the use of environmentally friendly transport was the main theme of transport design in SEKD, it was still necessary to balance different transport needs.

Road reserve and vehicular ferry pier

17. On the percentage of road reserve, the project proponent indicated that the percentage (23%) compared favourably with that of other development areas which was usually around 30%. Furthermore, it had taken into account existing trunk roads such as Kwun Tong Road and Prince Edward Road, which fell within the study area. The figure also included footpaths which did not allow the use of vehicles. As regards the vehicular ferry pier, it was a reprovisioning of the existing ferry service for dangerous goods vehicles in Kwun Tong. The ferry pier was not intended for the use of general vehicles of the public.

Handling of contaminated sediments

18. On the handling of contaminated sediments, Members noted that reclamation options including the no dredge with in-situ treatment, dredged with ex-situ treatment and minimum dredged reclamation options were feasible. The proponent would conduct pilot test to determine whether in-situ or ex-situ treatment would be more suitable for Kai Tak Approach Channel.

19. On the cleaning of contaminated sediments, the project proponent clarified that there would be no problem in using the Fenton's Reagent method to treat large quantity of contaminated mud. The effectiveness of the method in cleaning up to 99% of the pollutants was based on actual overseas clean up projects. The consultants had compared a number of options and considered the Fenton's Reagent method the preferred option for cleaning contaminated mud and would conduct a trial test on its application. On the other hand, the proponent would provide necessary contingency measures as fallback options.

20. The proponent noted Members' concern that the treatment of contaminated sediments in-situ should be handled with extra care to avoid adverse impacts, if any, on residents. The proponent agreed to provide a report on pilot tests on handling contaminated sediments to the Environmental Protection Department for monitoring and to the Subcommittee for reference. Finally, Members noted that the decontamination of Kai Tak Approach Channel, being a designated project, would be subject to further detailed EIA study.

Air quality impacts

21. On air quality impact, individual Members supported the notion of making SEKD a fossil-fuel-free zone. There were also concerns about the air quality impacts on schools located near vent shaft buildings. The project proponent indicated that the landuse and transport planning in SEKD had contributed considerably to minimizing air quality impacts from road traffic and that with mitigation measures, the Air Quality Objectives would be met at all air sensitive receivers.

Height of buildings

22. Members expressed the need to preserve the skyline in SEKD and considered that innovative designs would be preferred to the traditional concept of using tall buildings as landmarks. The project proponent pointed out that the height of buildings along the waterfront area would be restricted and that the landmarks in SEKD would include a combination of low, moderate (such as the stadium) and high-rise buildings. Most of the landmark developments in SEKD were either zoned as "CDA" (Comprehensive Development Area) or "OU"(Other Uses). The layout and disposition of these developments would be subject to the scrutiny of the Town Planning Board.

Automated Refuse Collection System

 

23. On Automated Refuse Collection System (ARCS), the project proponent pointed put that apart from the ARCS to be adopted in Housing Authority estates, a wider application of the system was being considered. The proponent noted Members' suggestion of including a sorting function in the ARCS and clarified that odour would not constitute a problem in ARCS.

Conclusion

24. While one Member supported the EIA report with reservation, the Subcommittee suggested relocating the planned schools away from trunk roads as far as possible and recommended the endorsement of the EIA report without conditions.

Proposed Headquarters & Bus Maintenance Depot at Chai Wan
(ACE-EIA Paper 13/2001)

25. The decommissioning of the temporary depot for Citybus at Aldrich Bay has given rise to a need for a permanent depot facility in the Eastern District for Citybus to maintain its quality and efficient bus service on Hong Kong Island. The proposed depot will be constructed in the Chai Wan East industrial Area which is about 80m and 165m away from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education and Tsui Wan Estate respectively. The project is a designated project under Schedule 2 of the EIA Ordinance.

Views and Recommendations of EIA Subcommittee

26. At the Subcommittee meeting, Members' discussion focused on the selection of site for the project, construction noise impact, traffic noise impact, future expansion of the depot, air quality and complaint hotline.

Site selection

27. On the selection of site for the proposed depot, the project proponent indicated that according to the government, site in industrial area in Eastern District was rare. A few sites in A Kung Ngam and Chai Wan were either not sufficient for building a multi-storey depot with parking spaces or too close to residential buildings. The subject site in Chai Wan was the only site suitable.

Construction noise impacts

28. Members noted that the contractor would monitor the construction noise impact on a weekly basis and would increase the monitoring frequency if there were signs of increasing noise impacts.

Traffic noise

29. On traffic noise, the proponent indicated that the bus fleet of the Citybus comprised of new vehicles with engines which were relatively quiet. To avoid significant traffic noise impact, the Citybus would strictly enforce the bus routing plan for buses commuting to the depot, i.e. avoiding Wing Tai Road and Shing Tai Road. The proponent also took note of Members' comments that noise impacts often arose from bad driving habits of individual drivers and that the noise nuisance created by one driver during early morning hours would negate all the efforts of the management in reducing noise impacts.

Future expansion of the depot

30. Members were concerned whether the future expansion of bus routes run by Citybus would increase the need for service from the depot and thus bring adverse impacts to the environment. The project proponent pointed out that the government's transport policy was to develop railways as the backbone of passenger transport system and that bus service was only supplementary in nature. Hence, it was not anticipated that there would be much expansion in the number of bus routes run by Citybus in Hong Kong Island in the near future. Furthermore, any expansion would come as a package which would include the provision of a separate depot in other locations.

Air quality impact

31. The Subcommittee noted that all predicted air pollutant concentration at various levels of the Air Sensitive Receivers were within the Air Quality Objectives. Individual Members, however, considered the current Air Quality Objectives inadequate and that they required a review in due course.

Complaint hotline

32. On hotline service, the proponent indicated that any complaint on the depot during construction or operation could be directed to Citybus using the Citybus complaint hotline service.

Conclusion

33. The Subcommittee recommended to endorse the EIA report on the condition that the monitoring on construction noise should be increased from a weekly basis to once every three days.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
September 2001

 

 

 

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