Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of 53rd Meeting held on 8 May 2000
The Chairman requested Members to forward their comments on the draft minutes of the 53rd meeting to the Secretariat after the meeting. The minutes would be confirmed in the next meeting.
(Post-meeting note: No comments on the draft minutes of the 53rd meeting were received by the Secretariat.)
Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising
2. There were no matters arising from the last meeting.
Agenda Item 3 : Tai O Sheltered Boat Anchorage
(ACE EIA Paper 7/2000)
3. The Chairman welcomed the presentation team and invited Members to raise their concerns on the report.
Design of the Breakwater
4. A Member enquired whether the project proponent had considered any alternative configurations for the proposed breakwater which would enhance the flushing effect within the Anchorage and so reduce the potential water quality impact to the Tai O Bay. SE(PMB)/CED stated that the layout of the entire project including the breakwater was found satisfactory to all relevant authorities, in particular the Marine Department. According to the findings of the EIA report, he was confident that there would not be any exceedance of the statutory Water Quality Objectives with the existing design of the breakwater as a continuous rubble mound structure. D/SW supplemented that with the dredging for the Anchorage and the Approach Channels, the water quality modeling indicated no exceedance of the Water Quality Objectives, and there would be adequate flushing.
5. ES/SW further pointed out that the flushing effect suggested to be incorporated in the design of the breakwater was insignificant to the water quality impact of the project, since the breakwater would be located to ensure that flows from the Tai O Creek would not be embayed.
6. To address the concerns of the Members, SE(PMB)/CED however agreed to consider the feasibility of coming up with a design of the breakwater which incorporated the flushing effect during the detailed design stage of the project.
Designed Capacity of the Anchorage
7. In response to the enquiry of a Member, SE(PMB)/CED clarified that the Anchorage was designed for the maximum capacity of 220 boats for not only accommodating the existing fishing vessels but also allowing future growth in the fishing industry of Tai O, which was indeed one of the key objectives of the project.
8. ES/SW supplemented that the designed capacity of the Anchorage would neither cause any adverse impact on the water quality of the Tai O Bay nor hinder the proposed mangrove planting scheme. He pointed out that the risk of oil spill within the Anchorage was very low and such events, if they occurred, would be taken care by the Oil Pollution Contingency Plan coordinated between the Marine Department and relevant authorities. On the other hand, the findings of the EIA study indicated that the resultant water quality of the Anchorage with that designed capacity was well with the required standards for mangrove planting.
Feasibility of the Mangrove Planting Scheme
9. Upon the query of a Member, SE(PMB)/CED confirmed that it was recommended that a buffer zone of 30 - 50 m should be maintained between the Anchorage and the mangrove planting area. The upper limit of 50 m had been adopted for the project to ensure the effectiveness of the mangrove planting scheme. He stated that the recommendation was based on the advice of the consultant of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. AD(Conservation)/AFCD also confirmed that the survival of the planted mangrove would not be at risk as long as the water quality in the area would not deteriorate as a result of the project.
10. E/SW clarified that as the project would involve substantial dredging for channels to facilitate access of fishing vessels, the current circulation and conveyance of water pollutants from Tai O Creek out of Tai O Bay would in effect be enhanced. Instead of causing any detrimental effect to the mangrove habitat, improvement in the water quality of Tai O Bay arising from the project was expected.
11. In response to the concern of a Member, AD(Conservation)/AFCD confirmed that while recommendations for the mangrove planting scheme were made in the EIA report of the project, the detailed design, actual planting and monitoring would be carried out by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Every effort would be made to ensure the best integration of the planting scheme and the project.
Tai O Revitalisation Study
12. A Member was concerned about the coordination between the project and the on-going Tai O Revitalisation Study conducted by the Planning Department. SE(PMB)/CED confirmed that the Anchorage was recognized as an integral part of the revitalization. The layout of the project, including the preparation of the area for subsequent mangrove planting, had been taken into account in the Study.
13. SEPO/EPD supplemented that the Study was still in a conceptual stage with its first round public consultation exercise just completed. Depending on the finalized scope of the Study, a separate EIA report might be required under the Schedule 3 of the EIA Ordinance.
14. The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to recommend to the Council that the report be endorsed without condition.
Agenda Item 4 : Widening of Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway between Island House Interchange and Fanling
(ACE EIA Paper 8/2000)
15. The Chairman welcomed the presentation team and invited Members to raise their concerns on the report.
Need for Further Widening
16. In response to the enquiry of the Chairman, SE(Tolo/N)/HyD clarified that the widening project for the section of Tolo Highway between Island House Interchange and Ma Liu Shui Interchange, which was currently under construction for completion in early 2002, was first proposed in 1993, long before the need for the present project was identified.
17. Upon the enquiry of a Member, SE(Tolo/N)/HyD confirmed that according to the findings of the Third Comprehensive Transport Study, there was no foreseeable problem on the traffic capacity of the section of Fanling Highway to the north of Wo Hop Shek Interchange. Hence, the Administration currently had no plan for widening this section of Fanling Highway. SE(Project/NTE)/TD added that the completion of the Fanling Bypass would attract some traffic from the Fanling Highway and alleviate traffic congestion problems arising from projected increase of traffic flow in that area.
18. In response to a Member, SE(Tolo/N)HyD stated that according to the estimation made in the EIA report, about 10% to 16% of the vehicles using the concerned road section were heavy vehicles. That Member commented that while the practical problems for restricting heavy vehicles from using the roads are recognized, the traffic demand generated by private vehicles should be managed by measures other than road widening option.
19. To address a Member's concerns on shotcreting as a slope protection measure and the landscaping measures on the affected slopes, CE(MW2-3)/HyD undertook that apart from shotcreting, planting of trees and shrub with appropriate mix on the slopes would be implemented for minimizing the potential visual impact of the road widening work as far as practicable. The proposed landscaping measures would be further studied in detail amongst relevant departments and were subject to the proposed EM&A programme.
20. In response to the Chairman, D/MC confirmed that the landscaping measures would be applicable to the proposed noise barriers to be constructed along part of the widened road section. Specific proposals would be worked out in the detailed design stage. LA/ACL added that apart from the use of a combination of transparent and non-transparent panels, suitable colourings would be applied to the noise barriers to further enhance the aesthetical effect.
Potential Congestion Problem
21. A Member drew the proponent's attention to the potential serious traffic congestion problem which might arise during the construction period of the project. He pointed out that very careful planning was needed before the work commenced to avoid aggravating the existing traffic problem along the road, in particular the Lam Kam Interchange.