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Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 61st Meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 4 August 2001 at 9:00am

Present:
Professor LAM Kin-che (Chairman)
Mr. Otto POON (Deputy Chairman)
Mr. Barrie COOK
Miss Alex YAU
Mr. Plato YIP
Miss Petula POON (Secretary)


Absent with Apology:
Professor Anthony Hedley, BBS, JP
Dr. HO Kin-chung
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming
Dr. NG Cho-nam
Mr. Peter Y C LEE, SBSt.J


In Attendance:
Mrs. Shirley LEE Acting Assistant Director (Environmental Assessment & Noise), Environmental Protection Department (EPD) (Atg.AD(EA)/EPD)
Mr. C C LAY Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) (AD(Cons)/AFCD)
Ms. Cora SO Executive Officer (C), Environment and Food Bureau


In Attendance for Agenda Item 3, 4 & 5:

Mr. H H YEUNG Chief Engineer (Hong Kong Island)1, TDD (CE(HK)1/TDD)
Mr. K F TANG Senior Engineer 2 (Hong Kong), TDD (SE2(HK)/TDD)
Mr. Bosco CHAN Senior Engineer 5 (Hong Kong), TDD (SE5(HK)/TDD)
Mr. C H CHEUNG Acting Chief Engineer/Major Works 2-2, Hy D (Atg.CE(MW2-2)/HyD)
Mr. K T SHEK Engineer 2/Central-Wan Chai Bypass, Hy D (E2(CWB)/HyD)
Mr. Dickson LO Technical Director for WDII and CWB & IECL Projects, Maunsell Consultants Asia Limited (Maunsell) (TD/Maunsell)
Mr. Peter CHEEK Study Manager of the WDII Project, Maunsell (SM(WDII)/Maunsell)
Mr. Conrad NG Study Manager of the CWB & IECL Project, Maunsell (SM(CWB)/Maunsell)
Mr. Mingo LI Project Engineer of CWB & IECL Project, Maunsell (PE/Maunsell)
Mr. Peter DUNCAN Director / Landscaping (Hassell), Maunsell (Director(Landscaping)/Maunsell)
Dr. Tim CRAMP Director / Environmental, Maunsell (Director(Env)/Maunsell)
Dr. F C TSANG Senior Environmental Consultant, Maunsell (SEC/Maunsell)
Mr. Damian Creally Project Manager (CRIII Project), Atkins China Limited (Atkins) (PM(CRIII)/Atkins)
Mr. Jon Varndell Deputy Project Manager, Atkins (DPM/Atkins)
Mr. Bill DOUGLAS Principal Environmental Consultant, Atkins (PEC/Atkins)
Mr. Ken WONG Acting Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Urban Assessment), EPD (Atg.PEPO(UA)/EPD)
Mr. Johnson WONG Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Urban Assessment)3, EPD (SEPO(UA)2/EPD)
Mr. Michael TSING Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Waste Management & Planning), EPD (SEPO(WM)/EPD)

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Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of 60th Meeting held on 9 July 2001

The minutes were confirmed without amendments.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

Para. 25 : Strategic Assessment and Site Selection Study for Contaminated Mud Disposal 2. Members noted that the Council discussed the issue at the meeting held on 23 July 2001 and it had no objection to the proponent's undertaking the EIA study for the recommended site and disposal method for contaminated mud when the existing East Sha Chau mud pit was filled up. However, the Council urged the Administration to expedite the study and implementation of a long-term facility for dredged mud.

Para. 46 : Updated EM&A Manual for Dredging at West Po Toi Marine Borrow Area

3. Members noted that a copy of the updated EM&A Manual (as at 9 July 2001) was circulated to them on 11 July 2001.

Para. 48 : Bi-weekly updated on dredging and EM&A at West Po Toi 4. Members noted that a summary of sand dredging progress and EM&A for the period 11 to 19 July 2001 was circulated to them on 24 July 2001 by e-mail.

Agenda Item 3, 4 & 5 : Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) / Wan Chai Development Phase II (WDII) / Central - Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link (CWB & IECL)
(ACE-EIA Paper 7/2001, 8/2001 & 9/2001)

5. The Chairman welcomed CE(HK)1/TDD et. al. to the meeting. CE(HK)1/TDD introduced the background of the three projects. TD/Maunsell and PM(CRIII)/Atkins presented the projects in details. TD/Maunsell highlighted that the timeframes for the three projects were as follows:


CRIII August 2002 - March 2007
WDII March 2004 - February 2010C
WB & IECL March 2004 - February 2012


6. The Chairman asked whether it was possible to extend the CWB tunnel beyond the Cross Harbour Tunnel so as to reduce the environmental impacts of the elevated IECL. TD/Maunsell replied that the consultants had assessed the feasibility of the total tunnel option during the Trunk Road options Study in end 1999 and found the proposal undesirable and that it would involve an unacceptable high level of risks in constructing a deep tunnel underneath the existing Cross Harbour Tunnel. Furthermore, the Trunk Road would need to connect to the existing island Eastern Corridor, which was an elevated structure. TD/Maunsell pointed out that if the IECL was built in tunnel, then a substantial length of the existing Island Eastern Corridor would require reconstruction. The extent could be up to North Point Ferry Pier.

7. A Member enquired about the length of the tunnel and what ventilation facilities would be provided. TD/Maunsell said that the tunnel would be 2.3 kilometers long (compared to the existing Cross Harbour Tunnel which has a length of 1.7 kilometers) and three ventilation buildings would be constructed at the beginning, the middle and at the end of the tunnel to provide ventilation.

Cumulative impacts of reclamation on water quality of the Harbour

8. A Member noted that although the change in mean discharges across Victoria Harbour due to the reclamation of CRIII and WDII would be less than 0.5% each, the cumulative changes from other reclamation projects of the same timeframe would amount to almost 5%. She asked how the Administration would address the cumulative impact concerned. In response, TD/Maunsell said that CRIII and WDII reclamations were not massive reclamations but only to smoothen the existing shoreline to enhance water flow in the Harbour. The two reclamations would contribute insignificant changes in the mean discharges across the Harbour. In reply to the Chairman's follow up question, TD/Maunsell assured the meeting that with the predicted impacts, the water quality of the Harbour would still comply with the Water Quality Objectives (WQO).

9. Atg.AD(EA)/EPD supplemented that the 5% impact was cumulated from a number of proposed reclamation projects within the Harbour including the South East Kowloon Development Study. The impact of CRIII and WDII on the water quality of the Habour was insignificant as these reclamation projects would smooth out the shoreline after implementation and would not increase additional pollutants into the Harbour. In the meantime, the Harbour Assessment Treatment Scheme (HATS) when implemented would be expected to bring improvement to the water quality in the Harbour.

10. A Member asked whether the improvement in the water quality of the Harbour brought about by HATS could compensate for the 5% change in flow discharge. In response, Atg.AD(EA)/EPD said that the HATS project would collect wastewater from the catchments around the Victoria Harbour for treatment before discharge and so it was anticipated that the improvement would more than compensate for the change in flow discharge.

11. The Chairman asked how the project proponents would prevent fish kills which occurred during the West Kowloon Reclamation. TD/Maunsell said that the CRIII and WDII situations were totally different from that of the West Kowloon Reclamation in which embayment was formed. However, with due regard to past experience, they would tighten the standards and implement measures such as channeling storm water outfall to the outside of the embayment until the permanent culvert extension had been constructed. They would also adopt more vigorous water quality-monitoring programme to prevent fish kills. The measures would be incorporated into relevant works contracts.

12. A Member asked whether the hemispherical shoreline at the west of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center (HKCEC) would form an embayment and whether it would have any impact on water quality. TD/Maunsell explained that it was not an embayment but a causeway of piled deck arrangement to allow vessels to come in for exhibition purpose. The water quality modeling had taken into account the design of the shoreline and the results indicated compliance with WQO.

Dredging and disposal of contaminated mud

13. On the Chairman's question, TD/Maunsell said that under the WDII project, about 990,000 m3 of mud would be dredged and about 60% of which (approximately 600,000 m3) was estimated to be contaminated and would be disposed at designated mud pit. PM(CRIII)/Atkins said that under the CRIII project, about 580,000 m3 of mud would be dredged and about 60% of which (approximately 370,000m3) would be disposed by means of confined marine disposal.

14. The Chairman asked whether it was possible to maximize the re-use of the dredged mud and minimize the amount to be disposed in mud pit. In reply, PM(CRIII)/Atkins said that they had conducted soil tests in 1995 during site investigation and found that the mud concerned was unsuitable for purposes like reclamation because of its soft, clay-type nature.

15. In response to the Chairman's follow up question, PM(CRIII)/Atkins said that the soil tests were conducted according to the requirements set out in the Works Bureau Technical Circular 22/1992. Since this Circular was later superseded by 3/2000 with new parameters in the test, they were at present re-conducting the soil tests using the new parameters. The Chairman pointed out that the volume of contaminated mud which required disposal/treatment should preferably be quantified in the EIA report but deemed the assessment adequate because of the recent change in the contaminated mud classification scheme.

16. A Member enquired about the volume of Class H contaminated materials arising from the three projects which would require special treatment/disposal and based on international experience how effective were the geosynthetic containers in isolating the contaminated mud. TD/Maunsell said that based on a preliminary study, about 2,000 m3 Class H contaminated mud would arise from the projects but the exact volume was subject to further detailed study. As regards the geosynthetic containers, they had been used in similar applications in the United States. To ensure effectiveness, the project proponent would carry out trial tests in the context of local requirements.

17. The Chairman asked whether there were any fallback options should the trial tests fail. TD/Maunsell said that they were confident in adjusting the design of the containers as well as the operational procedures so that they could adopt the method in Hong Kong.

18. In reply to the Chairman's question, SM(WDII)/Maunsell said that the size of the containers would depend on the type of handling method and the environment in which they were used. Therefore the trial tests would ascertain detailed handling mechanism to ensure efficiency and safety of the new method. CE(HK)1/TDD supplemented that the project proponent would carry out the trial test as soon as TDD had obtained funding approval from the Finance Committee.

19. A Member asked whether the test results would be subject to EPD's scrutiny. Atg.AD(EA)/EPD said that if the Subcommittee so wished, that could be imposed as a condition for endorsing the EIA report for its approval and for it to be incorporated a s a condition under the relevant Environmental Permit, if necessary. CE(HK)1/TDD said that they had no objection to submitting the test results to EPD for scrutiny and submitting a report to the Council.

20. In response to a Member's suggestion, TD/Maunsell said that swimming was not within the beneficial use of the Harbour. Nonetheless, he would consider his advice to erect signs at strategic locations around the works area to warn people not to swim in the Harbour during construction stage.

Construction waste and project coordination

21. A Member pointed out that Hong Kong was running out of space for disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) waste and asked whether the proponents had any commitment to make use of C&D materials for reclamation purpose. In addition, he asked how the two project proponents (TDD and HyD) would interface and co-ordinate so as to ensure the efficient management of the projects. He raised the question because poor project management would not only affect the projects but also create the impression of lack of communication and co-ordination between government departments.

22. On the first question, CE(HK)1/TDD said that they would maximize the use of C&D materials for the two reclamation projects. and Atg.AD(EA)/EPD supplemented that the Civil Engineering Department and the Environment and Food Bureau had examined their public fill management plan.

23. On the second question, CE(HK)1/TDD said that TDD would be responsible for CRIII and WDII reclamations, the entrusted tunnel box works related to CWB and IECL, and advance railway protection works for the proposed North Hong Kong Island Line (NIL). When the CWB tunnel box works were finished, the required work sites would be handed over to Hy D for the subsequent tunnel installation and ancillary works for CWB and IECL. Atg.CE(MW2-2)/HyD said that the two Departments would not work on the same area at the same time.

24. A Member enquired about the timeframe for the construction of NIL and Shatin to Central Link (SCL) and which party would be responsible for addressing the cumulative impacts arising from the railway project. CE(HK)1/TDD said that according to his understanding, the MTRC had submitted proposals for SCL which were now being considered by the Administration. The EIA study for CRIII had taken into account the impacts of the construction of the NIL protection work. If there turned out to be considerable deviations between this assessment and the future EIA for NIL, the company concerned should address the issue. Atg.AD(EA)/EPD supplemented that the advantage of carrying out protection works for NIL was to reduce the need to open up the newly reclaimed area for the construction of the NIL. Should there be major changes in the proposal submitted by the company concerned, the proponent must address such changes under the NIL EIA. Any Environmental Permit issued by the Director of Environmental Protection could also be varied with the inclusion of the necessary mitigation measures to address changes.

Visual impact

25. A Member asked whether there were guidelines for building design in the reclamation area. TD/Maunsell said that they had undertaken an urban design study to derive a set of design guidelines including those on building density and height. Apart from the reclamation area, they had also looked at the land-use planning of the north shore of the Hong Kong Island. The Planning Department had considered the design guidelines which would become conditions for the Outline Zoning Plan (OZP). Their intention was to allow more flexibility for future developers and architects to create more attractive designs to serve as landmarks on the waterfront area.

26. In reply to a Member's question, CE(HK)1/TDD said that according to the authorized OZP for Central Reclamation Phase III, the proposed government complex would be situated in the Tamar reclamation area.

27. On a Member's question about building height restrictions, TD/Maunsell said that they had undergone lengthy discussions with the Planning Department and the Architectural Services Department about height limits. He believed that the current proposal had imposed optimum height restrictions on buildings in the reclamation area.

28. In response to the Chairman's enquiry, CE(HK)1/TDD said that the OZP for Central Reclamation Phase III and the Planning Department would submit the draft OZP for WDII to the Town Planning Board in August 2001.

29. The Chairman said that if Members so wished, they could raise their concern over the visual impact of the three projects at a Council meeting so as to draw the attention of the Director of Planning who was represented at Council meetings.

30. A Member asked what access would be available for the public to go to the waterfront area when elevated structures like the IECL were blocking the way. TD/Maunsell explained that the intention was to provide as many pedestrian accesses as possible from the hinterland to the waterfront promenade. At the eastern end, a wide landscaped deck would join the Victoria Park to the waterfront promenade. To the west of Victoria Park, a footbridge would be built to provide access to the promenade. Furthermore, a wide pedestrian connection would link the Causeway Bay hinterland via the World Trade Center to the promenade. Near Wan Chai, there would be a pedestrian walkway to the promenade through the reprovisioned Hung Hing Road. Finally, a wide pedestrian deck would provide access to the ferry pier and waterfront promenade. It was also their intention to provide subways for access to the proposed public square east of the HKCEC Extension from the proposed NIL Exhibition Station.

31. In reply to a Member's follow up question, TD/Maunsell said that the proposed Noon Day Gun would be re-located to the tip of the breakwater in the proposed Kellett Island Marina.

32. In response to a Member's question, TD/Maunsell said that taxi stands, coach loading/unloading areas and parking spaces would be provided at various proposed developments near the accesses to the waterfront promenade. The existing public transport terminus in Wanchai would be expanded to meet expected increase in demand.

33. On a Member's follow up question, TD/Maunsell said that they had carried out traffic impact assessment and the results had been considered by the Transport Department and the Police. The conclusion was that the proposed works would not cause traffic problems in the areas concerned.

34. A Member asked whether the project proponents had any intention to build more piers to provide service for ferries and leisure boats. TD/Maunsell said that after consultation with the Transport Bureau, one single pier with two berths would be built at the east of the HKCEC Extension to provide licensed ferry services. As for leisure boats/harbour cruises, the proposed features of the waterfront promenade would allow loading/unloading of passengers along the seawall.

EM&A

35. In reply to the Chairman's question, CE(HK)1/TDD said that they would employ an independent environment checker to audit the monitoring results of the projects. They would also put the EM&A data onto the internet for public information.

36. To summarise the discussion, the Chairman said that the Subcommittee was pleased to note that the projects had gone through public consultations and the comments had been incorporated into the EIA studies. The Subcommittee also found it encouraging that a considerable section of CWB would be constructed in the form of a tunnel to minimize environmental impacts. The Subcommittee noted that proper water quality assessment had been conducted and the results complied with WQO. As regards construction waste and contaminated mud disposal, Members were assured that the reclamations would maximize the use of C&D materials and trials would be carried out to ascertain the effectiveness and safety of geosynthetic containers. On project management, it was noted that entrustments of works had been agreed between TDD and Hy D. In terms of visual impact, the proponents had consulted the Planning Department on urban design plan and guidelines and would impose them as conditions in the relevant OZP. Finally on EM&A, the proponents would employ independent environment checker to audit the monitoring results and the data would be uploaded onto the internet for public information.

37. The Subcommittee agreed to recommend 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.
Agenda Item 6 : Any Other Business

38. The Chairman said that two items were scheduled for discussion at the meeting tentatively scheduled for 6 August. They were Implementation of the Drainage Improvement Works for Ping Yuen River and EIA Report on Modifications to MTRC Tsim Sha Tsui Station. The Secretary explained that the statutory deadline for the Council to comment on the EIA report of the latter project would expire by 14 September before the September Council meeting. If Members would wish to discuss the report at a Subcommittee meeting, it would be preferable for them to do so before Members would leave for the study visit to Europe on 6 August

39. A Member proposed and other Members agreed that it was not necessary to consider the EIA report on the MTRC project at a Subcommittee meeting. They considered the EIA report acceptable and would recommend it to the Council for endorsement without conditions.

40. As regards the item on Ping Yuen River, as there was no statutory time limit for the Council to submit comments, the Subcommittee decided to postpone the item to the September meeting scheduled for 3 September 2001.

Monthly Update on Applications under the EIA Ordinance

41. Members noted the monthly updates as at 25 July 2001.

Noise Review Report at Lee On Station

42. The Chairman referred to the noise review report and said that the Council endorsed in December 1999 the EIA report on KCRC-Tai Wai to Ma On Shan Extension with a condition that the proponent should provide information on ways to minimize noise impacts. In compliance with the endorsement condition, the project proponent had provided a copy of the Noise Review Document at Lee On Station for Members' reference.

Tentative Items for Next Meeting

43. Members noted that two items were scheduled for discussion at the meeting on 3 September, namely Comprehensive Feasibility Study for the Revised Scheme of South East Kowloon Development and Proposed Citybus Headquarters and Bus Maintenance Depot in Chai Wan. Atg.AD(EA)/EPD pointed out that Members had not selected the Citybus project for discussion. However, EPD had received quite substantive comments from the public at the consultation stage of the project profile. The Department therefore recommended that the Subcommittee should consider the report. Members agreed.

Resignation

44. A Member informed the meeting that he had resigned from his post in the Friends of the Earth (FoE) and thus another representative from FoE would attend ACE and EIA Subcommittee meetings starting from September onwards. The Chairman thanked that Member for his contributions to the Subcommittee.

Agenda Item 7 : Date of Next Meeting

45. The next meeting was scheduled for 3 September 2001 at 4:00pm.

EIA Subcommittee Secretariat
August 2001

 

 
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