29. In response to a Member's request, SE(PM)/DSD undertook to make arrangements for the Subcommittee to pay a site visit to the improvement works in River Indus and River Beas.
Agenda Item 4 : Comprehensive Feasibility Study for the Revised Scheme of South East Kowloon Development
(ACE-EIA Paper 12/2001) 30. The Chairman welcomed Atg.CE(KE)/TDD et al. to the meeting. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD briefed Members on the background of the Study followed by Director/EML's presentation on the detailed findings and recommendations of the EIA Report.
31. A Member quoted from paragraph 11 of ACE-EIA Paper 12/2001 that "the Air Quality Objectives (AQO) would be met at all air sensitive receivers". He said that meeting the AQO did not imply that there were no adverse impacts on health. He was disappointed that the percentage for tunnels/depressed roads was just 25%. In response, Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that one of the planning objective for SEKD was to provide a cleaner environment. The design of roads and footpaths was intended to discourage vehicular entrance and facilitate walking. The routing of pedestrian paths also provided convenient connection with rail-based transport system. SEC1/EML supplemented that ambient air pollutant concentrations were high in the area due to two existing roads, namely Kwun Tong Bypass and Prince Edward Road East. That said, pollutant concentrations towards the Harbour area were predicted to be lower because of the use of tunnels and depressed roads.
32. A Member felt that it was a great opportunity to develop an emission-free new town in SEKD. Instead of "encouraging" walking and use of rail-based transport and "discouraging" vehicles access, more prescriptive measures should be adopted to minimize adverse impacts from traffic to every possible extent. In reply, Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that the planning target was to provide as many underground roads as possible in SEKD but that was constrained by other considerations like underground drainage and sewerage systems, and traffic safety. SM/OAPL explained that the percentage of depressed roads (25%) appeared to be low because it took into account the existing Kwun Tong Bypass and Prince Edward Road East.
33. A Member raised questions on why :
the percentages of roads and open space were almost equivalent given the commitment to rail-based design;
school village was situated in an area where high levels of NOx and RSP concentrations were predicted;
a vehicular ferry pier which would encourage road-based traffic was provided;
"park & ride" facilities was not provided; and
whether a public ferry pier would be provided for the purposes of tourist attraction and encouraging marine transport.
34. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD clarified that on (a), the percentage of roads included footpath, therefore the actual percentage of roads for vehicles was less than 25%. On (c), the vehicular ferry pier was only a replacement for the existing facility in Kwun Tong for transporting dangerous goods. On (d), there would be park & ride facilities in three major public interchanges surrounding SEKD area. On (e), they proposed to provide a tourist excursion ferry pier at the end of the runway but the viability of a ferry service was yet to be examined. On (b), SEC1/EML said that air pollutant concentrations were high because the school village was close to existing trunk roads. However, there would be buffer area to minimize the impacts of traffic.
35. In response to the Chairman's follow up question on (b), SEC1/EML said that the current arrangement was effective in terms of land use and further land reclamation might be required if the school village was to be re-located elsewhere.
36. A Member recalled that during public consultation exercise, one of the proposals put forward by professional bodies was to develop a fossil fuel-free city in SEKD. He asked whether the idea could still be considered at the present stage. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that it was the best they could do at the moment to allow for more than 60% rail-based transport. They would give due consideration to Mr. Poon's comment at the detailed design stage.
37. The Chairman asked whether it was possible to further increase the 60% rail-based transport. SM/OAPL replied that the general percentage for rail-based transport in Hong Kong was about 25% and there was plan to increase it to 35%. In view of the need to provide roads for loading and unloading activities and emergency services, it was unlikely to further increase the 60% rail-based transport in SEKD.
38. A Member encouraged the use of environmentally friendly transport in SEKD and asked if there were any measures to strengthen its competitiveness among other transportation modes. She also suggested providing links between EFT stations and public ferry service to promote the use of cleaner transport. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that the possibility of expanding EFT would be considered by the operator in the detailed design stage. As regards tourist excursion ferry pier, it would be located close to EFT stations.
Handling of Contaminated Sediments
39. A Member enquired about the effectiveness of treating a large scale of contaminated sediments in-situ using Biogenesis washing, and he sought clarification on the gas protection measures as a fallback. In response, Director/EML said that subject to the pilot tests, it was possible to increase the scale according to the need. SEC2/EML said that the proposed fallback measure was to install gas-collecting pipes to collect biogas released from the sediments.
40. A Member asked whether the proponent had compared the effectiveness of different treatment options and made reference to methods in other countries. She also asked whether Deep Cement Mixing was a new technology and whether its effectiveness had been tested. Lastly, she expressed concern about the monitoring of the whole treatment process.
41. In response, Director/EML said that they had conducted trial tests on in-situ treatment with three different kinds of chemicals to identify the most effective method. As regards the ex-situ treatment method, it was a common sediment washing process which had been used for treating hazardous waste and sediments at chemical weapon sites. A Member pointed out that unlike treatment sites in other countries, Hong Kong was a densely populated city. She was concerned as to how the proponent could ensure that residents nearby would not be affected by the potential gas/odour problem. Director/EML said that the whole treatment process would be undertaken inside a building and gas/odour was not expected to be a problem because the sediments contained mainly metallic pollutants and the whole treatment process would be closely monitored. As regards Deep Cement Mixing, it had not been used in Hong Kong before. Therefore they would carry out pilot test before adopting the method.
43. A Member remarked that the sediments in Kai Tak Approach Channel seemed to be the largest amount of toxic waste to be handled in Asia and he was concerned over the uncertainty of the proposed treatment options. In response, Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that the purpose of the pilot tests was exactly to ascertain the effectiveness and safety of the proposed methods. Director/EML supplemented that based on monitoring data for works done overseas, in-situ treatment using Fenton's Reagent could remove about 99% of the contaminants. For ex-situ treatment, the percentage ranged from 86% to 96%.
44. In response to the Chairman's enquiry, Director/EML said that efficiency in removing pollutants was the main assessment criterion in comparing the different treatment methods. TDD and EPD would scrutinize the results of the pilot tests. SEC1/EML supplemented that Kai Tak Approach Channel Reclamation was subject to EIA study. The proponent would consult ACE on the EIA report in due course.
45. A Member asked whether there was any height restriction on high-rise landmarks and whether the proponent had done modeling on building height to ensure the preservation of the skyline. In reply, Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that two physical models had been built to confirm the overall space parameters. Director/MHL said that there were only three high-rise landmarks in SEKD, namely the town center (200mpd), the hotel for tourist (180mpd) and the stadium (55mpd). Landmarks were often designed as high-rise buildings because they could serve as a center of orientation for distant viewers. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD supplemented that most of the landmark developments in SEKD were either zoned as Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) or Other Use (OU). The layout and disposition of these developments would be subject to the scrutiny of the Town Planning Board.
46. A Member expressed that she would like to see more innovative design of landmarks in SEKD. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that the relevant authority might consider launching an open contest in that regard.Land De-contamination
47. A Member enquired about the method to be adopted for land de-contamination and how confident the proponent was to carry out the works without causing adverse impacts to people nearby. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD said that the major area of concern was the existing terminal building and the Government Flying Service hanger which would be vacated by 2005. Hong Kong had lots of experience in land de-contamination and the effectiveness and safety of the technology was proven. The land de-contamination project was a Schedule 2 project which required a separate EIA study.
Refuse Transfer Station
48. A Member asked whether the Refuse Transfer Station would be compatible with the rest of the area and expressed concern about the potential odour/hygiene impact on residents and tourists. In response, Atg.CE(KE)TDD said that with reference to a similar facility in Kennedy Town, odour was not a problem. SEC1/EML supplemented that the project would require a separate EIA study.
Automated Refuse Collection System (ARCS)
49. A Member asked whether ARCS would be applied to other areas in SEKD. In response, SM/OAPL said ARCS had become a standard provision for public housing estates. As regards its application to other areas, they were considering installing a more centralized ARCS and the possibility was being studied. SM/OAPL supplemented that they had reserved sufficient land to allow further expansion of ARCS.
50. A Member pointed out that the existing design of ARCS did not facilitate waste separation and recycling. He urged the proponent to include such functions in the design of ARCS. Atg.CE(KE)/TDD took note of that Member's comments.
Views and Recommendations of the Subcommittee
51. The Chairman asked whether Members would accept the EIA report. A Member considered that the school village should not be located near trunk roads where air quality would be poor. She also felt that the pilot tests for the treatment of contaminated sediments should be subject to risk assessment of the highest standards and the results be scrutinized by a third party and the public.
52. The Chairman said that on air quality, though the EIA had met the criteria of the Technical Memorandum of the EIA Ordinance, he urged the proponent to take into account that Member's comments regarding the location of the school village. He proposed and Members agreed to endorse the EIA report without conditions on the understanding that the results of pilot tests on different treatment options for contaminated sediments would be scrutinized by EPD and a copy of the report(s) be made available to the Subcommittee for information. That Member expressed that she endorsed the EIA report with reservation.
Agenda Item 5: Proposed Headquarters & Bus Maintenance Depot at Chai Wan
(ACE-EIA Paper 13/2001)
53. The Chairman welcomed ED/Citybus et. al. to the meeting. Due to time constraint, the Chairman proposed proceeding with the questions and answers session straight away.
Selection of Site for the Depot
54. The Chairman noted that the proposed site was close to the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE)(Chai Wan) and a few housing estates. He asked whether there were alternative sites for the depot. In reply, ED/Citybus said that there were only two available sites in the Eastern District. The site in A Kung Ngam consisted of three patches of undeveloped land which was too small for the depot. The proposed site was the only remaining site available.
55. In response to the Chairman's question, ED/Citybus said that they had not consulted the IVE directly on the project but a consultation exercised was carried out for the general public. SC/CH2M supplemented that the management of IVE was aware of the project.Cumulative Impacts
56. In response to a Member, SC/CH2M said that the cumulative impacts arising from industrial operations and traffic nearby and the New World First Bus Depot had been assessed in the EIA study. The impacts contributed from the project were considered negligible.
57. In reply to the Chairman, SC/CH2M said that the monitoring of construction noise would be conducted once a week. The Chairman commented that since the contractor would deal with complaints or exceedances in noise level within three days, it would imply that cases might only be handled after a lapse of 10 days. AGM/Citybus explained that the predictions of construction noise level were based on the worst-case scenario. The use of big-diameter bore-pile instead of the conventional H-pile method and together with noise barriers would greatly reduce construction noise. ED/Citybus supplemented that they would commission a full-time independent environmental team to monitor the noise level. SC/CH2M drew Members' attention to the EM&A Manual which stated in para. 2.7.13 that "In case of non-compliance with the construction noise criteria, more frequent monitoring as specified in the Action Plan shall be carried out". The Chairman considered that the frequency of monitoring should be increased to prepare for the worst case.
59. A Member commented that the queuing of buses for return to the depot would cause noise impact and adverse impact on air quality. She asked whether the proponent had worked out a bus schedule to reduce the number of buses queuing up outside the depot. AGM/Citybus said that the maximum number of buses leaving or returning to the depot would be less than 80 per hour. It was not anticipated that buses would be queuing up in front of the depot.
60. A Member said he had once lived in Chai Wan for years. He found that noise generated by buses in the early morning when the background noise level was low was particularly disturbing. He asked whether the proponent would consider controlling the speed of buses in some areas. AGM/Citybus replied that the present bus engines were well contained at the rear of buses and properly insulated. In addition, buses using engines of Euro II standard were much quieter.
61. The Chairman asked how the proponent could enforce the restrictions not to use Wing Tai Road and Shing Tai Road. ED/Citybus said that all drivers would be trained to adhere to specific routes and inspectors would monitor the performance of drivers to ensure that they observe the restrictions.
62. A Member asked why the figures of the cumulative pollutant concentrations from open road traffic emission & depots emission (Table 4-16 of EIAR) did not tally with those of the predicted pollutant concentrations from open road vehicular emission (Table 4-11 of EIAR) and those of the predicted pollutant concentrations due to emissions from Citybus Depot and NWFB Depot (Table 4-15 of EIAR). SC/CH2M explained that the background pollutant concentrations were included in all three tables.
63. A Member was concerned about the accuracy of the modeling because the RSP levels were not progressing in the same manner as NO2 levels. MD/CH2M clarified that the figures reflected the fact that the percentage increase in RSP concentration arising from the operation of the depot would not be as much as that in NO2, which was consistent with the composition of bus emissions.
65. A Member reiterated that meeting the AQO did not mean that there would be no adverse impacts, a more precautionary approach should be adopted to avoid adverse impacts on health. AD(EA)/EPD said that the criterion used in reviewing EIA was whether AQO could be met.
66. A Member noted in para. 4.3.4 of the Executive Summary that the proponent had conducted a traffic forecast and she enquired about the basis of the traffic forecast. SC/CH2M said that the project traffic consultant had commissioned an on-going traffic impact assessment and the assessment had been endorsed by Transport Department. In the forecast, the planning of the current project, the New World First Bus Depot as well as other traffic demand had been taken into account.
67. In response to a Member's question, ED/Citybus said that the government transport policy was to promote mass transit railway as the backbone of local transport system. Bus service was only supplementary in nature. He did not envisage any significant development or expansion of bus service in future. AGM/Citybus added that should there be new routes proposed, a separate depot should be included as a package to meet the increase in service demand. MD/LCP confirmed that the design of the foundation of the depot would not support expansion.
68. In response to a Member's question, ED/Citybus said that a 24-hour hotline was in place to receive any enquiries or complaints about their bus service.
Recommendations of the Subcommittee
69. The Chairman concluded that the Subcommittee would recommend endorsement of the EIA report with the condition that the frequency of monitoring of construction noise be increased to once every three days.
Agenda Item 6 : Any Other Business
Noise Review Documents for Pamela Youde Child Assessment Centre / School Dental Clinic & Yau Kam Yuen Prevocational School
70. The Chairman informed Members that the Noise Review Documents were submitted for the Subcommittee's information in accordance with the endorsement condition of the EIA report on KCRC-Tai Wai to Ma On Shan Extension in December 1999. Members had no comments on the Documents.
Sand Dredging at West Po Toi Marine Borrow Area
71. Members noted that the third progress report was sent to them on 23 August 2001 via e-mail. Tentative Items for Next Meeting
72. As there was no item scheduled for the next meeting, the Chairman proposed to discuss the implications on the EIA system in Hong Kong arising from the Judgment of the Appeal Board on the Spur Line project.