(ACE Paper 3/2001)
This paper informs members of Government's plan for a cable car system linking Tung Chung and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, and seeks members' initial views on the preliminary assessment on the constraints on the development of the system and the "Preliminary Preferred Alignment" of the proposed system.
2.1 In May 1998, Government tasked the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) to take the lead in developing a cable car proposal on Lantau Island and masterminding the way forward. The MTRC then commissioned a feasibility study (the Study) on the cable car project (the Project).
2.2 The Study had conducted preliminary assessments on the financial and engineering feasibility of the Project and on its initial environmental, ecological, heritage, landscape and visual impacts. A number of alignment options and station locations had been examined in the Study and they are shown blue on Plan A.
2.3 The Study concluded that the Project is feasible in both technical and financial terms and will bring about socio-economic benefits to the economy of Hong Kong, including tourist visitation, alternative means of access to attractions on Lantau Island, etc. It recommended that the Tung Chung Terminal should start at Tung Chung Town Centre, with the cableway extending towards an intermediate station on the south shore of the Airport Island, before turning up to the Ngong Ping Terminal at the Ngong Ping plateau. This alignment is shown as "Alignment Recommended in the Study" on Plan B.
2.4 Government has now drawn up the following broad framework for taking forward the Project -
a franchise will be granted for the finance, design, construction and operation of the cable car system on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis; and
a Project Brief will be issued in the second quarter of 2001 to invite proposals, with a view to identifying the successful bidder before the end of the year. Thereafter the successful bidder will take forward all technical assessments and statutory procedures in sequence, and detailed design and construction. The target is to have the system commence operation latest by 2006.
3. PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT
3.1 After release of the Study report, the Airport Authority expressed concern about the location of the proposed intermediate station. The proximity of the proposed location to the fuel tank farm may pose potential hazards to cable car commuters and preclude future expansion of the fuel tank farm. To address the problem, the Government conducted in December 2000 a desk top study (DTS) to identify other possible alternative locations of the intermediate station in conjunction with relevant Government departments and the Airport Authority and undertake a preliminary assessment of the various factors which might impose constraints on the choice of an alignment. The aim is to identify changes necessary to the alignment and arrive at an indicative alignment which is generally acceptable to parties concerned. The options considered are shown black on Plan A.
3.2 The DTS had taken into consideration a number of environmental, ecological and engineering constraints (Plan C), such as conservation areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), flight path of helicopters and proximity to the fuel tank farm on the Airport Island. Through the DTS, a revised alignment which prima facie works best within these constraints has been identified. This is shown as "Preliminary Preferred Alignment" (PPA) on Plan B. The final alignment of the cable car system will be established by the successful bidder through detailed assessment under the EIA Ordinance and other statutory requirements.
4. WAY FORWARD
4.1 The right to develop and operate the cable car system will be tendered through an open process. The PPA will form the basis on which proposals will be invited. The preliminary assessment of the DTS and information on the identified constraints will be included in the Project Brief for bidders' reference.
4.2 The development of the cable car system is a designated project under the EIA Ordinance. We will soon apply for the Study Brief as required under the EIA Ordinance and include it in the Project Brief. The successful bidder will need to carry out the following assessment and work to establish a firm alignment of the cable car -
carry out necessary detailed environmental studies according to the requirements under the Technical Memorandum on the EIA process and the EIA Study Brief;
undertake the design of the cable car system, its alignment and stations, thereby determining the number of pylons required and the consequential land requirements; and
seek prior consent of the Country and Marine Parks Authority for the part of the cable car route falling within the country park.
5. ADVICE SOUGHT
Members are requested to give initial views on preliminary assessment of the constraints for the development of the Tung Chung Cable Car System and the PPA of the system as set out at section 3 of this paper.
Economic Services Bureau