Following up on typhoon precautionary measures in Kwun Tong
As autumn finally approaches, Hong Kong people can take a break from the threat of tropical cyclones for a while, but the Government still has not let down its guard in taking precautionary measures against typhoon. When super typhoon Hato hit Hong Kong in late August, tidal back flow and flooding occurred in some low-lying coastal areas owing to astronomical high tide and storm surge, which damaged a number of public facilities and adversely affected neighbouring shops and residents along the coastal areas. I am aware that the relevant government departments have all along been actively communicating with the local community to offer them the support needed, and have further reviewed the situation and formulated improvement measures accordingly. Lei Yue Mun of Kwun Tong district was badly hit by the typhoon. On my recent visit to the area, I familiarised myself with the follow-up measures taken by various departments, and also met with members of the Kwun Tong District Council (KTDC) and the local community to discuss related matters.
Lei Yue Mun was a quarry site with a sparse population in the 19th century. Today, it makes a name for itself as a place to savour seafood. As most of the residential housing and shops in Lei Yue Mun are located in the low-lying coastal areas, they are susceptible to tidal back flow and the impact of waves when typhoons strike. During typhoon seasons, therefore, colleagues of various departments will exercise extreme caution to ensure that precautionary measures are in place. Accompanied by the Chairman of the Kwun Tong District Council, Dr CHAN Chung-bun, Bunny, and the District Officer (Kwun Tong), Mr TSE Ling-chun, Steve, I visited the “Seafood Street”, Sam Ka Tsuen, Ma Wan Tsuen and Ma Pui Tsuen in Lei Yue Mun. I was briefed on the improvement works proposed to be carried out along the waterfront by the Director of Drainage Services, Mr TONG Ka-hong, Edwin, and the Head of the Civil Engineering Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), Mr LAU Chun-kit, Ricky.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the various departments that worked hand in hand in the past two months and made great efforts to examine and formulate a series of improvement measures for enhancing Lei Yue Mun’s ability to resist storm surge in future. As regards short-term improvement works, the KTDC has funded emergency works and upgraded local facilities in Lei Yue Mun after the typhoon under the District Minor Works Programme. The works included resurfacing main roads, replacing drain covers, repairing railings and reprovisioning damaged rain shelters. Various departments are also preparing in full swing for the implementation of a number of long-term and large-scale improvement works in the district.
Early implementation of works
Specifically, after the site visit by the Drainage Services Department (DSD), the CEDD, and the Home Affairs Department (HAD), several suitable locations were identified to provide rock-armoured bunds along the seashore and build walls along the waterfront footpath, so as to enhance Lei Yue Mun’s resistance against the impact of waves. Besides, after discussions with KTDC members, local villagers and shop operators, the DSD will install staff gauges at three prominent positions to indicate water levels for warning purposes, and plans to install stop-logs at eight locations to reduce the damage caused by waves and tidal back flow. The HAD will also carry out full restoration works at the only access route to Ma Wan Tsuen and Ma Pui Tsuen.
Once the details and costs of the works have been further finalised by the relevant departments, the Government will consult the related committees under the KTDC on the arrangements in November for the early implementation of the improvement works. It is true that many follow-up actions need to be accelerated, and I am confident that with the close co-operation among various departments, the concerns of local residents and shop operators can be addressed and allayed one after another.
Grateful to those for bridging the gaps
On the same day, I also visited the Energizing Kowloon East Office on Hoi Bun Road in Kwun Tong, and had a tea gathering with representatives of the Kowloon East Association, the Hong Kong Kwun Tong Industries and Commerce Association and KTDC members to learn more about the local community’s concerns. We exchanged views on the policy on the revitalisation of industrial buildings, as well as the ways to improve district ancillary facilities and to capitalise on the opportunities arising from the redevelopment of Kwun Tong. The Development Bureau (DEVB) is currently exploring the reactivation of the revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings, under which more incentives would be offered to encourage owners of old industrial buildings to undertake redevelopment or wholesale conversion. We will communicate with the relevant policy bureaux and the industry during the process. The work is targeted to complete by the middle of next year.
You may not know that I was an Administrative Officer for the Kwun Tong district back in the 1980s, so you may call me an “old Kwun Tong guy” with a deep affection for the place. In recent years, Kwun Tong has indeed changed a lot through revitalisation, environmental improvement and diversified development. As district issues involve various policy bureaux and departments, colleagues at various levels must connect with the people and grasp public sentiments to effectively promote, implement, carry out and review initiatives on all fronts so as to respond to the community’s aspirations as quickly as possible.
In fact, I have unique experiences every time I visit a district. I am happy to discuss with members of the local community any matters regarding the district and work towards the same goals together with them. A big thank-you to the community stakeholders for providing a bridge between the Government and the people over the years. I believe that not only Kwun Tong district, but the entire Kowloon East will be given a facelift in future.
29 October, 2017