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LCQ4: Area improvement plan for shopping areas of Mong Kok

Following is a question by Dr Hon Priscilla Leung and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (December 16):

Question:

As early as 2009, the Planning Department completed the study on the Area Improvement Plan for the Shopping Areas of Mong Kok, and recommended 22 improvement projects, but some of these projects have not yet been implemented to date. Some Mong Kok residents have expressed their disappointment at this situation, and hope that the authorities expeditiously complete all the projects, particularly the redevelopment of the government sites at Sai Yee Street and Mong Kok East Station as well as the extension of the pedestrian footbridge at Mong Kok Road, so as to improve the environment and road accessibility in the areas in Mong Kok.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the latest progress of the aforesaid 22 improvement projects, including details of the completed projects, works progress and anticipated completion dates of the uncompleted projects, as well as the anticipated commencement dates and completion dates of those projects which have not yet commenced;

(2) of the reasons why, after years of delay, the extension of the pedestrian footbridge at Mong Kok Road has not yet been completed, including the difficulties encountered in carrying out the works; and

(3) given that the authorities have adopted the recommendations made by the Yau Tsim Mong District Council and members of the local community that a public transport interchange (PTI) be built at the government sites at Sai Yee Street and Mong Kok East Station after relocating the relevant facilities of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Water Supplies Department in order to alleviate the serious traffic congestion in nearby areas, of the latest progress in relocating the facilities of the two government departments; of the authorities' plan for developing the superstructure above the proposed PTI, and when they will announce the relevant details?

Reply:

President,

Regarding the question raised by Dr Hon Priscilla Leung, I have consulted the Transport and Housing Bureau, the Drainage Services Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the Home Affairs Department, the Highways Department (HyD), the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Planning Department (PlanD), the Transport Department and the Water Supplies Department (WSD). My reply to various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) The PlanD completed the study on "Area Improvement Plan for the Shopping Areas of Mong Kok" (AIP Study) in 2009. Having covered key issues like planning and urban design, landscape, traffic and transport, and pedestrian in the shopping areas of Mong Kok, the AIP Study recommended 22 improvement projects on greening and streetscape improvement, identity improvement, linkage improvement and destination improvement etc. The latest progress of these 22 improvement projects is at Annex.

Among the 22 projects, the Government has undertaken to implement six of them with priority: one of which has been completed, two have been partially completed, one will be completed in the Second Quarter of 2016, one is under revision in light of public opinions received during consultation, and the other is pending implementation due to a judicial review case on the Mong Kok Outline Zoning Plan. As for the remaining 16 improvement projects, relevant government bureaux and departments would, under prevailing practice, continue to take up coordination, implementation and maintenance roles according to their policy and resource priorities. Of these 16 projects, three have been completed, one is under construction and two are under study or related procedures.

(2) The footbridge system along Mong Kok Road and Sai Yee Street is funded and constructed by a private developer. About 90 per cent of the footbridge system was completed in 2003, which includes a section of footbridge from Bute Street / Sai Yee Street to Mong Kok Road / Nathan Road and the subway connecting MTR Mong Kok Station at Sai Yeung Choi Street South. They were commissioned for public use in January and August 2003 respectively. The HyD is responsible for contacting relevant government departments and the developer in respect of the coordination of relevant statutory procedures (such as arrangements for gazettal) and the monitoring of the overall works progress, in order to facilitate completion of the project.

Since 2003, the Government has been requesting the private developer for early completion of the remaining part of the footbridge system (i.e. the footbridge extension at Mong Kok Road across Nathan Road of approximately 35m long), and the private developer made an explicit commitment to the Government in 2007 to complete the works of the footbridge system. Since 2007, the private developer has started to actively pursue the preparatory works of footbridge extension, such as liaison with public utilities regarding the necessary diversion works.

The private developer commenced the advance works for the footbridge extension, including diversion of utilities at Mong Kok Road near Nathan Road and foundation preparation works, in mid-2011. In view of the large quantities of underground utilities and heavy traffic in the vicinity, the utility diversion works had to be carried out in stages. Following the completion of the utility diversion works, the footbridge construction and relevant road improvement works are anticipated to commence in early 2016 for completion in 2018.

(3) The Government is planning to implement the improvement project at Sai Yee Street when the government sites there are vacated for redevelopment. In this connection, the PlanD has commissioned a consultant to undertake the "Planning and Design Study on the Redevelopment of Government Sites at Sai Yee Street and Mong Kok East Station - Feasibility Study" (Sai Yee Street Study) in March 2015 to evaluate the development potential for residential or commercial uses at the site. The Sai Yee Street Study will also investigate ways to better utilise the site to improve the current conditions and environment of the area, including the provision of public transport interchange, Government, Institution and Community facilities as well as open space.  Meanwhile, the PlanD will explore ways to improve pedestrian connectivity so that major transport interchanges in the area can be connected. According to current working timetable, it is anticipated that the PlanD will consult the District Council on the preliminary recommended development scheme in the first half of 2016.

With respect to the relocation of existing facilities within the site, the WSD has secured funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (FC) in June 2015 to relocate its New Territories West Regional office to Tin Shui Wai. Construction works for the new building commenced on August 17, 2015 for completion in 2018. Demolition of existing building structures at Sai Yee Street is scheduled to complete by end 2019. The FEHD has also secured FC's funding approval in June 2015 to relocate its Sai Yee Street Environmental Hygiene Offices-cum-vehicle depot to Yen Ming Road, West Kowloon Reclamation Area. Related construction works will start in early 2016 for completion in mid-2018. Upon commissioning of the facilities at Yen Ming Road, demolition works for existing building structures at Sai Yee Street will commence for completion by end 2020.

Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:33

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