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LCQ14: Ma Wan Park

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (December 17):

Question:

Regarding the Ma Wan Park (MWP) which is being constructed by a developer, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  given that the completion dates of the construction works of MWP have been extended time and again (the completion of Phase 1 development was originally scheduled for June 2006 and has been delayed until the end of this month, and it has been reported that the "Noah's Ark", a arge-scale facility therein, will not be formally opened to the public until March next year, while the completion date for Phase 2 development has yet to be fixed), whether the Government will, apart from requiring it to pay the unexpended balance of the development cost together with the interest, raise the penalty for serious delay in the above works by the developer, so as to prevent further delay;

(b)  of the details of every Master Layout Plan (MLP) and every amendment submitted by the developer on the Ma Wan development (including changes involved in those amendments, whether the relevant applications have been approved by the Town Planning Board, together with the conditions on which such approvals were granted);

(c)  given that in accordance with the 1994 MLP of Park Island, the developer was required to provide a road link in the development area to connect to the road network of Ma Wan, yet, it is shown in the current revised MLP that residential buildings have been built on the land of that road section, and the developer has not provided other roads, including roads inside MWP, at Ma Wan either, why the Government has allowed the developer not to provide the road concerned; and whether the Government will take follow-up actions; if it will, of the details; and

(d)  given that presently vehicles without valid permits are prohibited from entering Ma Wan, whether the Government has evaluated the accessibility of MWP after the park is open to the public; if it has, of the details of the evaluation results; if not, whether the Government will require the developer to provide the road concerned to improve the accessibility of MWP?

Reply:

President,

The developer of Park Island originally intended to develop the Ma Wan Park (MWP) as a commercial theme park operating on a closed and admission fee basis with a large number of rides.  In order to minimise the overlap in concept with the Hong Kong Disneyland and also to conserve vegetation and preserve the setting of the Ma Wan Old Village, the developer subsequently proposed a theme of "Naturally Hong Kong", with emphasis on retaining and refurbishing the existing structures in the Ma Wan town and conservation of the natural environment and cultural heritage.  Based on the new concept, a revised Master Layout Plan (MLP) was submitted to the Town Planning Board (TPB) and concerned government departments and was subsequently approved.

As I had mentioned in my reply to the question raised in the Legislative Council sitting on June 11, 2008, the Government would, in the light of the extension of the completion date and any consequences arising therefrom, take follow-up actions in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Heads of Agreement (HoA).  The Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (SHKP) has to pay the Government upon completion of Phase 1 the unexpended balance of the MWP construction cost deducted from the Park Island premium in 1997 for the implementation of the MWP together with interest.

The Government will enter into a "Supplemental Agreement" over various aspects of the MWP, and a "Management Agreement" to provide for the detailed arrangements for the future management of the MWP.  Both sides are discussing on the details of the provisions of these Agreements.

My reply to the four-part question is as follows:

(a) Phase 1 of the MWP comprises three main features, namely the "Nature Garden", "Noah's Ark" and "Solar Tower".  The "Nature Garden" has been opened to the public since July 2007.  With the issue of occupation permit in August, the "Noah's Ark" is due for completion as scheduled by the end of 2008 and will start operation by early 2009.  As for the "Solar Tower", the developer undertakes to have it completed 24 months after the authorisation of the revised road scheme.  The bureau and departments concerned are now preparing for the gazettal of the revised road scheme and handling representations from the affected owners.  As for the Phase 2 development, the HoA has not specified a completion date for it.

The developer is required, as mentioned above, to pay the Government upon completion of the relevant works the unexpended balance of the MWP construction cost deducted from the Park Island premium in 1997 for the implementation of the MWP together with interest.  The longer the extension of the completion of the MWP, the greater the interest the developer has to pay to the Government.  It is estimated that the total interest accrued up to now is about hundred millions of dollars.  Hence, we believe that the developer will endeavour to complete the relevant MWP works as soon as possible.  However, the authorisation of the revised road scheme is a statutory process which is not within the full control of the developer on his own.

(b)  There were altogether seven planning applications submitted under section 16 of the pre-amended Town Planning Ordinance for the MWP development. These include A/MWI/3, A/MWI/9, A/I-MWI/14, A/I-MWI/27, A/I-MWI/29, A/I-MWI/35 and A/I-MWI/37.  The application details are attached in Annex.  The seven planning applications were approved with conditions by the TPB.  The approval conditions can be viewed in the TPB homepage (http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb).  The public can also view the relevant MLPs in the Land Registry.

(c)  The developer subsequently revised the MLP of the Park Island development, amending the access alignment and the disposition of the residential buildings in the development.  The amendments were approved by the TPB.

As a result of the revision of the development plan, the concerned road scheme authorised in 1996 had to be amended.  Upon the conclusion of the whole gazettal and approval processes, the developer has to carry out the uncompleted road works for the MWP.

(d)  Currently, there are two ferry routes running from Ma Wan to Central and Tsuen Wan and four residents' bus routes to Tsing Yi, Kwai Fong, Tsuen Wan and the Airport.  We have all along encouraged visitors to make good use of the above service, the ferry in particular, to travel to Ma Wan.  Lately, the Transport Department (TD) has proposed to relax the ratio between road and sea patronage for Ma Wan on the Explanatory Statement of the Ma Wan Outline Zoning Plan with a view to providing greater flexibility for transport arrangements was published in the Gazette on August 1, 2008 for public comment.  The proposal was made after the TD had conducted a review and consulted the relevant District Council, and the Rural and New Town Planning Committee under the TPB has considered the case.  Having considered various factors, including the traffic condition and actual needs, the TD has agreed to issue prohibited zone permits on Ma Wan Road on a restricted basis to facilitate group visitors to travel to MWP during the trial operation of the "Noah's Ark".  Subject to the results of the trial and after the amendment made to the ratio between road and sea patronage, the TD will further consider the specific arrangements for regulating the coaches to MWP having regard to the actual transport demand of group visitors to MWP and the need to ensure the smooth traffic flow of the Lantau Link.

Ends/Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:37

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