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LCQ21: Revitalisation project of former Central Police Station Compound

Following is a question by the Hon Tanya Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Eric Ma, in the Legislative Council today (April 26):
 
Question:
 
The construction works are underway for the revitalisation project of the former Central Police Station Compound (the revitalisation project), taken forward by the Government in partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). On May 29 last year, an incident occurred in which an external wall of one of the buildings (i.e. the former Married Inspectors' Quarters Building) included in the revitalisation project collapsed. After that, HKJC set up a review panel to inquire into the causes of the incident and made public the inquiry report in November last year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that the Buildings Department has also initiated an inquiry into the aforesaid wall collapse incident and is preparing a report, of the expected time for the report to be made public;

(2) whether it has sought legal advice from the Department of Justice (DoJ) on whether the Authorised Person (AP) or contractor(s) responsible for the revitalisation project should be held criminally liable; if so, of DoJ's advice and the follow-up actions taken by the authorities; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether the Government and HKJC have studied the penalties which should be imposed on the AP or contractor(s) who should be held responsible for the wall collapse incident, including the cessation of engaging them to undertake the revitalisation project or suspension of their qualifications for tendering for public works contracts;

(4) whether the AP and contractor(s) responsible for the revitalisation project are currently participating in other infrastructural projects or projects of conservation or revitalisation of historic buildings undertaken by the Government; if so, of the details of such projects, including the projects' names, nature and contract values; and

(5) of the latest progress of the revitalisation project, including the expected time when the revitalised buildings can be open to the public; whether HKJC will carry out restoration works on the collapsed wall; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:
 
President,
 
My reply to the various parts of the Hon Tanya Chan's question is as follows:
 
(1) and (2) After the partial collapse of the Married Inspectors' Quarters Building at the Central Police Station Compound, the Buildings Departments (BD) has promptly initiated an investigation. The ambit of the investigation covers the causes of the incident and the associated legal liabilities under the Buildings Ordinance. The investigation report is still being drafted. The BD is seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice. It will consider the relevant advice before deciding on the corresponding follow-up actions, and will give an account on the matter to the public at an appropriate juncture.
 
(3) The contractor concerned is on the lists of approved contractors for public works compiled by the Development Bureau (DEVB). The DEVB will closely monitor the findings of investigation by the BD and consider whether the contractor concerned has contravened any rules in connection with regulatory actions according to the Contractor Management Handbook.
 
The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) will consider further actions with reference to the investigation result of the BD.
 
(4) The consulting firm where the AP for the subject revitalisation project is employed is currently undertaking the following government architectural consultancy:
   

Project nature Project title Consultancy fee ($)
Architectural Consultancy Cross District Community Cultural Centre in Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate, Kwun Tong $75 million

The contractor concerned is currently undertaking the following government infrastructure project:
   
Project nature Project title Contract sum ($)
Infrastructure Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Link – Southern Connection Viaduct Section $8.66 billion

The AP and the contractor concerned are not participating in any other project of conservation or revitalisation of historic buildings undertaken by the Government.
 
(5) As at March 2017, apart from the partially collapsed Block 4 (i.e. the Former Married Inspectors' Quarters), works have resumed on the other 15 historic buildings, the new gallery and auditorium buildings, the Prison Yard, the Parade Ground, and the footbridge. Works on the gallery and auditorium buildings were close to completion. For the historic buildings, in addition to works being carried out on the exterior walls, interior works have also resumed. The project's AP and Registered Structural Engineer (RSE) have been working with the BD to carry out extra tests on building materials to ascertain that the existing building materials remain sound. Safety is the number one priority and the RSE has also looked into opportunities for implementing additional structural enhancement works.
 
The project team, consultants and contractors, with reference to the condition of the building and international practices, have considered a broad range of recovery options for Block 4. Eight options have been put forward as the starting point for further consideration. Representatives of the Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the DEVB, the BD and the Antiquities and Monuments Office have been consulted in the process. The HKJC consulted the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) on the eight options on September 8, 2016 and subsequently briefed the Central and Western District Council at the meeting on October 20, 2016. The HKJC's priority is public safety, and it has not formulated any position with regard to any of these options at this stage. The HKJC is considering engineering input and making reference to the findings of its independent review panel with a view to further developing the recovery options into a detailed recovery plan, which is estimated to take some time to complete. The HKJC will consult the AAB on the recovery plan at an opportune time, and seek the approval of the Antiquities Authority (i.e. the Secretary for Development) before implementation.

Ends/Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:00

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