Pressing ahead with the implementation of various projects of New Development Areas (NDAs) in the New Territories is an integral part of the Government’s land supply strategy in the medium to long term. These NDAs will also be the major source of housing supply. Recently, the Chief Executive unveiled the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy (the Development Strategy) in her Policy Address. The Northern Metropolis encompasses maturely developed new towns including Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, Fanling/Sheung Shui and their neighbouring rural areas, as well as six NDAs and Development Nodes in different planning and development stages, namely Kwu Tung North/Fanling North (KTN/FLN), Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen, Yuen Long South, San Tin/Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To and the New Territories North New Town.
Among the NDA projects, the KTN/FLN NDA is the first one entering the implementation stage. Not long ago, colleagues of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and I paid a visit to the site to check out the works progress and learn more about the latest situation in the NDA.
Providing more than 70 000 housing units
The entire project of KTN/FLN NDA is being implemented in two phases, i.e. phase one and the remaining phase. Upon full development, it will provide a total of about 71 800 housing units, of which nearly 70 percent will be public housing. Apart from its capacity to accommodate an additional population of about 188 100, the NDA will also provide a floor area of about 868 000m2 for economic activities as well as proposed community purposes, and create about 40 100 job opportunities.
First phase of development
At present, the CEDD is conducting the site formation and infrastructure works for the first phase of the development, which include mainly the site formation of about 70 hectares (ha) of land, construction of the some 4-kilometre (km) long Fanling Bypass (Eastern Section) and about 10 km of local roads, footpaths and cycle tracks, as well as other infrastructure works such as drainage, sewerage, waterworks, slope works and landscaping works. The Chief Engineer of the North Development Office of the CEDD, Mr CHO Wai-hung, Mike, shares with us that with the funding approval given in mid-2019, the related works commenced in September the same year. It is expected that the sites will be ready for handover to the Housing Department (HD) or the Hong Kong Housing Society (HS) for public housing development from next year onwards. The expected completion date of the entire project is 2026.
The land for housing in the first phase of the development can provide a total of about 21 000 housing units, of which about 18 000 are public housing units, accommodating an additional population of about 53 000. Population intake for the first batches of private and public housing units is expected to start in 2023 and 2026 respectively.
Public housing development at Kwu Tung North Area 19
On the day of our visit, our first destination was the public housing development site at Kwu Tung North Area 19, where the works were at full steam. The site will provide about 9 000 public housing units, which can accommodate about 23 000 people.
According to Mr Mike CHO, the site formation at the area involves demolition of structures, yard waste removal, land-filling, etc. The department will also carry out infrastructure works there to meet the needs in the NDA. For example, contractors are building a trunk road called Road P1, which is a dual two-lane carriageway, and installing underground fresh water mains and building a stormwater drainage system in the area. Currently, the site formation works are making good progress and are expected to be completed on schedule in mid-2022. Upon completion of works, the site will be immediately handed over to the HD for housing development. The first population intake is scheduled for 2026. In fact, during the visit, we noticed that the HD’s drilling rig was already ready at the site to do ground investigation while the CEDD’s site formation works were underway.
Apart from residential development, the formed land will also be allocated for community and other development uses. For example, next to the public housing site in Area 19 will be a public market, a Multi-welfare Services Complex of the Social Welfare Department, schools, a sports centre, a library, a community centre, public transport interchanges and the future Kwu Tung Station on the Northern Link.
“Levelling a hill” for building two service reservoirs
On the day of our visit, we also inspected the CEDD’s large-scale “hill-levelling” works on Tai Shek Mo Mountain. Engineer of the North Development Office of the CEDD, Miss CHAN Hiu-tung, Winnie, says that since mid-2020, the department has been carrying out land clearance and site formation works on Tai Shek Mo Mountain, gradually “levelling the hill” for constructing two service reservoirs to provide fresh water and flushing water for the future KTN NDA.
She adds that excavation works for the foundation of the fresh water service reservoir are currently underway and expected to complete at the end of the fourth quarter this year, after which construction works for the structure will commence. The fresh water service reservoir after completion will have a capacity of 27 500 cubic metres, roughly equivalent to 11 standard swimming pools. As for the flushing water service reservoir, site formation works were completed at the end of 2020, and structural works are near completion. The reservoir after completion will have a capacity of 11 500 cubic metres, i.e. about four to five standard swimming pools. To minimise dust during construction of the two service reservoirs, apart from regularly sprinkling water over works sites, the CEDD will cover the slopes with soil erosion control mats, plant vegetation, etc. as soon as possible after installation of soil nails, preventing rainwater from washing away the soil on the slopes.
Public housing site in Fanling North Area 15 East
Afterwards, we paid a visit to the first public housing site in the FLN NDA. Situated in the east of Area 15, the site will provide 6 100 public housing units, accommodating a population of about 15 000.
Mr Mike CHO says that from the third quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, the Lands Department gradually handed over resumed land to the CEDD for site formation and infrastructure works. The works are making satisfactory progress, with the first phase of site formation expected to complete in the second quarter of 2022, a quarter ahead of schedule, for the Housing Department’s construction of public housing units. The first population intake is scheduled for 2026. To meet the traffic needs of the NDA, the CEDD is constructing the Fanling Bypass (Eastern Section), a dual two-lane carriageway of about 4 km long, connecting the FLN NDA to Fanling Highway. The project team is now carrying out foundation works for the bridge. The bypass is expected to complete by 2026.
Moving ahead at full speed to increase land supply
At present, the CEDD is working on the detailed design for the remaining phase of the KTN/FLN NDA development, with an aim of completing the site formation and infrastructure works in 2031. We will explore various feasible measures to expedite project delivery, for example, shortening the time required for technical studies as far as possible, speeding up statutory procedures and carrying out different procedures concurrently as much as circumstances permit. The current-term Government is determined to increase land supply. The CEDD will continue with its effort to co-ordinate design work for as well as carry out land formation and infrastructure works in the NDA, moving ahead at full speed for increasing land supply to meet the pressing needs of the public.
31 October, 2021Back