Following is a question by the Hon Holden Chow and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (December 16):
The Government is taking forward a number of public housing development projects in Tung Chung, so as to provide some 20 700 residential flats for accommodating 63 800 people. It is expected that such projects will be completed for intake one after another between 2024 and 2028. Besides, the Government is taking forward the Tung Chung New Town Extension project. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) as it is expected that Tung Chung East Station and Tung Chung West Station of the MTR Tung Chung Line (TCL) Extension will not be completed until 2029 at the earliest, whether the Government will implement short-term traffic improvement measures, such as enhancing bus services, improving road networks and providing additional car parking spaces; whether it will expedite the implementation of the TCL Extension project;
(2) given that the MTR Corporation Limited is carrying out signalling system upgrading works for the TCL so as to increase the train frequency and carrying capacity, whether the Government knows the latest progress of such works;
(3) of the latest progress of the construction works for Lantau Road P1, and the respective expected dates of completion and commissioning;
(4) given that the feasibility study on Route 11 commenced by the Highways Department in 2018 includes exploration of the need to plan for the Tsing Yi-Lantau Link, of the progress of the exploration of the said Link;
(5) whether it has, in view of the population growth in Tung Chung, formulated plans to enhance the (i) community services, (ii) education services and (iii) other public services in the district;
(6) whether it will enhance the environmental mitigation measures for the Tung Chung New Town Extension project, such as regularly monitoring the air pollution, noise and other environmental problems that may be caused by the related works, so as to reduce the impacts of such works on nearby residents; and
(7) whether the Government will, when implementing the housing construction project at Tung Chung Area 23 Phase 1, reprovision the community service units in the Tung Chung Community Services Complex located at that site?
The Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) is one of the major development projects being taken forward by the Government to increase the land supply over the next ten years. It covers areas on the eastern and western flanks of the existing Tung Chung New Town. The 130-hactare reclamation works at Tung Chung East (TCE) has been progressing well since its commencement in December 2017, and the first batch of reclaimed land (Area 99 and 100) was handed over to the Hong Kong Housing Authority in March this year for public housing development. It is expected that about 10 000 public housing units will be made available in 2024. After conducting the technical assessment and revision of the public housing design, we will increase the development intensity of the overall expansion plan. The number of residential units will be increased from 49 400 to 62 100 to accommodate about 184 000 new population. The newly added 12 700 units will all be public housing, and the public to private housing ratio will be adjusted to 72:28 accordingly.
Having consulted the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) and other relevant departments, my consolidated reply to various parts of the question is as follows:
(1) The THB stated that the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) commenced the detailed planning and design of the Tung Chung Line (TCL) Extension. Construction of the TCL Extension project is expected to commence in 2023, with the two new stations scheduled for completion in 2029. During the detailed planning and design stage, the THB and the Highways Department will examine the construction programme, construction and operating costs, and implementation timetable, including exploring the feasibility of expediting the progress.
The commuting need of the first batches of residents to the TCNTE will be taken care of by the road networks (i.e. Roads L3 and L4) in the vicinity of Area 99 and 100, being the first batch of public housing development for completion, scheduled for completion in 2024, as well as Road P1 (Tung Chung to Tai Ho Section) and the Tai Ho Interchange with both being scheduled for completion in 2026. We will seek funding approval with a view to commencing shortly the engineering study of Road P1 (Tai Ho to Sunny Bay Section) and completing its construction by 2030. In addition, there will be a total of five public transport interchanges (PTIs) in the TCNTE. Amongst them, three PTIs/bus termini will be provided in TCE, which are located at the Metro Core (Area 113) adjacent to the proposed TCE Station, and in the public housing developments in Area 99 and Area 133 respectively. As for Tung Chung West (TCW), there will be two PTIs, which are located adjacent to the proposed TCW Station and Shek Mun Kap Road respectively. In view of the future development in the district, the THB and its departments responsible for the transport infrastructure will conduct regular review, and introduce suitable mitigation measures (e.g. widening of road junctions) timely to tie in with the population intake timetable.
In view of the population growth in the new town expansion in future, the Transport Department (TD) will continue to closely monitor the change in passengers' demand and work with the bus companies to review the franchised bus services in the district in a timely manner. Besides, the TD will consider adjusting and optimising the existing franchised bus services by examining the proposals submitted by the companies under the annual Bus Route Planning Programme, in order to further enhance the public transport network of Tung Chung and facilitate residents to travel within the Tung Chung district as well as to various districts of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories from the New Town Extension Area.
Regarding the provision of car parking spaces, the THB stated that the current policy is to accord priority to considering and meeting the parking demand of commercial vehicles, and to provide an appropriate number of private car parking spaces if the overall development permits, but at the same time not to encourage frequent users of public transport to opt for private cars in lieu of public transport so as to avoid aggravating the road traffic. In the light of the parking demand in Tung Chung and following the principle of "single site, multiple uses", the Government is planning to provide about 50 public parking spaces in the Joint-user Complex in Area 107, Tung Chung and about 80 public parking spaces in the public vehicle park at public housing development in Area 99, Tung Chung respectively.
(2) The THB stated that the MTRCL is upgrading the signalling systems of seven urban railway lines (Note 1) by phases. Relevant works include installation of the infrastructure equipment and hardware (e.g. computer equipment, uninterrupted power supply, overhead lines and optical fibers, etc.). They also include furnishing trainsets with new equipment to tie in with the operation of the new signalling system. Among the seven lines, the signalling system upgrade of Tung Chung Line is still under planning. To tie in with the TCL Extension project, related replacement works of the signalling system would be carried out after completion of the project.
(3) Road P1, of about 12 kilometres long in total, is divided into two sections including the one of about 2.5km from Tung Chung to Tai Ho and the other of about 9.5km from Tai Ho to Sunny Bay. We are now seeking the Public Works Subcommittee's support on the funding application for taking forward the construction of the Tung Chung to Tai Ho Section and conducting the engineering study of Tai Ho to Sunny Bay Section. If the funding is eventually approved by the Finance Committee, we target to complete the works for the Tung Chung to Tai Ho Section in 2026, and will strive to complete the construction of the remaining Tai Ho to Sunny Bay Section in 2030.
(4) The Highways Department commissioned the Feasibility Study on Route 11 (Section between Yuen Long and North Lantau) in May 2018, covering a review on route alignment, assessments of the impact on the environment, traffic and other related aspects, assurance of technical feasibility, and formulation of the preliminary implementation strategy and programme, etc. At the same time, the opportunity is taken to ascertain whether there is a need of planning Tsing Yi – Lantau Link and associated traffic proposals. The feasibility study is in its final stage; the Highways Department will in due course consult the Legislative Council, the relevant District Councils and stakeholders on the study findings, including the planning of Tsing Yi – Lantau Link.
(5) In response to the aforementioned additional 12 700 residential units together with the population increase, the Development Bureau and the Planning Department have recently re-examined the planning of relevant community facilities with relevant policy bureaux and departments, including social welfare, education, medical care, public markets and recreational facilities, etc., to ensure adequate land reserved for the respective facilities to meet the needs of the existing and new population. We have made reference to the standards stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and the requirements of relevant departments during the process.
In terms of social welfare facilities, a multi-pronged approach, such as reserving space in public housing developments (Note 2), requesting private developers to provide premises upon land disposal of residential and commercial sites, and developing welfare complex by the government etc., will be adopted to provide adequate spaces for different types of social welfare facilities including elderly, family and child welfare, youth and rehabilitation services.
As for educational facilities, the Education Bureau (EDB) has all along been closely monitoring the supply and demand situation of the public sector primary and secondary school places in the Islands District (including Tung Chung). The EDB would review the need to commence school building projects from time to time having taking into consideration the projected school-age population, the actual enrolment situation of existing schools, and education policies. Sites have been reserved in Tung Chung New Town and its extension for different types of educational use. The EDB has initiated the preparatory works for constructing an aided primary school and an aided secondary school in Area 89. The primary and secondary schools are planned for commencement in 2026 and 2027 respectively. The EDB will continue to review the school building programmes in Tung Chung in view of enrolment situation of existing schools and education policies to ensure there are adequate school places to meet the demand.
In terms of medical care, we have reserved a piece of land adjacent to the North Lantau Hospital (NLH) for the second phase hospital development. The construction of the Hospital Authority support services centre under stage 1 of phase 2 is currently underway. Under stage 2 of phase 2, preliminary planning reveals that the land is able to provide about 300 additional hospital beds, which will be taken forward under the Second Ten-year Hospital Development Plan. In addition, to meet the long-term demand for primary care services in the district, the Hospital Authority has reserved space in the second phase development of the NLH for development/expansion of community health centre.
In respect of public market, as stated in the Chief Executive's 2018 Policy Address, the Government will construct a new public market at the lower floors of the proposed commercial development at Tung Chung Area 6 adjacent to the Tung Chung MTR Station. On the other hand, a site suitable for construction of public market has been identified in Area 133A to provide the public with more choices for fresh foods.
To enable relevant departments to implement the relevant facilities timely to tie with the population intake programme of the TCNTE, the Sustainable Lantau Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department has set up an inter-departmental working group chaired by the Head of the Office. Regular meetings with relevant bureaux/departments are held to ensure that they are kept up-to-date with the progress of the development projects, so that the relevant facilities could be implemented as scheduled.
(6) The Director of Environmental Protection approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the TCNTE in 2016 and issued the environmental permit. According to the EIA report, the project will not have adverse impacts on the environment upon implementing the recommended mitigation measures. We will implement the mitigation measures and environmental monitoring and audit programme recommended in the approved EIA report and comply with the relevant conditions under the environmental permit. Key mitigation measures include construction of noise barriers and use of low noise road surfacing for roadworks. In addition, during the construction stage, we will request the contractors to regularly spray water and provide wheel washing facilities on sites to reduce the impact on the surrounding residents by dust; use quality powered mechanical equipment and protective noise barriers to control the noise generated during the progress of works; and transport waste by trucks with cover or enclosed containers.
(7) The existing welfare organisations in Area 23, Tung Chung will move into a temporary site in Tung Chung Area 52 (adjacent to the Tung Chung New Development Pier) and the non-domestic premises at G/F of Ching Yat House, Yat Tung Estate respectively to continue providing their services. We will complete the relevant relocation work before commencing the phase 1 site formation works in Tung Chung Area 23.
Note 1: Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, Kwun Tong Line, Tseung Kwan O Line, Tung Chung Line, Disneyland Resort Line and the Airport Express.
Note 2: As announced in this year's Policy Address, about 5 per cent of gross floor area in future public housing projects will be set aside for provision of social welfare facilities.
Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Issued at HKT 17:15