LCQ10: Public fill reception facilities
Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (April 25) :
Last year, the Government awarded a works contract worth $768 million to commission a contractor to operate the public fill reception facilities (including two fill banks) in Hong Kong and deliver public fill to the designated reception points on the Mainland. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
(a) as presently, the fill banks concerned are almost filled up, of the reasons for the authorities contracting out the operation of the public fill reception facilities to the contractor;
(b) of the respective costs per tonne for the disposal of public fill in Hong Kong and on the Mainland, the costs for operating the public fill reception facilities in Hong Kong, the costs for the construction of infrastructural facilities at the fill reception sites on the Mainland, the staff payroll and administrative costs involved in operating these facilities and the costs of other related works;
(c) as the public fill delivered to the Mainland has economic value, of the reasons for the authorities not charging fees from the mainland authorities and instead paying fees to the latter through contract payment to the contractor;
(d) of the works which the mainland authorities need to undertake for receiving public fill from Hong Kong and the costs involved; and
(e) of the benefits to be brought to Hong Kong by delivering public fill to the Mainland?
(a) At present, there are two public fill banks in Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O respectively. The fill banks have been managed by government-employed contractors for stockpiling public fill materials for use in local reclamation projects. Due to the decrease in the number of local reclamation projects in recent years, a large amount of public fill has been stockpiled in the fill banks. As the fill banks will be filled up in a few years' time, the government has entered into an agreement with the Mainland authorities for delivering surplus public fill to the Mainland for reclamation purposes. To facilitate the implementation of this initiative, the Government awarded a contract last year. Apart from operating all the local public fill reception facilities (including the two fill banks mentioned above), managing the public fill in the fill banks and providing suitable materials for use in local projects, the contractor is also required to deliver surplus public fill to designated reception site in the Mainland.
(b) The value of contract mentioned in (a) above is $768 million. The operation of the public fill reception facilities is for two years and about 17 million tonnes of public fill will be handled. As for the delivery of public fill to the designated reception site in Taishan, the service period is one year and the estimated quantity is ten million tonnes. The contract cost includes all costs payable to the contractor for the operation of the public fill reception facilities and the cross-boundary delivery of public fill.
(c) The public fill generated in Hong Kong has all along been used for reclamation purposes. While we have made our best endeavour to use the public fill locally, the supply of public fill has been exceeding demand as a result of the declining number of reclamation projects in recent years. If the situation persists, not only will the two fill banks be filled up, the surplus public fill will inevitably have to be delivered to landfills for disposal, thus shortening the remaining lifespan of landfills substantially. The delivery of public fill to the Mainland for reclamation is a win-win solution that is in line with the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development.
(d) It is understood that environmental monitoring and assessment will be carried out by the Mainland authorities for receiving public fill materials delivered from Hong Kong. We do not have information on other preparatory work which the Mainland authorities need to undertake for receiving public fill from Hong Kong and the costs involved.
(e) The delivery of our public fill to the Mainland for reclamation can put our surplus public fill to better use, thereby lessening our burden of handling surplus fill. Moreover, it will help clearing up the fill stockpiled at Tseung Kwan O and Tuen Mun fill banks and vacating the land concerned for other development purposes.
Ends/Wednesday, April 25, 2007