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LCQ11: Extension part of OCMFA

Following is a question by the Hon Tanya Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):

Question:

Given that the Government has allocated a government site on Borrett Road in Mid-levels West to the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (OCMFA) in Hong Kong for its extension works to provide an official residence for the Commissioner and for other purposes. Regarding the details of the project and its impact on the surrounding community, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that the information of the Buildings Department shows that the residential and non-residential gross floor areas of the extension part of OCMFA are 895.5 square metres and 3,084.1 square metres respectively (i.e. the non-residential floor area is about 3.5 times of the residential floor area), of the respective uses and floor areas of the various non-residential facilities; the justifications for OCMFA to substantially extend the floor area for non-residential use;

(b) given that at the extension part of OCMFA, there will be some facilities which are open to the public for carrying out community relations and public education work, of the maximum number of members of the public such facilities can accommodate at any one time; what means of transport and routes members of the public are expected to take to travel to and from OCMFA, of the anticipated increase in traffic flow as well as impact on the nearby road traffic;

(c) of the impact of the extension project on the trees in the neighbourhood (including the number of trees affected, and among them, the number of those required to be removed or transplanted, etc.); whether the Government will take measures to reduce the impact; if it will, of the details; and

(d) given that the extension works will be carried out on the slopes, and that an underground basement with several levels will be constructed, whether the Government has conducted a geotechnical assessment study on the project; if it has, of the results; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

The Government announced in November last year of the grant of a Government site on Borrett Road to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) for use by the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong (OCMFA). The site will be granted as an extension to the existing lot granted to MFA in 1997 (i.e. IL 8893 comprising the office block for OCMFA on Kennedy Road and a staff quarters block on Borrett Road).

My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(a) As explained in different occasions in the past on the use of the lot extension (including the press release issued in November last year, my response to a Member's oral question in January this year, and the meeting of the Panel on Development held in the same month), the development will provide additional space such that OCMFA will be better able to host representational functions and stage their outreach activities and educational programmes within the more convenient and secure OCMFA's compound. This will further enhance the capacity of OCMFA in discharging its functions and responsibilities under the Basic Law. The development will also include a new official residence for the Commissioner of OCMFA. This will replace the Commissioner's quarter currently located on the top floor of the office block and will be more comparable to those of MFA missions of the PRC abroad.

The lot extension measures about 2,100 square metres. The development at the lot extension will be subject to a plot ratio not greater than 2 and a building height not exceeding 130 metres above Principal Datum (mPD). As mentioned in our previously issued document, the development will be conducted in the form of four storeys above basements. The current design of the development is one of four storeys above three basements, and which complies with the above-mentioned development parameter.

(b) As mentioned above, the development, which will be subject to a plot ratio not greater than 2, is of low density. Suitable development restrictions would also be included in the land grant. As such, the development itself should not give rise to significant traffic impact. As regards the future activities to be held within the development, we trust that OCMFA would take into account the scale of these activities and discuss with the authorities as necessary on how to deal with pedestrian and traffic flow issues.

(c) The lease conditions of the existing lot granted to MFA contain a preservation of trees clause, which stipulates that the Grantee shall apply to Lands Department and obtain the prior written consent from the Director of Lands before carrying out removal and transplanting works of any trees growing on the lot and land adjacent thereto. The lot extension is also subject to the same tree preservation requirement. In addition, the lease conditions of the lot extension contain a landscape master plan clause to ensure that the landscaping works in the development will be implemented in a satisfactory manner.

(d) For building proposals that involve slopes, the Buildings Department would, in accordance with the powers vested under the Building (Administration) Regulations (Cap. 123A), require the Authorized Person (AP) of the project to submit a geotechnical assessment of the adequacy of the site for the proposed building works for consideration together with the building plans. The geotechnical assessment is for identifying at an early stage any fundamental geotechnical constraints that could affect the development proposal and to adequately assess the geotechnical feasibility of the development project. Such requirement is applicable to all developments on private land. As regards the development on this lot extension, the Buildings Department has considered the geotechnical assessment submitted by the AP and has approved the building plans.


Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:01

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