Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (November 13):
In July 2013, the Government published the Stage Three Public Engagement Report on North East New Territories New Development Areas Planning and Engineering Study, which proposed that the Recommended Outline Development Plans of the Kwu Tung North and Fanling North New Development Areas (NDAs) be revised. These NDAs, synergising with the existing developments and supported by railway and new road network, can be developed as an extension of Fanling and Sheung Shui New Town with residential-cum-commercial developments and adequate facilities. In the planning of NDAs, sufficient land has already been reserved for the timely provision of transport, health and community facilities, schools, and employment and recreational uses. Apart from serving the future population in NDAs, such facilities will also benefit residents in the neighbouring developed areas. The Government will also increase the development intensity of NDAs to provide additional 13 400 residential flats, and the population of the areas will increase by 40 900. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it has assessed the impacts of the population increase arising from NDAs on the internal and external road traffic of the North District, the carrying capacity of the MTR East Rail Line and the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, the flood prevention capacity of the drainage system in the surrounding rural areas, and the demand for community and other livelihood facilities; if it has, of the assessment outcome;
(b) given that some residents in Luen Wo Hui and Shek Wu Hui have indicated that, due to the ageing of the community facilities in the areas, such facilities might not be able to help meet the new demands arising from NDAs, whether the Government has plans to restore or add community facilities in the North District; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) how the Government will ensure that the future transport, health and community facilities, etc., in NDAs will, apart from serving the local population, also benefit the residents in the neighbouring developed areas?
The objective for implementation of the New Development Areas (NDAs) is to cater for the long-term housing demand of Hong Kong residents and the social and economic development. In July this year, we announced the North East New Territories (NENT) NDAs Project (NDAs Project), which has included the results of the Stage Three Public Engagement of the NENT NDAs Planning and Engineering Study (the Study), the revised Recommended Outline Development Plans (RODPs) for the Kwu Tung North (KTN) and Fanling North (FLN) NDAs, as well as the relevant arrangements for implementing the NDAs Project, including the mode of implementation and the compensation and rehousing arrangements for the affected households and farmers. Relevant details concerning the NDAs Project have already been set out in the paper submitted to the Legislative Council Panel on Development on July 15 this year (LC Paper No. CB(1)1461/12-13(01)).
Under the NDAs Project, we will proceed with development of the KTN and FLN NDAs, as extension to Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town, with a view to addressing the housing (particularly subsidised housing) and other development needs of Hong Kong. Upon completion of the NDAs, the overall population of the Fanling/Sheung Shui/Kwu Tung New Town will reach around 460 000 (with an additional population of 174 900 in the KTN and FLN new town extension areas). As the overall development is of a relatively large scale, the areas concerned will be capable of providing comprehensive commercial, retail, community, recreational and cultural facilities, as well as various types of job opportunities, thus realising a more effective sharing of resources.
My reply to various parts of the question is as follows:
(a) The Consultants have conducted various technical assessments on the revised RODPs for the KTN and FLN NDAs. According to the assessment results, upon completion of the proposed new highways and improvement to the existing road network, together with the proposed drainage works, the NDAs Project will not cause unacceptable impacts upon the internal and external road networks of the North District, the East Rail Line and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, and the flood prevention capacity of the surrounding rural areas.
Concerning the road networks, the proposed road works cover mainly the following two aspects:
(i) On external traffic connection, the section of Fanling Highway near Kwu Tung between Pak Shek Au Interchange and Po Shek Wu Interchange will be widened from a dual 3-lane carriageway to a dual 4-lane carriageway. A Fanling Bypass will also be constructed to connect the FLN NDA with the Fanling Highway (Tai Po Section). In future, drivers could use the Fanling Bypass for travelling to and from different parts of the territory, thus reducing impacts on the vehicular traffic of the Fanling/Sheung Shui areas.
(ii) For internal traffic, improvements will be made to the existing road network connecting the NDAs, which include the Po Shek Wu Interchange, the junction of Sha Tau Kok Road and Fan Leng Lau Road, as well as the junction of Po Shek Wu Road and Po Wan Road. The northbound Jockey Club Road will also be widened to increase the traffic capacity of the road junction.
As regards the East Rail Line and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, a railway station (i.e. Kwu Tung Station) will be built on the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line within the KTN NDA as soon as possible to tie in with the first population intake in 2023, so that residents could travel to and from different parts of the territory by rail in the future. In the meantime, the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) is conducting a consultancy study for the Review and Update of the Railway Development Strategy 2000, with a view to updating the long-term railway development blueprint for Hong Kong to cater for the latest development needs of the society. One of the options is, through the Northern Link, to connect the proposed Kwu Tung Station with the West Rail’s Kam Sheung Road Station. This will help to divert the East Rail’s passenger traffic and to accommodate additional population along the rail line, including the NDAs. THB plans to announce by 2014 the way forward for the railway projects.
For flood prevention capacity, drainage facilities in compliance with the relevant criteria and requirements will be reconstructed in the NDAs. Through appropriate land formation, the rainwater within the NDAs will be discharged to the existing main drainage channels. As for the surrounding rural areas, since the catchment area will reduce in size, the discharge load of the drainage systems will also decrease. Moreover, drainage channels will be built along the boundaries between the NDAs and surrounding rural areas to prevent rainwater from discharging to surrounding rural areas.
Adequate land has been reserved for various government, institution and community facilities in the KTN and FLN NDAs in accordance with the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and requirements of relevant government departments. Regarding healthcare services, land will be reserved in the NDAs for the development of one hospital, one polyclinic and two clinics. Regarding education, a total of 7 secondary school sites and 12 primary school sites will be reserved, with the provision of 20 kindergartens. Regarding recreational facilities, land has been reserved for various facilities including a standard swimming pool complex, sports ground, sports centre, library and recreation centre, etc. Other community facilities such as residential care home for the elderly, elderly centre, integrated family service centre, integrated children and youth services centre, etc. will also be provided. Besides, there will be retail and commercial facilities offering a variety of job opportunities.
(b) Under our planning, the KTN and FLN NDAs, being extensions to the Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town, will be developed into a Fanling/Sheung Shui/Kwu Tung New Town in future for more effective sharing of resources. The associated facilities and services in the NDAs will at the same time serve the existing residents of Fanling/Sheung Shui and the future new residents of the NDAs. As mentioned above, more extensive and sufficient community, recreational and cultural facilities have been planned within the NDAs to serve both the old and new residents in accordance with the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and requirements of government departments. As the NDAs are in close proximity to the Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town, even the existing residents living in Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town could have more choices with the various facilities in the NDAs. As regards the existing community facilities in the Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town, government departments will renovate or enhance their services in accordance with the needs and resource allocation.
(c) The Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town is geographically close to the KTN and FLN NDAs. The design of the NDAs has placed emphasis on the integration of the new and existing developments. New community facilities will be located adjacent to the existing communities, as far as possible, for convenient use by residents of both the new and existing communities. In addition, to tie in with the NDAs Project, the government will provide comprehensive pedestrian and cycle track networks to connect the NDAs, the Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town and the cycle tracks of North East New Territories and North West New Territories under construction, together with connecting roads and footpaths. In future, residents of the NDAs, the Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town and the surrounding villages can travel to different locations of the district and enjoy more convenience use of the community, recreational and commercial facilities within the district via the easily-accessible pedestrian and cycle track networks. The comprehensive networks will facilitate same-district employment as well.
Ends/Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:30