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LCQ6: Ancillary transport facilities for Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (November 20):

Question:

This year's Wine and Dine Festival (the Festival) was re-sited to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal (the Terminal) as a result of the Occupy Central movement. There are comments that while the event attracted in four days a total of 180 000 visitors, it caused the roads in the vicinity overloaded, and some participants complained that it had taken them more than an hour both in waiting for the free shuttle buses and travelling to the venue by bus.  The fact that the Festival was successfully held at the Terminal demonstrates the potential of the Terminal for holding mega events, but it also highlights the inadequacy of the ancillary transport facilities for the Terminal, which are unable to divert visitor flows. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has conducted a review on the issues relating to the ancillary transport facilities for the Terminal as reflected by the Festival (including the bottleneck problem arising from having only one single link road to Kowloon Bay) and formulated corresponding measures; if it has, of the review outcome; if not, whether it will conduct such a review immediately;

(2) given that the Environmentally Friendly Linkage System for East Kowloon (EFLS) is anticipated to be commissioned in 2023 the earliest, whether the Government will re-assess the feasibility of the following proposals: advancing the completion of the construction of the transportation link between Kwun Tong and the Terminal which is included in EFLS, or first building a simpler temporary floating bridge for pedestrians, so as to divert visitor flows to and from the Terminal when a mega event is held there; and

(3) given various infrastructure projects such as railway projects, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point have experienced, one after another, significant cost overruns, of the latest cost estimates for EFLS mentioned in (2); as the feasibility study for EFLS is expected to commence in 2015 and it is yet to find out if EFLS can be implemented, whether the authorities will consider conducting a feasibility study on constructing the transportation link between Kwun Tong and the Terminal as an independent project, so as to advance the construction of the transportation link?

Reply:

President,

The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is one of the major projects of the Kai Tak Development (KTD). Covering an area of over 320 hectares, KTD is one of the largest as well as a complex development project in the urban area. It will transform the ex-airport site for the future development of Hong Kong and provide an impetus for the renewal of the adjoining old districts. Indeed, KTD also forms part of the Energizing Kowloon East initiative and will transform the industrial areas at Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong, together with KTD, into another Core Business District (CBD) of Hong Kong.

The KTD project is being implemented under three stages. Under the completed stage one works, the terminal building and its first berth commenced operation in June 2013.  The Terminal Park was also opened to the public in October 2013.  The smooth playing out of the Wine and Dine Festival at the KTD in early November 2014 highlights the potential of KTD as the venue for hosting mega events.

We have completed the detailed planning of the transport infrastructure for the KTD area.  The road projects and associated infrastructures will be implemented to cope with the demand and will dovetail with the completion of the development projects within the area.  For instance, we plan to commence construction of a dual two-lane carriageway next year for replacing the existing single two-lane carriageway linking Cheung Yip Street in Kowloon Bay with the Terminal, to serve the development projects to be rolled out at the southern part of the former runway.

In the long run, as commercial buildings, various facilities and attractions in KTD and the business areas of Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay come on line, there will be a gradual increase in the traffic demand of Kowloon East. However, the existing road space in the area is limited and cannot cope with such substantial growth in traffic demand or provide the required level of service for a CBD.  Also, Kwun Tong area is crowded with buildings which impose significant constraints on widening of existing roads.  Therefore, we need to introduce an Environmentally Friendly Linkage System (EFLS), together with improved pedestrian facilities and on-grade green transport modes, in order to provide a convenient, safe and reliable linkage system for the CBD of Kowloon East.

The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is planning a detailed feasibility study (DFS) on the proposed EFLS for Kowloon East. Subject to funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, the DFS will commence in early 2015. Its scope will cover the formulation of an integrated multi-modal linkage system and identification of the most suitable and cost-effective integrated transport system for Kowloon East.

My reply to the question of the Hon Paul Tse is as follows:

(1) According to the Transport Department, at present the public can travel to the Terminal by means of green minibus and taxi, as well as special KMB bus routes on weekends and public holidays.  The Terminal also provides fee-charging parking spaces for private cars. The Transport Department will coordinate with the public transport operators, such as during special events, to increase the service frequencies and extend the service hours as and where necessary.

The Wine and Dine Festival organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) was held at the open space outside the Terminal, where various public functions have been held by different organisations previously.  The Festival attracted about 180 000 visitors in total.  To cope with the high patronage, the HKTB put in place a number of special traffic arrangements, including providing free shuttle bus service for taking the public to and from the venue. The HKTB also liaised with the Police and the Transport Department to divert the traffic around the Terminal during the Festival.

In future, relevant departments will draw on past experience in enhancing the traffic arrangements for mega events.  As noted in the written reply of the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development to the Legislative Council on November 12, the operator of the Terminal is planning to deploy a pontoon connecting with the apron of the Terminal for providing special ferry service on days of ship calls or mega events, offering marine transport for cruise passengers and event participants.  Relevant departments have conducted site inspections and observed trial mooring with the terminal operator and the ferry company, with a view to launching a trial ferry service for events at the Terminal shortly.

Moreover, the capacity of the road network serving the Terminal will be substantially increased when a dual two-lane carriageway linking Kowloon Bay and the Terminal and other roads within the area are completed.

(2) The CEDD is preparing to commence a detailed feasibility study on the proposed EFLS for Kowloon East, in which the transport mode to be adopted for the transport link between Kwun Tong and the ex-runway tip will need to be further studied. Moreover, being part of the long-term transport infrastructure for Kowloon East, the transport link will take time to plan and construct, and will not help resolve the current pedestrian flow problem generated by mega events held at the Terminal or its nearby areas.

For the floating pedestrian bridge proposed by the Hon Paul Tse, despite its temporary nature, its construction is still subject to the provisions of the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance as the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter (KTTS) lies within Victoria Harbour. Moreover, a number of other factors, including the floating pedestrian bridge's safety, its impact on the operation of the KTTS, its operation under adverse weather conditions, and environmental impact assessment, will require careful consideration. The construction of the temporary floating pedestrian bridge is therefore by no means a simple works project.

(3) Apart from studying and comparing the various options of green transport modes with a view to identifying the most suitable EFLS for Kowloon East, we will also undertake a detailed assessment on the capital cost, financial performance and economic benefits of the EFLS under the proposed DFS. A detailed project cost estimate for the EFLS can only be assessed as and when the transport mode of the EFLS is determined.

The proposed transport link is not only a long-term arrangement for linking Kwun Tong with the ex-runway tip but also a core part of the EFLS.  Its functions and feasibility need to be studied in detail and considered together with the EFLS as a whole.  Therefore, we do not consider it appropriate to conduct a separate study for the transport link.  Given that the transport link is a long-term arrangement, we will explore ways for enhancing the connectivity between Kwun Tong and the KTD in the short and medium terms for coping with the development needs within the area.

Ends/Thursday, November 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:24

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