Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (April 20):
The Energizing Kowloon East initiatives launched by the Government include "Action Area 2 - Kwun Tong Ferry Pier Waterfront Development" ("Action Area 2") to complement the tourism node to be developed at the former Kai Tak runway. On the other hand, the kaito ferry service plying between the Kwun Tong Public Pier and the Kai Tak Runway Park Pier (near the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal) made its first journey on the 9th of this month. Upon making a visit to that area on that day, I have found that the problems relating to transport connectivity of that area and water quality of the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter are yet to be solved. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has assessed if the water quality of the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter is suitable for water-friendly activities (e.g. dragon boat races, etc.) to be held there; of the improvement plans that the Government has in place to deal with the poor water quality;
(2) given that the Environmental Impact Assessment Report of the Kai Tak Development approved in 2009 has made recommendations including the following: an artificial opening of 600 metre wide be made at the north of the former runway near Kowloon City, and that it is learnt that this measure will help direct the rainwaters from the Kai Tak Nullah and the treated sewage from the Shatin Sewage Treatment Works to flow towards To Kwa Wan, as well as change the water flow at the Kai Tak Approach Channel from a west-to-east to an east-to-west direction, while at the same time taking in seawater coming from Lei Yue Mun, thereby improving the water quality of the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter, whether the authorities will implement this recommendation;
(3) given that some Kwun Tong residents have relayed to me that it is very inconvenient for them and the guests of the hotels in that district to travel between the MTR Station and Action Area 2, and that the kaito ferry service connecting the end of the Kai Tak runway with the Kwun Tong waterfront and Action Area 2 is available only on weekends and public holidays, whether the Government will expeditiously implement the construction of the Environmentally Friendly Linkage System for Kowloon East (which includes a monorail system together with the pedestrian linkage bridge), or construct a temporary floating pedestrian bridge, and extend the kaito ferry service to weekdays, so as to enhance the pedestrian linkage system in that area, thereby facilitating the holding of cultural and recreational activities in Action Area 2 in future, as well as making it more convenient for members of the public to commute to and from that area; and
(4) as some members of the public have relayed to me that there are quite a number of homeless people staying in the vicinity of the Kwun Tong Public Pier, of the measures the Government has in place to assist those homeless people in finding accommodation elsewhere, so as to avoid their obstructing members of the public and tourists in using the kaito ferry service?
As Kai Tak Approach Channel (KTAC)/Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter (KTTS) is embayed by the former airport runway and the breakwaters of KTTS, its water circulation and flushing capacity are poor. To address the problems of poor water quality and odour nuisance, the Government has gradually implemented the proposed mitigation measures in the Approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the Kai Tak Development over the past few years. To date, both the water quality and odour issue of these water bodies have improved significantly. Furthermore, the disused pier adjacent to the ex-fire station at the former runway (the Runway Park Pier) has been refurbished and reopened to the public in order to improve the connectivity of and bring vibrancy to the waterfronts in the East Kowloon and to contribute to the policy of water-friendly culture announced in the 2015 Policy Address. My reply to the Councillor's question is as follows:
(1) As mentioned above, the Government has gradually implemented the proposed mitigation measures in the EIA report, including interception of polluted discharges from the hinterland into the KTAC and KTTS as well as localised dredging and bioremediation treatment works at the seabed of these water bodies. The water monitoring survey of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) in 2015 indicated that the current water quality of KTTS has generally met the water quality requirement for secondary contact water recreational use (such as rowing and dragon boat events). To further improve the water quality of KTTS and KTAC, the relevant departments will continue to review the situation with a view to rectifying the existing pollution sources, and the stormwater drainage and sewerage facilities in the Kai Tak Development and its vicinity.
(2) As regards the proposed mitigation measures in the EIA Report, the Environmental Protection Department and Drainage Services Department have substantially completed the works for intercepting polluted discharges from the hinterland into KTAC and KTTS in 2013 and mid-2014 respectively. The CEDD has also carried out localised dredging and bioremediation treatment works in the seabed of these water bodies. The relevant monitoring data reflects that the odour issue and water quality of these water bodies have improved significantly. In light of the above developments, we have conducted a comprehensive review of the last outstanding mitigation measure (i.e. a 600 metre opening underneath the Metro Park at the northern section of the former runway).
The review concluded that an Interception and Pumping (IP) Scheme could substitute the original option of the 600 metre opening and achieve similar effect in terms of improving water quality and odour. The new plan can effectively reduce the polluted flow entering into the above water body and improve its water circulation, which can in turn alleviate the odour problem. The general arrangement of the scheme is as follows:
(i) Constructing a new pumping station near the outlet of Kai Tak Nullah (KTN) to intercept part of the flow from KTN for direct discharge into the Victoria Harbour, thereby reducing the volume of flows and pollutants discharging into the KTAC and KTTS; and
(ii) Modifying the existing seawater intake location of the seawater pumphouse of the Kai Tak District Cooling System from the Victoria Harbour to the KTAC to enhance the water flow circulation at KTAC and, hence, improve its water quality.
We have consulted and received general support for the new scheme from the Kwun Tong, Kowloon City and Wong Tai Sin District Councils, and the Task Force on Kai Tak Harbourfront Development in the third quarter of 2015. Design work for the new scheme is currently underway.
(3) To facilitate the transformation of Kowloon East, the Energizing Kowloon East Office (EKEO) has been advocating the concept on "walkability" in the planning and provision of a convenient and comfortable pedestrian network. To enhance the connectivity between MTR Kwun Tong Station and Kwun Tong waterfront including the Kwun Tong Action Area (i.e. Action Area 2), the EKEO has commenced the Pedestrian Environment Improvement Scheme for Transformation of Kwun Tong Business Area Feasibility Study since May 2014 to formulate improvement measures for the short, medium and long term. The options under study include the provision of a footbridge to link up the MTR Kwun Tong Station and the Kwun Tong Action Area, widening the pavement along the Hoi Yuen Road, and improving the pedestrian crossings. Measures which can be implemented in the short term have been gradually implemented while those for the medium and long term are still subject to conclusion of the above study. The whole study is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
As for the public marine transport service, there is a kaito ferry service plying between Kwun Tong Public Pier and Runway Park Pier on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The Transport Department will consider proposals, if any, from other operators for operating ferry services connecting to the Runway Park Pier.
For ancillary transport facilities in the long term, the Government has commenced a detailed feasibility study for the Environmentally Friendly Linkage System (EFLS) for Kowloon East in October 2015, which is scheduled for completion in about two years. The study scope covers reviewing and identifying the suitable option for the EFLS, impact of the proposed Kwun Tong Transportation Link on the use of the water body at the KTTS, and the feasibility of a temporary floating pedestrian bridge, etc. We will conduct consultation on the recommendation of the study in due course.
(4) The Government all along concerns the street sleeping issue. The relevant Government bureaux and departments (including Social Welfare Department (SWD) and Home Affairs Department) have been in close liaison and collaboration to provide support to street sleepers together with local welfare organisations. Three SWD-subvented non-governmental organisations, each operates a service team, are providing various support services to street sleepers through a package of integrated services to help them quit street sleeping. According to the information available to the relevant government departments about the actual street condition, the street sleepers have not caused severe hygiene or law and order problems in the vicinity of the Kwun Tong Public Pier. It is believed that they would not pose any difficulties for the public and tourists to use the kaito ferry service.
Ends/Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:00