Following is a question by the Hon Wilson Or and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (June 16):
A site of approximately 80 hectares in Area 137 of Tseung Kwan O is currently used as a temporary fill bank by way of Temporary Government Land Allocation (TGLA) until December 31 this year. In December 2016, a consultant commissioned by the Government commenced a three-year planning and engineering study on such site, but the study has not yet been completed to date. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the latest progress of the aforesaid study, and whether the consultant has undertaken to submit the study report within this year;
(2) as the Government has indicated that it will apply for an extension of the TGLA arrangement for the aforesaid fill bank, whether the Government will shelve such decision and release the site concerned progressively for other development as originally pledged; and
(3) as the Development Bureau is studying the reprovisioning of the concrete batching plants in the Yau Tong Industrial Area to Area 137, of the progress of the study?
Tseung Kwan O (TKO) Area 137 is located on the southern side of the TKO Industrial Estate with a relatively deep waterfront. Majority of land within TKO Area 137 is zoned "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Deep Waterfront Industry" on the Outline Zoning Plan and was primarily intended for special industries which require marine access, access to deep water berths or water frontage in the earlier years. Since end-2002, it has been used as a temporary fill bank for storing public fill.
TKO Area 137 is an urban site with the potential for large-scale development. To examine the long-term land use of TKO Area 137 after the temporary fill bank ceases operation, the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Planning Department commissioned a consultant to commence a planning and engineering study in December 2016, covering an area of about 80 hectares. The purpose of the study is to examine the development potential and constraints of TKO Area 137, explore the feasibility of developing it for residential, commercial and other purposes in the long term, and conduct related technical assessments.
Upon consulting the Environment Bureau (ENB), our reply to the various parts of the Hon Wilson Or's question is as follows:
(1) Since the commissioning of the study in end-2016, relevant departments and consultant have examined a number of issues in detail, including different development themes and proposals on land use and development intensity, the capacity of transport infrastructure of TKO as a whole and TKO Area 137 and the additional population and development scale that it can accommodate, and additional community facilities and infrastructure required under different proposals. A series of technical assessments have also been conducted, such as the ones on marine, environment, air ventilation, visual and landscape, geotechnical, water supply, drainage and other public utilities. In considering the developments of TKO Area 137, we need to take into account other developments in TKO that are being planned or studied to ensure that there are suitable facilities to support the developments and fulfill community needs.
Upon some studies, we consider that it is suitable to develop TKO Area 137 primarily for housing purpose to establish a new community, which will be supported by commercial and community facilities as well as infrastructure, in the long term. Relevant departments are conducting technical assessments on the preliminary recommended land use proposals, including those on transport and environmental impact. We will strive to complete the study within next year and release the outcome in due course.
(2) With the development of Hong Kong and the need of the society to carry out construction, renovation, demolition and excavation works, substantial amount of demolition material is generated every year, among which over 90% are inert materials comprising of concrete, asphalt, rubbles, bricks, stones, earth, etc. Such materials are commonly known as public fill and can be reused in other works projects, like reclamation, to achieve effective resource circulation. Surplus public fill is temporarily stored at the two temporary fill banks at Tuen Mun Area 38 and TKO Area 137.
The fill bank at TKO Area 137 is equipped with temporary construction waste sorting facilities for sorting mixed construction and demolition waste received. After sorting, the public fill is stored at the fill bank for future reuse. As general construction works cannot fully absorb the reusable construction and demolition materials generated, there is an actual need to maintain the TKO temporary fill bank before the commencement of major reclamation projects in future.
The temporary land allocation granted for the temporary fill bank at TKO Area 137 will expire on December 31, 2021. Relevant departments will make arrangements for its extension in the coming few months.
(3) Concrete is extensively used in construction projects in Hong Kong, thus sustainable and stable concrete supply is very important. As fresh concrete will harden with time, it must be delivered timely to construction sites in various regions. Long travelling time may affect the quality of concrete. Therefore, the locations of concrete batching plants (CBPs) entail a geographical consideration. A number of CBPs have been set up in various regions over the territory to supply concrete for the construction projects in nearby areas.
In order to cope with the development of East Kowloon and New Territories East, there is an actual need to identify an appropriate site for the market to set up a CBP within the region concerned and the Government is conducting a study on this accordingly. As for the location of the CBP, we have to consider a number of factors, including locations of concrete demand, compatibility of land use, environmental and traffic impacts, and prerequisites for facilitating the operation of the CBP such as a waterfront site to allow transportation by sea of raw materials for concrete production to avoid increasing road traffic loads. Taking these factors into consideration, we are now studying the feasibility of providing such a temporary site at the waterfront area of TKO Area 137 for the market to bid for running a CBP. The proposed CBP will be able to provide a sustainable and stable supply of concrete to support the development of East Kowloon and New Territories East, including future construction works and development projects in TKO Area 137. It can also reduce cross-district transportation of concrete. We aim at completing the study for identifying the CBP site this year. Taking into account the time required for statutory procedures together with tendering and construction of the CBP, we anticipate that the CBP would be put into operation in 2024 at the earliest.
Thank you, President.
Ends/Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Issued at HKT 16:47