LCQ3: Planning and management of district facilities

Following is a question by the Hon Yung Hoi-yan and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (November 16):


Some residents of Tai Wai have relayed to me that the district facilities in the area are decrepit and insufficient, affecting the residents' daily lives. The present population of Tai Wai is already close to 180 000. Upon intake by subsidised housing in 2019 and completion of 2 900 private residential units above the Tai Wai Station in 2022, the population of Tai Wai will increase further. The surge in population in the area will render the shortage of district facilities more acute. The findings of a study released by the Sha Tin District Council (STDC) in 2014 showed that more than half of the responding members of the public indicated their hope for the provision of more shopping malls and markets in the area. Also, some STDC members suggested to the Government the building of a municipal complex in Tai Wai to meet the residents’ demand for district facilities.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether, in the past five years, it made a comprehensive assessment of the pressure on the transport infrastructure, environment and community facilities in Tai Wai caused by population increase generated by various residential developments in the area; if it made, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) whether it has plans to identify a suitable site in Tai Wai for building a municipal complex and provide in the complex various municipal, welfare and community facilities, including new markets, libraries, study rooms, nurseries, child care centres, youth business incubators, care and attention homes for the elderly, car parks, etc., so as to provide one-stop services for the residents; and

(3) as some residents of Tai Wai have pointed out that the under-provision of various district facilities in the area has reflected the deep-rooted problems in the Government's planning and management of district facilities and the Government's failure in effectively responding to the demand of the residents, and that the scattered distribution of such facilities has caused inconvenience to members of the public, whether the authorities will embark on studies on ways to enhance the planning and management of district facilities, with a view to resolving the problem in the long run?

Generally speaking, when carrying out land use planning the Government will reserve adequate land for housing, economic and social developments, and provide appropriate community or other necessary facilities and services to meet the public needs. Specifically, in planning for a particular district, the Planning Department (PlanD) will make reference to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), follow recommendations of bureaux and departments (B/Ds) (including the planning of provision of facilities that is not solely population-based, e.g. residential care homes for the elderly and markets), and take into account other factors (e.g. land use demands, local circumstances, development constraints, etc.) in reserving the required sites for various "Government, Institution or Community" ("G/IC") uses and facilities for the entire district. Relevant B/Ds will be responsible for the implementation of individual facilities and services.

From the land use planning perspective, Tai Wai is part of the Sha Tin New Town covered by the Sha Tin Outline Zoning Plan (OZP). The Government has been reserving adequate land in the Sha Tin Area (Note) for "G/IC" uses in accordance with the HKPSG and requirements of relevant departments. According to the 2011 Population Census, the population of the Sha Tin Area (including Tai Wai but not Ma On Shan) was about 430 000, and the estimated total planned population of the Sha Tin Area in 2015 is about 520 000. Infrastructural facilities such as traffic, transportation, and infrastructural capacities in the district and the sites reserved for various "G/IC" uses, which have been planned according to HKPSG and the planned population, are in general capable of satisfying the needs of the local community.

The question asked by the Hon Yung Hoi-yan concerns facilities and services which are under the purview of different B/Ds. Upon consultation with the Food and Health Bureau, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the Home Affairs Bureau, the Home Affairs Department, the Labour and Welfare Bureau and PlanD, my reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) In planning each development project, PlanD will assess the needs of or the impacts on the district concerned arising from the additional population and development in aspects such as transport, environment, infrastructure and community facilities, and will seek comments of relevant departments, so as to ensure that the living quality of residents would not be adversely affected when implementing the new development.

Major new developments in Tai Wai in recent years include the comprehensive residential cum commercial topside development above the MTR Tai Wai Station, and three Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) courts, which are expected to accommodate an additional population of about 10 000. The topside development above the Tai Wai Station will provide a shopping mall with a gross floor area of about 62 000 square metres, about 390 parking spaces in the mall, about 330 bicycle parking spaces, public toilets and a tertiary institute, thereby bringing more variety to the shopping and supporting facilities in Tai Wai. The residents of the three HOS courts can utilise the existing facilities in nearby estates. Besides, the construction of a sports centre next to Chun Shek Estate has commenced and is expected to be completed by January 2019.

Furthermore, there were five public housing projects committed in the Sha Tin Area in the past five years. In response to the additional population and district needs, the Government will provide the necessary facilities and services in the said projects, including kindergartens, social welfare facilities, ball courts, car parks, etc.

(2) To optimise the use of land resources, the relevant departments responsible for planning and implementing "G/IC" facilities are required to uphold the principle of land use optimisation. When B/D puts forward a request for reserving land/space for building community facilities or providing services, PlanD and the Government Property Agency will, having considered other relevant factors (including land uses, surrounding environment, planning parameters, etc.), reserve land and premises respectively.  Where appropriate and possible, provision of various complementary facilities will be accommodated in the same complex, with a view to optimising land use and facilitating access to these facilities by the public.

Currently, the Sha Tin Government Offices accommodates, among others, the offices of a number of departments and a post office, providing one-stop services for residents in the Sha Tin Area. In addition, a community services complex in Yuen Chau Kok Area 14B, Sha Tin, incorporating a sports centre, a community hall and library facilities, will be open soon. Having considered the existing provision of community facilities and services in the district, the future demographic mix and population growth, as well as the forecast demand for facilities/services by the relevant B/Ds, the Government currently has no plan to build a new community services complex in Tai Wai.

(3) The provision of major community facilities in the Sha Tin Area such as open space, sports centres, libraries, etc. is sufficient to meet the needs of residents in accordance with HKPSG.  For markets which are not planned solely on the basis of population, there are currently 18 in Sha Tin, with seven of them in Tai Wai. Against HKPSG, the Sha Tin Area is currently short of one sports complex/sports ground and a few hospital beds. In this regard, PlanD has reserved four sites for sports facilities in the area. According to the Hospital Authority's public hospital development plan for the coming decade, the Prince of Wales Hospital will be redeveloped to provide more hospital beds. The Chinese University of Hong Kong will also build a teaching hospital, providing some 500 in-patient hospital beds. These projects will further enhance the provision of hospital beds in the Sha Tin Area.

The distribution of community facilities or services depends on a number of factors, including their nature and characteristics, development constraints, land supply, etc. As mentioned above, where appropriate and possible, the Government will provide various community facilities or services within the same complex. On the implementation and development schedule of individual facilities and services, they are subject to the resource priorities of relevant B/Ds, and their priorities under the Public Works Programme. Generally speaking, the Government will take into account the local population, provision and utilisation of existing facilities, etc. in determining the priorities of project implementation.

Where the planning and use of district facilities and services are concerned, the District Councils (DCs) have been playing an important role in assisting the Government in taking full consideration of the views of the local community when providing and renewing the facilities and services. Apart from participating in the management of some facilities, DCs will help improve the district facilities through the district minor works projects.

The Government will continue to closely monitor the actual situation of the Sha Tin Area., and provide the necessary facilities and services in accordance with HKPSG and recommendations of the relevant B/Ds under the principle of land use optimisation.

Note: It refers to the area covered by the Sha Tin OZP.

Ends/Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 13:24