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LCQ11: Flow of marine sand at public beaches
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     Following is a question by the Hon Alice Mak and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (June 18):

Question:

     It has been reported that loss of sand has occurred at a number of public beaches (including Cafeteria Old Beach, Golden Beach, Stanley Main Beach and Deep Water Bay Beach), some of which have to be closed temporarily. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it conducted in the past five years any investigation into the quantities of sand lost from public beaches; if it did, of the details, and set out such quantities by year in tables of the same format as table 1 in Annex 1.

(2) whether it conducted in the past five years any study on the prevention of sand loss from public beaches; if it did, of the details, and set out by year in table 2 in Annex 1 the details and number of such studies as well as the manpower and expenses involved;

(3) whether it received in the past three years any enquiry or complaint from District Councils or members of the public about the loss of sand from public beaches; if it did, of the details, and set out the number of enquiries and complaints from various districts by year in tables of the same format as table 3 in Annex 1.

(4) whether it took the initiative to deploy, in the past three years, manpower to inspect the situation of sand loss from public beaches; if it did, of the details, and set out, by year in tables of the same format as table 4 in Annex 1, the numbers of inspections of the beaches in various districts and the manpower involved; if not, whether the authorities have any plan to deploy staff to conduct regular inspections on the situation of sand loss from public beaches;

 (5) whether it took remedial measures in the past five years in respect of the public beaches which had suffered sand loss; if it did, of the details, and set out, by year in tables of the same format as table 5 in Annex 1, the details and number of the remedial measures taken for those public beaches, as well as the manpower and expenses involved;

(6) as it has been reported that the preventive and remedial works for sand loss, e.g. replacement of sand layers, construction of retaining walls and groynes, carried out by the authorities at beaches like Cafeteria Old Beach and Golden Beach are ineffective, whether the authorities have formulated other preventive and remedial measures; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(7) as some experts have queried that the loss of sand at some public beaches is mainly attributable to the inappropriate design of the stormwater outfalls nearby, whether the authorities will inspect the stormwater outfalls at various public beaches and carry out improvement works?

Reply:

President,

     In normal circumstances, natural factors such as water currents, tides, waves and the geographical environment contribute to sand loss at beaches. For beaches which are more exposed to the wind, loss of sand is more apparent after typhoons or persistent rainstorms. Nevertheless, the sand washed away will normally be brought back to the beaches gradually by tidal action.

     My reply to the respective parts of the question is as follows:

(1) The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has not conducted any investigation into the quantities of sand lost from public beaches in the past five years.

(2) Regarding the loss of sand, the LCSD has commissioned the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to engage consultants to conduct two feasibility studies on beach improvement works. The details are as follows:

(a) Beach Improvement Works at Stanley Main Beach, Deep Water Bay Beach, Golden Beach and Upper Cheung Sha Beach X Feasibility Study

     The study started in 2008 and concluded in 2011 at a cost of about $5.6 million.

(b) Improvement Works at Tong Fuk Beach, Butterfly Beach and Big Wave Bay Beach X Feasibility Study

     The study started in 2009 and concluded in 2011 at a cost of about $1.4 million.

(3) The numbers of enquiries and complaints received by the LCSD in the past three years about the loss of sand from beaches are listed in table 1 in Annex 2.
 
(4) Beach staff of the LCSD conduct inspections and monitor the flow of marine sand at beaches every day.

(5) Details of the remedial measures taken in the past five years in respect of the beaches managed by the LCSD where sand loss occurred as a result of typhoons or rainstorms are set out in table 2 in Annex 2.

(6) Owing to its geographic location, topographical features, water currents and waves, Golden Beach is prone to sand loss caused by waves. To tackle the problem, LCSD implemented a series of short-term improvement measures in three phases between 2009 and 2011 on the recommendation of the consultants engaged by the works department. The measures include: 1) construction of temporary gabion walls in an area approximately 200 metres to the south of the beach area to protect the trees on the beach; 2) construction of temporary groynes to mitigate the loss of sand; and 3) sand replenishment. These measures have reduced the impact of sand loss on the beach.

     There is a stormwater drain at one end of Cafeteria Old Beach with an outfall leading to the sea via the beach. LCSD found in earlier years that whenever there was persistent rain or typhoons, huge flows of rainwater from the upstream storm water drain would flood the outfall. Without proper conveyance, the water overflowed and caused sand loss from all over the beach. In view of this situation, LCSD asked CEDD to lay geo-textile sand bags on the beach to direct the flow of water into the sea from the outfall. Following the completion of the works in January 2013, the situation has initially improved and sand loss has only concentrated around the outfall whilst the number of areas affected in other parts of the beach has decreased.

     LCSD will continue to monitor the situation at Golden Beach and Cafeteria Old Beach and liaise with relevant departments to explore further possible improvement measures.

(7) LCSD has been monitoring the situation around the stormwater outfalls at various beaches. According to our observations, the loss of sand on most beaches is mainly attributable to typhoons, persistent rain or the geographical locations of the beaches rather than the designs of the nearby storm water outfalls.

Ends/Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:26

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