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LCQ15: Ma Liu Shui reclamation project
     Following is a question by the Hon Jeffrey Lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Ms Bernadette Linn, in the Legislative Council today (November 9):
     The Government revived the Ma Liu Shui reclamation project (the project) last year to provide more land for innovation and technology development, as well as commenced a related engineering study in July this year. However, some members of the public are concerned about the ancillary transport facilities for the project and its impacts on the drainage system in the district. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the latest details of the project, including the overall budget, works schedule, expected completion date, and dedicated staffing establishment;
(2) as it is learnt that, at present, road transport for residents in the North District, Tai Po District and Sha Tin District to travel to and from the urban areas relies mainly on the Tolo Highway and roads/highways in areas between Fanling and Tai Po, but the traffic congestion problems of such roads/highways have all along been subjected to criticism, whether the Government has assessed if the project will increase the traffic load of the roads/highways concerned; if it has assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, of the details and the corresponding measures; if the assessment outcome is in the negative, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether it has assessed if the works under the project will affect the drainage system in the district, thereby causing flooding during inclement weather/onslaught of typhoons; if it has assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, whether it has formulated corresponding measures, and of the additional expenditure involved; if the assessment outcome is in the negative, the reasons for that?
     The Ma Liu Shui (MLS) reclamation is located at the centre of the Eastern Knowledge and Technology Corridor under "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030". It is also adjacent to the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Science Park. The development has the potential to enhance the existing innovation and technology (I&T) ecosystem and achieve synergy. I&T is the new driving force of Hong Kong's development, which can bring new industries, create wealth, promote economic growth, create quality employment opportunities, and enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong. The Government attaches great importance to long-term I&T development and has been actively cooperating with the industry, including providing the land and development space needed.
     Regarding the three parts of the question raised by the Hon Jeffery Lam, upon consultation with the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau (ITIB) and the Transport and Logistics Bureau, I reply as follows:
(1) The Development Bureau (DEVB) and the ITIB (together with the relevant departments) carry out studies for the proposed MLS reclamation and I&T development respectively (Reclamation Study and Preliminary Development Study). The Reclamation Study led by the DEVB mainly focuses on the reclamation works and the associated impacts on hydraulic, drainage, environmental aspects, etc. as well as conducts the preliminary site investigation works and geotechnical assessment. The Preliminary Development Study led by the ITIB will mainly study on the proposed land use development and the associated infrastructure.
     The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) employed consultants to commence the approximate 24-month Reclamation Study in July 2022. The Preliminary Development Study is anticipated to commence in early 2023. Both studies are scheduled to be completed in succession in 2024. Upon completion of the studies, there will be more information on the implementation programme and project estimate.
(2) The Preliminary Development Study will include a traffic and transport impact assessment for the proposed I&T development. It will take into account the current and forthcoming transport infrastructure nearby and explore the relevant mitigation measures as appropriate to ensure that there is no insurmountable impact on the transport network concerned.
     In addition, the Government is now carrying out studies on and implementing various road improvement works to improve the traffic condition of the Northeast New Territories. The Government is carrying out the road widening works of Tai Po Road (Sha Tin Section) with the aim of improving this important primary distributor road linking the Northeast New Territories with West Kowloon (through Tsing Sha Highway) and Tsuen Wan (through Shing Mun Tunnel) which is anticipated to be completed in 2023. The Government will also take forward the Trunk Road T4 project in Sha Tin to provide a more direct link connecting West Kowloon and Tsuen Wan with Ma On Shan and Sai Kung. Furthermore, the Government plans to commence the detailed design for the improvement of Lion Rock Tunnel with a view to carrying out a full-scale tunnel rehabilitation and taking the opportunity to upgrade the traffic capacity of the tunnel and its connecting roads.
     Meanwhile, the Government is carrying out the "Strategic Studies on Railways and Major Roads beyond 2030" (RMR Studies). As recommended in the RMR Studies, the Government will take forward the three major road projects and three strategic railway projects, including Shatin Bypass connecting Tai Po and Kowloon West. It will provide a faster route for residents of the New Territories East to urban areas, and improve the transport network for north-south connectivity as well as relieve traffic pressure on Tolo Highway.
(3) In 2017, the CEDD completed the "Study on Technical Issues Related to Potential Reclamation Site at Ma Liu Shui". It initially explored, among others, the hydraulic and drainage impacts on the surroundings due to the potential reclamation. Its findings revealed that the reclamation concerned would not induce significant impacts on the aforesaid aspects.
     The ongoing Reclamation Study will include further detailed assessments covering the concerned waters, rivers and drainage system under extreme weather conditions. It will also explore the relevant mitigation measures as appropriate. Furthermore, the proposed Preliminary Development Study will investigate the overall layout of the land use development and the required drainage system so as to manage the risk of flooding.
Ends/Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:30
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