Public Works Sub Committee to review HK$24.7 billion for public works

Public Works Sub Committee to review HK$24.7 billion for public works

Danny Chung

The government will be looking for HK$24.7 billion worth of public funds for some big ticket projects when legislators review funding applications today.

The Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee will pore over government funding requests for five new projects plus one funding increase.

The biggest project is the Centre of Excellence in Paediatrics estimated to cost HK$12.99 billion at money-of-the-day (MOD) prices.

According to a paper compiled by the Food and Health Bureau, a specialist hospital was necessary as there was no “dedicated children hospital providing tertiary specialized care in the public sector”.

The Centre of Excellence in Paediatrics, one of the projects announced in the government for the financial year 2013-14, will be built at the South Apron of the Kai Tai Development.

Construction is set to start in September this year for completion in June 2017.

The second biggest project is the widening of Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway between Island House Interchange and Fanling – Stage 2.

The estimated cost is HK$4.32 billion at MOD prices.

The item for road, drains and waterworks is estimated to cost HK$1.02 billion while the noise barriers alone will cost HK$973.6 million, before addition of the MOD factor.

Third on the list is infrastructure at north apron area of Kai Tak Airport for the Kai Tak Development with an estimated cost of HK$2.26 billion at MOD prices.

According to the government gazette, tenders were submitted to Civil Engineering and Development Department last month.

The work is scheduled to start this July for completion in phases by June 2017.

The Centre of Excellence for Paediatrics will be the first dedicated children's hospital in the public sector on completion in June 2017.  (Architectural Services Department - HKSAR Government)

The Centre of Excellence for Paediatrics will be the first dedicated children’s hospital in the public sector on completion in June 2017. (Architectural Services Department – HKSAR Government)

The other new projects are the reprovisioning of Yaumatei Specialist Clinic at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (HK$1.89 billion MOD) and the Extension of the CITIC Tower footbridge to the Legislative Council Complex at Tamar (HK$74.3 million MOD).

The government is also going cap in hand back to legislators to ask for additional funds for the District Cooling System at Kai Tak Development.

Legislators will be asked to recommend an increase of the approved project estimate from HK$1.86 billion to HK$3.15 billion, representing a jump of about 69 percent.

In its paper to legislators, the Environment Bureau said the approved project estimate was not enough to pay for the cost of the work, which involves constructing Hong Kong’s first ever district cooling system to cover about 1.73 million square metres of non-domestic air conditioned gross floor area.

The bureau said the system, which will offer substantial environmental benefits, has been adopted widely in other countries such as Singapore and the United States.

The increase in approved project estimate was due to cost increases for various items in particular for mains laying, the cost of which skyrocketed from the previous estimate of HK$410.4 million to HK$1.1 billion before addition of MOD factor.

Resident site staff costs also leaped nearly 6.5 times to HK$103.8 million.

The public will have to pay for the recurrent costs arising from the cooling project as the bureau plans to introduce legislation to charge tariffs for use of the cooling system.

The estimated recurrent costs are estimated to increase steadily each year from HK$56.7 million for the year 2014-15 to HK$393.3 million for the year 2026-2027.

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