Paul Chan says A Kung Kok site would release 28 hectares of land
A nearby hill is still the best place to relocate underground the Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works to release more land for development according to Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po.
In his latest blog post on Sunday, Chan said according to a consultancy study, A Kung Kok on the southeastern side of Shing Mun River at Nui Po Shan, remained the first choice as to where to put the sewage works.
“In considering many primary factors, including geology, effect on the present sewage system, land status, and effect on the adjacent environment and traffic, the consultant determined A Kung Kok was the best location,” Chan said.
A roving exhibition on the latest findings of the Sha Tin sewage proposal for stage 2 of the public engagement exercise started late last month and will continue till 18 October.
The sewage works at Sha Tin, which is the largest secondary treatment works in Hong Kong, occupies about 28 hectares of land and serves 630,000 people in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan.
The consultant also looked at four other locations which were Shek Mun, Ma On Shan, Kau To Shan South and Kau To Shan North.
Chan said the potential for odours generated by the reprovisioned sewage works and vibrations from blasting during construction would not be a problem.
This was because based on a tentative ventilation design, preliminary modeling by the consultant showed that treatment works would generate less than five odour units (OU) as stipulated in the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance.
As regards vibrations from blasting, the consultant report estimated that the forecast vibrations would be very low and that advanced technology and monitoring during construction would ensure no adverse effect on nearby residents.
The land released by the reprovisioned sewage works would be earmarked for housing, community facilities, recreation and promenade uses, Chan said.
According to the government website set up to plug the Sha Tin project, assuming everything goes smoothly, construction can start in 2017 with excavation by drill and blasting taking four years alone.
Civil and electrical and mechanical works will follow with completion targetted for 2027.
A preliminary estimate in 2011 put the bill for reprovisioning at HK$10 billion.
Chan reiterated that rock cavern development was necessary if Hong Kong is to find enough land suitable for development of housing and other facilities.
In November 2011, the government launched a consultation on enhancing land supply through reclamation outside of Victoria Harbour and rock cavern development.
Stage 2 of the public consultation concluded at the end of June and the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong would analyse the views collected, Chan said.
Chan pointed to successful examples of previous cavern developments in Hong Kong.
These were the Stanley Sewage Treatment Works completed in 1995 and Island West Refuse Transfer Station and Kau Shat Wan Explosives Depot on Lantau Island both, of which were completed in 1997.
As late as in 2009, the University of Hong Kong moved the Western Saltwater Service Reservoir into a cavern to release land for campus expansion.
According to the briefing document for stage 2 of the public consultation, Diamond Hill Fresh Water and Salt Water Reservoirs, the Sai Kung Sewage Treatment Works and the Sham Tseng Sewage Treatment Works are proposed to be reprovisioned in caverns.
Doing so would release 6.3 hectares of land for development.