Newsletter No. 71

2 No. 71 4th June 1995 CUHK Newsletter Proposed Public Damp at Pak Shek Kok From the Director, Buildings Office T h e University campus used to command very beautiful views of Tolo Harbour and Tide Cove until they were spoiled by the reclamation of nearside bay areas, the construction of Tolo Highway, Ma Liu Shui Exchange, Trunk Road T6, and the urbanization of Ma On Shan. Suggestions have also beenmade at one time or another to develop Pak Shek Kok, the waterfront expanse north of the campus. Fortunately, they were abandoned, thanks partly to the University's efforts at dissuasion. Then came this disturbing and potentially devastating proposal of reclamation at Pak Shek Kok for a public dump. The 'Public Dumping Strategy', formulated by the Fill Management Committee and endorsed by the Land Development Policy Committee in March 1992, aims at diverting construction wastes from landfills to public dumps to alleviate the severe shortfall in landfill capacity. After conducting a site search, the Government Planning Department identified Pak Shek Kok as 'the most appropriate and least disruptive environmentally'. Covering approximately 67 hectares of marine water with a capacity to receive about six million cubic metres of material, the site is expected to receive surplus construction material up to the year 2004. However, it is not without its problems. For one, there is no ready access to the site except through the University campus. Besides, its construction and operation are apt to affect the sensitive receivers in its vicinity in terms of noise level, air and water quality, marine sediment, and visual impact. These include the Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology (HKIB) and the University, The University was therefore very anxious about its development, particularly with regard to the need for dump trucks to use a length of University road at the waterfront for access to the site, which could be a daily average of 270 vehicles in 10 hours. The government then commissioned an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study on the proposed project, which was completed in mid-1994. Despite the University's reservations about the report's findings, the government published its intention to proceed with the proposed project in Government Gazette No. 32/1994, with the following mitigation measures in mind: • to construct a footbridge over the proposed haul road between the Marine Science Laboratory (MSL) and the Water Sports Centre (WSC) for pedestrians; • to progressively restore the site with surface drainage and hydroseeding to minimize dust pollution; • to speed up filling operations in land areas around the HKIB; • to lengthen the haul road as the reclamation proceeds; • to maintain noise, dust and water pollution level within Environmental Protection Department (EPD) recommended standards; • to erect a two-metre noise/dust barrier between theMSL and the access road; • to reimburse the HKIB for upgrading and maintaining the primary air supply filters; • to provide temporary landscaping to filled-up areas; • to manage environmental audit exceedances by an independent specialist/audit consultant; • to provide adequate security measures; • to take into account the University's extension requirements in the draft planning for Pak Shek Kok and its concern over other land disposal arrangements; • to look for an access other than via the University campus in the Tolo Highway widening project. The University lodged a formal notice of objection to the subject proposal on 10th October 1994, which resulted in further assurances by the government who also requested the University to withdraw its objections. The assurances include: • the Civil Engineering Department to hold liaison meetings with the University at monthly or more frequent intervals to discuss environmental monitoring results; • government environmental monitoring reports to be made available to the University for inspection; • the Civil Engineering Department to reconsider supplementary mitigation measures for the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system of the HKIB; • the inclusion of substantial areas earmarked for 'possible tertiary educational institution and associated uses' in the draft Tai Po Area 12 (Part) and 39 Layout Plan L/TP39/B put forth by the Tai Po District Planning Office in December 1994, showing proposed zoning arrangements at Pak Shek Kok; • barges to be used from April to October 1996 to transport public dump material from Ma On Shan to Pak Shek Kok in order to minimize transportation through the University; • use of the University waterfront access road to be limited to four years from commencement of the works anticipated for mid-1995 (including one year for road improvements). As the need for a new dump site became pressing and the government appeared to have found no other alternative but to implement the Pak Shek Kok proposal, for which it could seek an administrative ruling at the Executive Council over the University's objection, including re-entering upon and retaking possession of necessary land areas on the University campus for constructing the required road access to the dump site, the University Council, having reassessed the situation, decided on 18th April 1995 to withdraw its objections to the project in principle, subject to the government honouring all the pledged commitments as well as acceding to minor requests for facility relocation. With this development, it is anticipated that work on the site will commence quite soon. As I witnessed the many tranquil and picturesque rural districts around us —Sha Tin, Tai Wai, Fo Tan, Tai Po, and Ma On Shan — sadly metamorphose into soulless concrete masses, I prayed and strived against this happening at Ma Liu Shui. We survived the onslaught of the Tolo Highway construction in the early 80s with few scratches, and were even compensated for the disturbance and inconvenience by being given new land areas and facilities. Ma Liu Shui and Pak Shek Kok are never going to be the same with so much private domestic development already taking its toll at Chek Nai Ping, Cheung Shue Tan and the former St. Christopher's Home. But I am optimistic; we may make the best out of Pak Shek Kok reclamation yet if parts of it could eventually become the venue of the prospective Science Park and our future expansion. Vincent Chen New Publ icat ions of The Universi ty Press Authority and Benevolence: Social Welfare in China Coauthored by Joe C. B. Leung and Richard C. Nann, this book provides the first comprehensive account of social welfare developments in the People's Republic of China, from the 'iron rice bowl' social security system of the Chinese Communist regime to fundamental welfare changes brought about by modernization. It examines historical traditions and their influence on the present welfare system. The book also deals with social development goals and their attainment. Attention is also given to disadvantaged groups and social problems such as family breakdown, crime, and delinquency — aspects often neglected in studies on China. 232 pages, paperback, HK$160. The English Style Guide: A Practical Writers' Guide for Chinese People Who Use English as a Second Language Written by Bryce T. Mclntyre, this style guide caters specifically to the problems Chinese people encounter while learning the English language. It includes guidelines on transcribing Chinese into the roman alphabet, examples of the proper forms of address in Asian nations, as well as the discrepancies between British and American vocabulary and spelling. The stylistic traditions of the two well-established wire services, the Associated Press and Reuters, are also described. 172 pages, paperback, HK$88. The books will be sold at a 20 per cent discount to University staff and students at the University Bookshop, John Fulton Centre ANNOUNCING... Renditions No. 43 Published by the Research Centre for Translation, Institute of Chinese Studies Drama SHA Y E X I N; Jesus, Confucius and John Lennon Fiction PU SONGLING: Ma Jiefu YANG KUI: Paperboy WANG MENG: Thick Congee Poetry BAI JUYI and CHEN ZIANG: Two Classical Poems M A Z H I YUAN: Autumn Moon over Dongting Lake GU CHENG: Nine Uncollected Poems Prose LIANG YUCHUN: Three Essays 150 pages, HK$80 Sold at a 20 per cent discount to staff at University Bookshop, John Fulton Centre, CUHK