Written Question on Legislative Council Meeting – Work of the Task Force on District Governance

LCQ17: Work of the Task Force on District Governance

Question by the Hon Chan Chun-ying :

In July last year, the Chief Executive established the District Matters Co-‍ordination Task Force (to be renamed as the “Task Force on District Governance” (“TFDG”)), led by the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration (“DCS”), to steer efforts of various bureaux and government departments to enhance the overall environmental hygiene and cityscape in Hong Kong. The Task Force rolled out its first phase of work with the launch of the Government Programme on Tackling Hygiene Black Spots in August last year, and its second phase of work, including beautifying public space, improving street furniture and enhancing landscape architecture, etc., commenced in October last year. In addition, DCS, together with officials from the Highways Department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, visited Shenzhen in March this year to study its landscape greening and cityscape enhancement measures as a reference for the Task Force in carrying out cityscape beautification in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the progress of the various work under the second phase of work;

(2) whether it has reviewed the areas of Shenzhen Municipality’s work where Hong Kong can learn from and make reference to in respect of cityscape beautification; and

(3) whether it has, based on the findings of the aforesaid visit, formulated a specific action plan and targets for TFDG’s next phase of work; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply by the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Cheuk Wing-hing:

The District Matters Co-ordination Task Force (Task Force) launched the Government Programme on Tackling Hygiene Black Spots in August 2022. Co-ordination at the senior level and supported by the concerted efforts of various government departments, the first phase of the programme focuses on tackling hygiene black spots, especially those deposited with a large amount of waste. The second phase on cityscape enhancement works, including beautifying public space, improving street furniture and enhancing landscape architecture and streetscape, has also commenced.

The consolidated reply to the question raised by Hon CHAN Chun-ying is as follows:

Shenzhen has valuable experience in landscape greening and cityscape enhancement, and there are many areas that we can learn from and make reference to. The study visit made to Shenzhen in March this year has provided the Task Force with a lot of information, inspiration and hence immense help to its work on carrying out cityscape improvement. First, we have noticed that substantial enhancement has been made to roads in Shenzhen, including extensive planting of colourful flowers and vegetation on grass verges between carriageways or at central medians and flyovers, and provision of gardens at road junctions (for viewing by drivers and passengers when their vehicles stop or slow down). We have been informed of information about the types, characteristics, flowering periods and maintenance tips of the flowers and trees extensively planted thereupon.

The Task Force will explore the details of introducing species suitable for planting in Hong Kong. Also, we intend to plant flowering trees and provide landscape areas planted with themed flowering trees on North Lantau Highway running to and from the Hong Kong International Airport, at central medians/roundabouts on main roads and along both sides of Shing Mun River. Various departments have proactively commenced their work with the detailed progress report as follows:

Highways Department (HyD)

(1) Has finished the cleansing/renovation works for 13 road tunnels in June this year.

(2) The works on planting more themed flowering trees on the roadsides of North Lantau Highway running to and from the airport will commence in early July this year, with expected completion by the end of October this year.

(3) Regarding the streetscape beautification works (include replacing street name plates, railings, paving blocks for pavement and manhole covers with featured ones, beautifying covered walkways, footbridges, lifts and lamp posts, etc.) at the three selected locations, namely the Outlying Islands Ferry Pier in Central, Tai Wai MTR Station and Lo Tak Court in Tsuen Wan, HyD will consult the respective district councils this July, and the works are expected to commence in August and be completed in December this year.

(4) Plans to carry out refurbishment or beautification works for a total of 111 highway structures/retaining walls in the 18 districts this year, with thematic design to be adopted in beautification works at 54 locations. Among the 49 refurbishment or beautification projects completed as at mid-June, 17 are incorporated with thematic design.

(5) Resurfacing works for Chun Yeung Street, Bowrington Road Market and the pavements of Canal Road have commenced progressively for completion within this year.

Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD)

(1) Plans to beautify the greening zones along both sides of Shing Mun River by phases starting from the end of 2023, including planting plenty of flowering trees and shrubs, enhancing park facilities and exploring the introduction of pedal boats etc, with a view to creating an amiable cityscape for citizens and promoting a water-friendly culture.

(2) Continue to upgrade its facilities, including providing roadside landscape areas planted with more than 60 themed flowering trees in Victoria Peak Garden and Shun Lee Estate by the end of this year to enhance their seasonal touch.

(3) By the end of September this year, to carry out landscaping works by planting flowering plants and foliage at central medians and flowerbeds at roundabouts on four main roads, including the green belt (810 square metres) along the central divider of Connaught Road Central in Central and the amenity plot (1,300 square metres) of Tunnel Approach Rest Garden in Wan Chai.

Drainage Services Department (DSD)

(1) So far, DSD has installed 34 thematic manhole covers, including five installed in Lei Yue Mun in the second quarter of 2023, five at Tsui Ping River Waterfront and one at Cha Kwo Ling Waterfront. It is expected that these thematic manhole covers will be open to the public in the third quarter of this year upon completion of the landscape deck at the roof of the plant house and its associated works of the Kwun Tong Sewage Pumping Station and the balancing tank. In addition, three thematic manhole covers will be installed at the dry weather flow interceptor on Cherry Street in Tai Kok Tsui in the fourth quarter of this year.

(2) Some of the maintenance ramps at Lam Tsuen River (near Mui Shu Hang), Shan Pui River (near Nam Sang Wai) and Kam Tin River (near Nam Sang Wai) were open in April 2023 to members of the public for taking rest and enjoying the river views.

(3) Has so far replaced 1,460 riverside signs and signages and beautified 102 hydrological stations along the rivers.

(4) Has so far completed beautification works of four existing facilities, i.e. the Water Boat Dock Sewage Pumping Station in Lai Chi Kok, the Kau Hui Sewage Pumping Station Compound in Yuen Long, the Anchor Street Sewage Pumping Station in Tai Kok Tsui and the flood storage pond of Ha Mei San Tsuen near Tin Shui Wai. The DSD is also working on the design of the floating photovoltaic systems and landscaping works for the flood storage pond of Chau Tau Tsuen near the Lok Ma Chau Control Point, and the works are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Housing Department (HD)

After reviewing factors including the overall environment, landscape configuration and growth conditions of plants in housing estates, the HD has commenced preparatory work at selected housing estates that are deemed suitable for landscape improvement (such as planting appropriate flowering plants).

Besides, the HD has hired a consultant for the design of the new phase of facade beautification and landscape improvement works for gradual commencement in 2023/24.

The Task Force and relevant departments will continue to take into account the suggestions of stakeholders on beautification works, which include choosing plants that are suitable for local soil and climate to beautify the cityscape, providing proper maintenance to vegetation planted, as well as introducing thematic design that echoes the character of the respective districts when carrying out beautification works for flyovers, subways and highway structures.

The Chief Executive announced the proposals on improving governance at the district level on 2 May, including the establishment of the Task Force on District Governance (TFDG) to be led by the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration. TFDG will co-ordinate and steer broad district affairs including environmental hygiene issue and beautification works. The current Task Force will become a unit under the TFDG and TFDG will report to the Legislative Council on the Government’s cityscape enhancement and related works thereafter.