New plan will 'create wall effect and worsen existing environmental problems', said green group Revise above-station property, lawmakers urge

The Young Reporter (2009, April), 41(07), pp. 7.
Author: Kelvin Chan Mankey. Editor: Susan Yuansujun.
Permanent URL - https://sys01.lib.hkbu.edu.hk/bujspa/purl.php?&did=bujspa0015993

Kelvin Chan Mankey

The government is being urged to revise the above-station property development at Tsuen Wan West Rail Station again by lawmakers and a green group.

The call came after the Development Bureau rejected the application of their application, which aims to reduce the worsening air pollution and heat island effect in Tsuen Wan.

Located at the sites of TW5, TW6, TW7 at Tsuen Wan West Station of the West Rail Line, the three property development projects fall within the “Comprehensive Developmental Area” .

According to the Master Layout Plan for these developments, 20 residential buildings and two hotel blocks will be built.

The plan has caused a public concern as soon as it is introduced and carried out.

Ms Gabrielle Ho Ka-po, Project Manager of Green Sense, said the densities of the three property development projects were too high.

“The layout of the projects will create a wall effect and worsen the existing environmental problems in Tsuen Wan as pollutants will be trapped and the light will be blocked by the tall buildings,” she said.

She also pointed out the urban heat island effect in Tsuen Wan is serious.

Last year, Green Sense conducted a research and found that the temperature in Tsuen Wan town centre was three to four degrees higher than that in the marginal areas.

Since the development project at TW7 site was granted to MTR Corporation, chairman of the progovernment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Mr Tam Yiu-chung, said it was difficult to revise the project TW7.

“What we can do in this stage is very limited as the Master Layout Plan was submitted to the Town Planning Board for approval and granted planning permission in 2000. Most importantly, the project was granted to the developer,” he said.

“Unless the developer is willing to revise the project proactively,” Ms Ho added, “Otherwise it is difficult to make a revise of the plan.”

At the moment, the TW5 and TW6 sites have not put to tender yet.

The Green Sense has urged the government to lower the development densities of these two projects from 11 blocks to nine blocks and from two blocks to one block respectively.

However, Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Secretary for the Development, said in a press release that the authority had no plan to lower the development densities of the above-station property development project along the West Rail which have not yet been put to tender.

Dr Roger Chan Chun-kwong, Associate Professor of The Centre of Urban Planning and Environment Management at Hong Kong University, said there were other ways to prevent air from polluting apart from lowering the density of the development.

“The design and layout of the buildings can be revised to keep good ventilation,” said Dr Chan.

But Dr Chan worried whether the revised TW5 and TW6 projects will match the whole development of TW7 under the “Comprehensive Development Area” .

In a talk with the Development Bureau regarding the development projects in these three sites, Mr Tam was told that public pressure, revenue from the projects and the district economic development take priority over the environment of the districts.

Mr Tam said the government should not pursue economic development at the price of destroying the environment.

He said he will urge the government to review the TW5 and TW6 projects and request air ventilation assessment for these two projects.

Despite pressure from the community, the spokesman of the Development Bureau said the government will not revise the above-station property development projects at the Tsuen Wan West Station.

Edited by Susan Yuan Sujun

  • Eleven and two blocks will be built at TW5 and TW6sites respectively according to the Master Layout Plan.
  • The Green Sense urges the number to reduce to nineand two blocks respectively, ensuring good ventilation.