Benefits of Development
Given the RTT's dwindling cargo handling volume, there is a suggestion to use the site which has a large area with good transport connections for other purposes to better meet the prevailing needs of the community.
Tuen Mun West where the RTT site is located is predominantly industrial in character, with a focus on modern logistics, special industries and industrial uses. Taking into account the compatibility with the adjoining uses, one suggestion is to accommodate industrial and brownfield-related operations in this 65-ha site, including logistics, vehicle repair workshops, environmental industry, etc. to release brownfield sites in the NT for development.
Apart from the compatibility with surrounding land uses, industrial uses generate less vehicular traffic than non-industrial uses at peak hours and create less extra loading on the existing congested road network in Tuen Mun.
There are also suggestions that the RTT side should be used for housing development to meet the demand for housing land. Nevertheless, if developed on its own, land use compatibility between housing development and the existing industrial character of Tuen Mun West would be a major challenge. In particular, air quality and noise impacts arising from the nearby industrial developments and road infrastructures including the future Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link may seriously affect the residents.
The proposed Lung Kwu Tan reclamation
provides an opportunity to rationalise the industrial land along the entire western coastal area of Tuen Mun. By relocating the adjoining incompatible uses to the Lung Kwu Tan reclamation, the feasibility of using the RTT site and adjoining land for housing development can be explored.
This comprehensive and thorough examination of the potential of the RTT site and adjoining land for housing development would achieve better economies of scale. It would also address the problem of land use compatibility, provide more space for better planning of the community, and facilitate strategic planning of transport infrastructure to expand the transport infrastructure network and create capacity to support the future development of the surrounding areas of RTT as well as northwest NT. Purely drawing reference from the TCNTE
Under the TCNTE, about 121 ha of land will be reclaimed in Tung Chung East for development, providing about 40,800 housing units.
and without the support of technical studies, arithmetically speaking the 65-ha RTT site may produce about 22,000 housing units (as compared to the existing housing stock of about 170,000 units in Tuen Mun).
Costs of Development
Developing the RTT site for alternative uses may involve costs to upgrade other port facilities to absorb the RTT's throughput; site formation and decontamination costs (and reclamation costs if reclaiming the existing basin and near-shore for more developable land); and the costs to upgrade the existing infrastructure (including traffic and transport, water supply, sewerage, drainage, etc.).
If the adjoining incompatible uses are relocated to Lung Kwu Tan for comprehensive rationalisation of the entire western coastal area of Tuen Mun, the costs of relocating these facilities should be added. In addition, there could be opportunity cost for replacing some of the land uses already planned in Lung Kwu Tan.
Challenges and Uncertainties
The RTT site is a piece of private land with lease term up to 2047. Suitable arrangement will need to be explored for alternative use of the site before expiry of the lease term.
The road network in Tuen Mun and the MTR West Rail Line are reaching their capacities. In considering alternative use of the site, improvements to disperse the high traffic flow and public transport needs should be identified to avoid aggravating the current congestion. The issues of air quality, noise, provision of infrastructure and public utility, as well as land ownership, should also be addressed. The landfill in NT West is close to the RTT site; both use Lung Mun Road as the gateway. Developing the RTT site also requires resolving the environmental problem related to the landfill area. Besides, the RTT site is subject to the airport height restriction under the Three-Runway System of the Hong Kong International Airport. The technical feasibility of residential development on the RTT site, and its interface with the implementation programme of the immediately adjacent incompatible land uses, are yet to be ascertained by comprehensive studies.
As it would take time to study these complicated issues, alternative use of the RTT site can only be regarded as a medium to long-term land supply option.
Besides, relocating the adjoining incompatible uses to Lung Kwu Tan to facilitate a comprehensive rationalisation of land uses along the entire western coastal area of Tuen Mun will hinge on the implementation of Lung Kwu Tan reclamation. The feasibility and cost effectiveness of relocating the related facilities; the impacts on current operation of related facilities; the replacement of some planned uses in Lung Kwu Tan; and the land use compatibility, traffic, environmental and visual impacts arising from the relocation should also be assessed. As relocation of existing facilities is involved, a longer time is required to implement this suggestion.
- The cargo handling volume of RTT in Tuen Mun West has been dwindling. There is a suggestion for alternative use of the RTT site to better meet the prevailing needs of the community.
- Taking into account the existing industrial uses in Tuen Mun West, the 65-ha RTT site may be used to accommodate industrial and brownfield-related operations to release brownfields in the NT for development. If the feasibility of developing the RTT side for housing development is to be studied, the proposed Lung Kwu Tan reclamation can provide an opportunity to rationalise the land uses along the entire western coastal area of Tuen Mun. By relocating the incompatible uses to the Lung Kwu Tan reclamation site, the feasibility of using the RTT site and adjoining land for housing development can be explored in a more comprehensive and holistic manner.
- As it would take time to study, alternative use of the RTT site can only be regarded as a medium to long-term land supply option. If the development of RTT is to be considered in the context of the Lung Kwu Tan reclamation in a holistic manner, feasibility studies and relocation of existing facilities will be involved, and a longer time is required.