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Monday, May 27, 2024

Rock caverns to house more government facilities

Rock caverns to house more government facilities

Rock caverns will become homes for more government facilities as authorities work to better utilize land resources and improve the urban environment, Secretary for Development Bernadette Linn Hon-ho says.
Many hills in Hong Kong are steep and rocky, but slopes near urban areas are suitable for cavern development, she explained.

Writing in her online blog yesterday, Linn points out that authorities have already relocated public facilities to caverns, including the Stanley Sewage Treatment Works, Island West Transfer Station, the Kau Shat Wan explosives depot on Lantau and the Western salt water service reservoirs.

"The government is actively relocating more suitable facilities to rock caverns to better utilize land resources and improve the urban layout and environment as well as enhance the service quality of these facilities," Linn said.

The Drainage Services Department is also relocating the Sha Tin sewage treatment works to a cavern, which will be the largest cave development project in Hong Kong.

"Currently, authorities are conducting excavations at Nui Po Shan in Sha Tin and building a cave complex," Linn said. "Once completed, the development can not only improve the environment near the current sewage treatment plant site but also free up about 28 hectares of land that will be used mainly for innovation development."

She added that the Water Supplies Department will also move the Diamond Hill fresh water and salt water service reservoirs to caverns.

By relocating the reservoirs to caverns south of Lion Rock authorities can free up around four hectares of land in Wong Tai Sin to build residential units and facilities for residents.

Additionally, the Civil Engineering and Development Department will develop a cavern inside hills near Anderson Road quarry site to relocate the Public Works Central Laboratory in Kowloon Bay and also build a new government records archives center.

"The cavern with a stable temperature and humidity environment will enhance the energy efficiency of the facilities," Linn explained, adding that the project is waiting for grants.

The authorities are also researching a project to relocate reservoirs in Tsuen Wan and Yau Tong to caverns, which mean six hectares of land become availble for residential developments.

But Linn said not every mountain can accommodate facilities because cavern development requires stone layers of a sufficient thickness. She also said new technologies should be used when excavating hills and creating caverns.

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