Press Release: The government tries to cover up its own delay of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Construction (HK Section) and shift the blame to the Judicial Review
The Civic Party regrets that the Government has repeatedly misled the public, blaming the delay of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project on the judicial review of the project’s environmental permit.
Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong raised the issue in the Legislative Council oral question time today (November 23). He cited a Development Bureau paper dated February 16, 2011, which clearly stated that the work of ‘Investigation and Preliminary Design study’ for the Bridge’s Hong Kong crossing facilities was to be delayed for one year to May 2011. The delay was due to the need ‘to carry out additional preliminary study for Marine Park in the Brothers Islands in order to fulfill the conditions of the Environmental Permit issued in November 2009’.
In reply, the Under-Secretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu refuses to acknowledge this and continues his irresponsible talk as to how the first instance ruling led to the revocation of the project’s environmental permit and the suspension of reclamation work scheduled to begin late last year.
The environmental permit was only revoked after the first instance court ruled against the government in April this year, not at the end of last year, and it was restored in September when the Court of Appeal reversed the first instance ruling. Moreover, during these 5 months, the government continued with its tender process and preparatory work for the reclamation works. This demonstrates conclusively the reclamation work could not have commenced as scheduled late last year, with or without the lawsuit.
The annex to the Development Bureau paper gave detailed reasons for the delay in a whole range of government projects, including various parts of the Bridge project, a deferral of 15 months was because ‘longer time was required by the Mainland consultants to refine the physical models’. The reason for the delay of 5 months on the ‘detailed design and site investigation’ at the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing was given as ‘additional time required for implementing the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities International Design Ideas Competition before proceeding to detailed design of the project’s superstructures’.
In last Friday’s (November 19) Legislative Council Finance Committee, Civic Party Legislator Audrey Eu referred to news reports dated August 23, 2010 to this effect: ‘Highways Department Senior Engineer Lam Yat-ming says that work on the Bridge is complex and the need to amend the terms of the tender means reclamation work cannot be put out to tender before January 2011’. This again shows work could not have commenced as scheduled late last year. He did not mention the lawsuit as a cause of delay.
The Development Bureau paper has revealed the true cause and circumstances of the delay. Instead of admitting the truth and reviewing and improving its own planning and execution procedures, the government acts irresponsibly in shifting the blame to others to cover up and mislead the public.