To support the sustainable development of Hong Kong, it is the established policy of the Government to adopt a multi-pronged approach to enhance land supply. The hilly and hard rock terrain of Hong Kong makes it highly suitable for development of caverns under appropriate geological conditions. The hillside at the urban fringes generally has good road networks, as well as other infrastructure (such as sewerage, water supply and electricity supply), and is particularly suitable for strategic caverns development.
The relocation of suitable government facilities into caverns can on one hand release existing valuable sites for housing or other uses to meet community needs, and on the other hand can relocate facilities that are incompatible with the land uses and environment nearby, for improvement of the urban layout and environmental quality of the area. Accommodating new government facilities in caverns in a cost effective manner can save the use of surface land for achieving a more valuable and effective land arrangement.
In addition, the special environment of caverns is suitable for accommodating facilities which require a secure and stable operating environment (for example, testing laboratories, archives, data centres and warehouses, etc.). Strong cavern walls can protect the facilities from natural or man-made disasters. The temperature and humidity inside caverns are also relatively stable throughout the year, and the facilities can be sheltered from being affected by sunlight and weather changes, thereby reducing the power consumption from the cooling system of the facilities and the carbon emissions. This not only reduces the operational costs, but also fosters Hong Kong to becoming a green city.
In order to bring about better coordination between “Building of Government Records Service’s Archives Centre in cavern” and “Relocation of Public Works Central Laboratory to caverns” and minimise potential nuisance to the neighbourhood and interface issues, these two adjoining projects will be implemented together. As compared to taking forward the two projects separately, this joint cavern development arrangement can ensure the effective use of the scarce land resources, reduce coordination issues between different projects and streamline the work of managing works contracts, thereby enhancing the overall cost-effectiveness.