Heliport noise will be as loud as jackhammer: study

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:00am

A commercial heliport near Golden Bauhinia Square would create noise levels equivalent to a jackhammer 10 metres away, according to a working group report.

The Hong Kong Regional Heliport Working Group has proposed building a four-pad heliport next to the ferry terminal for private and Government Flying Service helicopters.

The Bauhinia Gateway Regional Heliport would serve as a hub for cross-border commercial helicopter services. It would take 30 minutes to travel by helicopter to most cities in the Pearl River Delta.

The proposal follows a motion passed by Legco in February that urged the government to build a commercial heliport on Hong Kong Island.

The government earlier suggested building the heliport in Sheung Wan, but the location was widely criticised for being too close to residential areas.

According to the noise impact assessment report provided by the working group, Gloucester Road - about 500 metres from the heliport - would have to bear noise of 80 decibels, which equals the sound created by a diesel train passing by at high speed. Part of the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel and the waterfront would be disturbed by noises of 85 decibels.

The area closer to the heliport - including Golden Bauhinia Square and the waterfront promenade - would experience noise levels of 95 decibels, which would be like hearing a jack hammer being used 10 metres away.

Working group spokeswoman Sandra Mak Wong Siu-chun said the noise created by helicopters would be much less frequent than that of traffic.

She said they hoped to use the ferry terminal as 'an enhanced natural noise barrier'.

A glass noise barrier would also be built at the waterfront adjacent to the heliport.

Ms Mak defended the location next to the central business district and said they had had no major feedback on the heliport potentially worsening the traffic problem in the district.

'The traffic near Golden Bauhinia Square has to be rationalised anyway,' she said.

She also criticised the government proposal to build it at Sheung Wan. 'Building it on the fringe is meaningless,' she said. 'It should only be built in the central business district.'

The construction would involve reclamation of 2,600 square metres for the helicopter pads - but the group is also offering an alternative using floating pontoons.

Wan Chai District Council chairwoman Ada Wong Ying-kay said they were confused about the project because it involved separate proposals from the government and the working group.

She said they have been discussing the matter since last year and were concerned the heliport would be a disturbance to residents living as far away as Causeway Bay.