Plan stalls for LPG truck site
MOVES to improve public safety by setting up a network of secure overnight parking areas for trucks carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have stalled because of a lack of sites.
Planning and tenancy wrangles have already hindered the creation of the first site in Tuen Mun and proposals for 12 more throughout the territory have been delayed indefinitely.
The Tuen Mun site should have become operational in August but work has still not started because of difficulties in agreeing a short-term tenancy.
In other areas, sites the Government thought suitable have been turned down by district boards, although the boards have also been left in the dark with none or very little consultation by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD).
The creation of proper parking facilities with 24-hour security and fire fighting equipment has been a top priority since five people were injured and 23 vehicles wrecked after an LPG truck exploded in Tuen Mun in September 1992.
Since then the Government has wanted to ban operators from parking their trucks in public areas overnight. The only current restriction is that trucks must not be parked within 50 metres of a residential block.
The EMSD admitted there was a problem, but remained optimistic.
'If everything goes smoothly we are hoping to have the Tuen Mun site in operation in November,' said the EMSD chief engineer for gas safety and enforcement, Ho Kwong-wai.
Four months ago Mr Ho said he hoped the site would come into operation in July or August.
He said the intervening delay had been caused because the oil companies would like some financial concession on the short-term tenancy in return for providing security and fire protection.
'We have requested the Lands Department come up with a suitable rental for the site,' Mr Ho said.
Mr Ho also admitted there had been little progress setting up parking areas in other parts of Hong Kong.
Plans to develop a site in Western have been postponed after the initial site was rejected by the district board and local operators who wanted to park ordinary trucks alongside LPG wagons because of a general shortage of parking spaces.
A site was also found in Eastern but has been earmarked for port work.
But the former chairman of Eastern District Board, Shum Choi-sang, revealed the EMSD had not consulted the board to find alternative sites in the district.
The secretary of the Eastern Board, Chan Shum-tat, confirmed there had been no official contact.
'There has not been much progress,' said Mr Ho who said the EMSD was investigating possible sites in Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan.
'There are not many areas suitable for wagons. We are still hoping sites can be found but physical conditions in Hong Kong mean sites are limited,' he added.