Tsing Yi residents hit relocation timing

TSING Yi Island residents have accused the Government of dragging its feet over proposals to relocate two oil depots in three years.

The claim followed the gazetting yesterday of plans for dredging and reclamation work on the island, and the building of a pier at its southern tip, adjacent to the planned Container Terminal No 9.

The project will produce land for bulk storage and distribution of petroleum products and petrochemicals.

It facilitates the relocation of two oil depots situated next to Cheung On Estate in the northeastern part of the island.

Reclamation work will start this year and is expected to be completed in 1996.

But a spokesman for the Tsing Yi Concern Group, Mr Kwong Fu-sam, said residents had accepted the proposals reluctantly.

''We have made very clear our position in the numerouspetitions in recent years that we are objecting to bulk storage of dangerous goods on the island.

''We can accept this time that relocating the oil depots away from the residential area is better than doing nothing.

''But we cannot tolerate that it has to take three years to finish the reclamation project. It is incredibly slow,'' Mr Kwong said.

He demanded that the Government complete the work in two years.

He also called for enough safety measures to protect the residents when the petroleum products and petrochemicals were being transported during the relocation.

In October, after a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) explosion in Tuen Mun, the Government announced plans to relocate some dangerous goods stored on Tsing Yi to other parts of the territory.

Two unattended lorries containing kerosene and LPG exploded in a car park in September, causing concern about storage safety.

Tsing Yi residents were assured that the Government would not allow oil companies to increase the amount of oil and other dangerous goods stored on the island.

Meanwhile, a plan by the Water Supplies Department and the Hongkong and China Gas Company to construct submarine pipelines for supplying water and gas to North Lantau was also gazetted yesterday.

This is to cope with demands arising from the Chek Lap Kok airport and future development in the area.

Work is expected to begin in the second half of this year. The water pipes are due to be completed in 1995 and the gas pipes in 1996.