Legislative Assembly | Rosário outlines improvements to public works’ typhoon readiness

The local government is still waiting for a reply from the Hong-Kong- Zhuhai-Macau shuttle bus operator regarding the suspension of shuttle bus services when a typhoon Signal No.8, or higher level warning, is in force.

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo Arrais do Rosário revealed during yesterday’s Legislative Assembly (AL) that the local government had already made a proposal to the HKZMB shuttle bus operator.

“I am still waiting for a decision [from the operator],” said Rosário, who disagreed with the arrangement of specially scheduled buses during Signal No.8 storms for the HKZMB.

“It’s useless to take people to Praça de Ferreira Amaral because there are no buses to pick up the passengers at Amaral, which in turn also causes an inconvenience,” said Raimundo.

The Secretary also said that the local government was carrying out the fourth phase of construction of a stormwater pumping station in the Inner Harbor’s northern area to better handle future typhoons on the scale of Hato and Mangkhut.

A new pipeline at Rua do Visconde Paço de Arcos was expected to be completed this month, but the construction of culverts at Avenida de Demetrio Cinatti will take longer.

Meanwhile, the fourth phase of the construction of the 25th ferry terminal of the Inner Harbor is expected to start by the end of this year, and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The Marine and Water Bureau is discussing with the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) the details of flood control measures and of a contingency plan for the Inner Harbor. However, the project involves the installation of different types of pipelines, along the entire Inner Harbor, as well as power grids.

The government does not have a timetable for the project’s public tender and construction.

CEM has completed the renovation of more than 150 transformer rooms and related low-voltage distribution facilities in Macau.

In addition to typhoon measures discussed by the Secretary, Rosário also provided the Legislative Assembly with updates on several other public works projects, as well as general government plans.

Subsidies for maintenance, not renewal

Rosário said that the government does not have plans to provide a wider coverage of maintenance funds, in particular more subsidies for owners of private properties.

“Currently, there is no penalty against owners who do not maintain their buildings. The subsidies cover part of the maintenance costs for the owners, in particular, costs for maintenance of each building’s commons. Regarding private fragments, the subsidy does not cover them, and does not cover the [demolition] of houses,” said Rosário.

The Secretary explained that “if some of the building owners don’t care [about their properties], then the government will not care either. The subsidies are only for maintenance, not for building renewal.”

“We respect the owners. I think there is no reason for us [the government] to enter other people’s houses and carry out projects,” said Rosário. “The owners should take the initiative to maintain their buildings.”

75% of LRT workers are local residents

Approximately three in four Light Rapid Transit (LRT) workers are local Macau residents, Secretary Rosário reported yesterday.

“Over 500 people have been hired, with almost all vacancies filled. 75 percent of them are Macau residents. I think the ratio is not bad; most of them are Macau residents,” said Rosário.

In total, the MTR company hired approximately 570 people. Nearly 400 of the employees are university graduates. 150 are engineers and more than 200 are responsible for the LRT operation.

In addition, Rosário conceded that the government is subsidizing the LRT with large amounts of public money. However, “in the long term, it is a good measure” for the general benefit of the city.

Macau weather

differs from Zhuhai

In response to a proposal for weather alarm cooperation between Macau and Zhuhai, and among the Greater Bay Area cities, the local government stressed the unsuitability of such cooperation.

“Macau is very small. At one [bus] stop, the rain may be 10 mm, and at the next one it may be 50 mm. In Coloane, it [can be] 10 mm and, at the same time, at the Border Gate, it can be 50 mm. Do you want me to make a decision to reach an average? How can I do it?” Rosário questioned. “We have an even bigger difference [when compared with] Zhuhai and Hong Kong.”

A representative of the Macau Meteorological and geophysical Bureau (SMG) explained that, in terms of weather, “it is most difficult for Macau to forecast weather events when they are the closest to the city.”

Recently, the SMG proposed adding another warning signal for inclement weather as rainfall of 70 to 80 millimeters per hour, when recorded in Macau, can cause landslides or tree collapse.

DSAL training programs for workers

Meanwhile, when asked by lawmaker Leong Sun Iok about the “employment quality” in Macau, the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) revealed that it has organized several training courses for local residents to improve their working skills.

As of today, 80 enterprises are participating in DSAL’s equipment maintenance training program.

“You organized so many training courses. Were they really useful?” Mak Soi Kun questioned. “Some are useful. But what about other training courses of DSAL?”

“The government should work more with organizations. The government should create conditions to organize specific training courses with specific targets,” Mak suggested.

Recycling has potential for development

The director of the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA), Tam Vai Man, thinks that Macau’s recycling has the potential to head in a better direction.

During yesterday’s session at the AL, Tam said that “in big buildings which have a property management company, recycling can be enhanced.”

“We think that recycling has a huge potential for development,” added Tam.

‘Macau People, Macau Land’

The local government expects to submit a report on the study of the New Urban Zone land utilization, according to Liu Dexue, Director of the Legal Affairs Bureau.

“The study direction of ‘Macau People, Macau Land’ is correct. The government was very determined to plan for 28,000 public housing units on the New Urban Zone, in addition to 4,000 commercial housing units. It showed the efforts that the government made for ‘Macau People, Macau Land’,” said Liu.

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