Disruptive $700,000 "Victorian Railing" proposal along Old Peak Road hiking trail

We are calling on concerned members of the public, conservationists and hikers to halt a HK$700,000 proposed fencing project on the Old Peak Road hiking trail which is a waste of public funds and disruptive to the environment.
 
The project has been proposed to address a single complaint that the hiking trail poses a danger to pedestrian safety.  However, the trail has been used on a daily basis by the public, tourists and avid hikers for over 80 years without a single accident report.  In addition, a foot-tall concrete curb already exists.  An opinion poll carried out by Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group on Old Peak Road in mid January this year showed that 102 out of 108 trail users including visitors from Guangzhou and France is against the proposal but the views has not stopped the project.

The public has until 31st May to write to the Transport Department and the Central and Western District Office to voice their opinion before yet another man-made disturbance clutters our nature trails.  Please submit your views by e-mail
docw at had.gov.hk or fax (2542 4044) to the Central and Western District Office. 

Vivian Leung
Chairman
Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group

龍虎山自然面貌關注組電郵

E-MAIL: lung fushancg at gmail.com

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Martin Williams's picture

Vivian Leung has sent you a group e-mail from Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group
 
Hi,
 
Thank you for responding to our petition against the Transport Department’s proposal to erect railings on Old Peak Road.     For your information, today the SCMP has published our letter to the editor entitled "Railings plan was government assault on the environment", a copy of which is enclosed.

We received over 200 e-mail responses from members of the public, who strongly opposed the railings, as well as the government’s rampant shotcreting of Hong Kong’s country parks, and its installation of signs warning of every conceivable danger and unnecessary railings over catch waters.
 
In view of the public’ frustration over the government’s assault on our environment, we are planning more actions and will seek assistance from Legco members.  We are in the process of making a photo journal with examples of unnecessary and unsightly railings in order to urge the government to change their practices.  An example is attached for your reference.

 
We would like to ask your assistance in sending photos of railings in your neighborhood to us in the coming two weeks.  When you send photos, please indicate the location of the railings and provide the slope registration number if available.  Please also feel free to send photos of unnecessary concreting and any other works that are invading our green space.  If you have any ideas that would help our work, please kindly tell us.
 
For your information, on May 18, 2009, Transport Department requested Highways Department to remove some newly erected railings on Hatton Road, Lung Fu Shan after our petition to them .

Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to hearing from you.
 
Regards.
 
Vivian Leung
Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group 龍虎山自然面貌關注組
Our Mission is to preserve, protect and restore the environment and heritage in Hong Kong
 
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Letter to the Editor
South China Morning Post
Railings plan was government assault on the environment
on Jun 03, 2009

We thank all those who responded to our appeal against a proposal by the Transport Department to erect railings along Old Peak Road ("Scrap fence plan for hiking trail", May 13). We have received 400 e-mails and signatures from people who objected to the proposal; eight people supported it.
    The railings would have been erected soon after Lunar New Year, if we had not heard of this project. At that point several government departments and district councillors had already backed the project. Our petitions and questions resulted in the government embarking on a second consultation exercise. This resulted in an outpouring of public frustration, which has brought a temporary pause to this project.
    The Transport Department and district office must listen to what people say and cancel the project. Officials and councillors should realise that ignoring the views of the public undermines public trust in government.
    The Home Affairs Department's website states that its role is to "enhance channels of communication between the government and the public". However, our two requests to the district office to arrange a meeting between us, the Transport Department and the representatives of other parties to the consultation produced no results. Instead the district office said it felt it should maintain a neutral position and did not think a meeting was appropriate.
    The consultation exercise by the Central and Western District Office has provided only limited information. The consultation paper said that the proposal was to erect railings "only at critical points where there are serious potential pedestrian safety hazards". No mention was made of there being no reports of accidents on this road since it was built in the 1920s or that the project was prompted by one complainant.
    This attempt to save us from accidents that have never occurred is the latest in what we see as government-instigated assaults on our environment. The proliferation of fences in our country parks and in the city must end.
Vivian Leung, chairman, Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group