Not satisfied with explanations

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 12:00am

Last year a pleasant row of trees stood along the side of the lane leading off Tin Hau Temple Road to the block at Nos 18-24.

When the old block there was demolished, all the trees were felled. The new block is finished, but there are no new trees. Instead, the road has been widened, a new pavement has been put in, and the space where the trees stood is concreted over.

I complained about this in May to various government departments. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Lands Department of the Hong Kong East District Office, replied that the road was widened to allow for emergency vehicle access and to ensure traffic safety. Permission to cut down the trees was given by both the AFCD and the then Director of Urban Services, they said, and a slope nearby has been replanted to compensate.

The explanations seem odd. Emergency vehicles have used this road for many years. Indeed, convoys of large cement lorries used it for months to get to the construction site before the widening. The new, wider junction is also more dangerous. Pedestrians now must walk farther to cross the road and have a smaller pavement area on each side, while vehicles go much faster. The new trees are in a different place altogether and even the replanting is much sparser than before.

In fact, there is still plenty of space to put in a row of trees where the old ones stood. The government departments which gave the go-ahead for the needless destruction should ensure that proper replanting takes place. They should also arrange for the restoration of the larger pavement area to improve safety at the junction.

It would be helpful to the neighbourhood too if they, or whichever other departments are responsible, required the developer to remove the large quantities of reinforcing rods and sacks of rubble left in the alleyway in front of New Eastern Terrace and to repair the wall and steps broken by heavy equipment.