Top official must stop tree-felling folly

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 December, 2002, 12:00am

Lung Yan Road leads up to the top of Beacon Hill. It is quiet and trees line the outer side.

It affords a panorama of Kowloon and the islands of Hong Kong. A month or so ago several signposts were placed there by the Civil Engineering Department, proclaiming 'Dangerous Hillside', and stating that work was to begin, although no commencement or completion date was entered. As far as I can see, the hillsides are tree-laden, leading to nowhere below, and pose no hazard to anyone. Last week, near the location where the MacLehose Trail crosses the road, I saw that work had, in fact, started and that nine to 12 metre-high trees were being felled over a vast expanse of hillside. I urge Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Dr Sarah Liao Sau-tung to halt this folly immediately. There is no reason to destroy the countryside of Hong Kong at the taxpayer's expense.

Several years ago, two of my letters concerning slope signposts were published in the South China Morning Post, but no answer was ever received from the relevant government departments as to why these ugly, ubiquitous signposts were necessary. It appears that there is absolutely no accountability in the operation of public works projects by the Civil Engineering and Highways departments.

There is no environmental conscience and that is a pity because 40 per cent of Hong Kong is country park and besides reasons for the care of the environment, wealth could be generated from ecotourism. The policy adopted by the government is to cement over pathways and not to preserve their natural beauty. Surely the money could be better spent. How many drinking water locations, for example, are there along the MacLehose Trail? Yet people have died from dehydration when walking on this trail.

Come on, Dr Liao, stop chopping down beautiful trees and cementing over trails. Do something original and helpful to improve the natural beauty of the Hong Kong countryside.