Hiker urges upgrade of 'dangerous' walking trail

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 June, 2006, 12:00am

A hiker is urging the government to upgrade a walking trail from Repulse Bay to Tai Tam Country Park, saying it has become a hazard for walkers and elderly residents taking their early-morning exercise.

Marco Foehn, a long-time resident of Repulse Bay, said a lack of maintenance, poor directions and a lack of collaboration between government departments meant the path was an accident waiting to happen.

'On Sundays throughout the year I see large groups of elderly walkers enjoying the beautiful countryside hiking part of Wilson's Trail or along the catchwater. Many of them want to break their walk by going down to Repulse Bay, but this path is not safe and not maintained at all,' he said.

'Part of the path follows a stream course, making it extremely dangerous after rainfall. And this is the only logical way for people living in Repulse Bay to reach the country park.'

He pointed to marks left on trees and branches lining the path, seeping resin, where elderly walkers 'cling for their lives' as they descend the slippery slope.

The trail is further complicated by the existence of two access routes to the country park, which at first appear to be the main path but lead to very steep slopes built two years ago by construction workers to ferry materials to upgrade the catchwater.

'The only other option for hikers to get from Repulse Bay to the country park is by walking down Repulse Bay Road to Stanley, where it's dangerous because there are no pavements,' said Mr Foehn.

He first complained to the Southern District Office in 2004, but they replied that the trail was 'not a proper hiking path as there are streams and slopes', and that to build a path would involve 'felling tremendous amount[s] of trees', which is against government policy.

WWF chairman Markus Shaw said proper maintenance now could spare the path from concrete mixers in the future.