Estate protesters step up fight to ban trucks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 March, 2007, 12:00am

A protest by 400 people at the Central Government Offices yesterday propelled the battle of Fairview Park Boulevard back into the public eye, days before a meeting between Fairview Park Estate residents, management and transport officials over the use of the Yuen Long thoroughfare by heavy trucks.

Chanting 'stop big monsters in the boulevard' and 'keep the kids safe', the demonstrators threatened to escalate their protests if Wednesday's meeting - to be attended by Commissioner for Transport Alan Wong Chi-kong - did not result in 'constructive solutions'.

This could include a blockade of the boulevard that runs through the estate, similar to a protest organised last month, said Yuen Long district councillor Yau Tai-tai. The February blockade resulted in police being stationed at the trouble spot to 'advise' drivers of container trucks to use an alternative route.

The alternative route, Kam Pok Road, had been built for some time, but was opened only after trouble flared between residents and truck drivers when a 12-year-old boy cycling to school was killed in late January by a truck on the boulevard. But truck drivers are reluctant to use it because it is longer.

Ms Yau said 80 per cent of the heavy trucks that plied the boulevard had resumed using it when police ended their presence after the Lunar New Year.

She said the residents wanted the government to keep a promise made in 1998 that once the alternative route was built, trucks would not use the estate's road.

'The signs barring trucks longer than 7 metres from entering have already been erected. What they need to do is remove the black plastic bags covering the signs.'

She refused to comment on reports in Chinese newspapers claiming the developers had received money for allowing container trucks to use the boulevard. Fairview Park Property Management general manager Albert Lam Kwok-fai denied the claim.

A Transport Department spokesman said yesterday the department understood the concerns of Fairview Park residents and would closely monitor the traffic situation near the boulevard.

He said an application had been filed to speed up legal proceedings between the government and the Fairview Park developers.