Large trucks a safety hazard, court told

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2007, 12:00am

Fairview Park residents only withdrew objections to the government building a road through their development because they believed a ban would be placed on large trucks using it, a court heard yesterday.

Instead, when Kam Pok Road opened, the stretch of Fairview Park Boulevard became a major route for container trucks moving freight between the Lok Ma Chau border crossing and container depots in the New Territories, the Court of First Instance was told.

The claims were made on the first day of a judicial review before Recorder Gerard McCoy SC into the government's decision in 2005 to allow large trucks to use the road.

Signs, which ban trucks longer than seven metres from using the road, have been installed since the filing of the review application, but they are covered and have no effect.

The hearing was brought forward from October following protests at Fairview Park after the death in January of a 12-year-old boy who was knocked off his bicycle and run over by a truck.

Fairland Overseas Development, formerly known as Canadian Overseas Development, which owns part of the land used by the road, has complained that the trucks constitute a safety hazard, are damaging the road and reducing people's quality of life.

Fairland says it has a contract with the government stating that objections to Kam Pok Road would be dropped in exchange for a commitment to erect the signs.

The government argues that even if such a contract exists, which it denies, there were no officers involved in the process who were authorised to make such a pledge.

Much of yesterday was taken up with argument over an application by Fairland to amend its pleaded case. It wanted to include a request, if successful in its application, that it be granted the land used to complete Kam Pok Road.

Mr Recorder McCoy said the amendment was identical to one discussed between the parties last year before being abandoned.

For that reason and because a major road had been built upon it, it would be impossible for the land to be returned in its original state.

Mr Recorder McCoy therefore denied the application for the amendment and ordered the review to continue. The hearing continues today.