Proposal may end long-running feud over road at Fairview Park

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2009, 12:00am

The government is studying a proposal that may end a long-running dispute over rights to use a private road in Yuen Long's Fairview Park development.

The proposal for the government to shoulder the maintenance cost of Fairview Park Boulevard came after a standoff between residents of the estate and nearby villagers who blocked the entrance yesterday.

The Tai Sang Wai villagers, many of them truck drivers, are angry over moves by Fairview Park management to bar them from using the road, a short cut between New Territories container parks and the border at Lok Ma Chau. Yesterday's conflict was sparked by signs put up on the village's main road by the management office warning them to stay off the disputed boulevard. It was the latest in a series of such moves by the office since a 12-year-old cyclist was killed by a truck on the boulevard in January 2007.

About 20 elderly villagers arrived at the estate at about 8.30am, demanding the sign be removed from the village. They sat at the entrance, blocking inbound and outbound traffic, after failing to get a reply.

At one point, more than 40 vehicles were queued up at the entrance.

Yuen Long district officers, police and San Tin Rural Committee chairman Man Fu-wan met both parties, trying to seek a resolution.

Mr Man said the government would study whether it could shoulder the repair and maintenance costs of the boulevard. 'If the government pays for the road's maintenance, obviously it would want something in return, such as an agreement to open the road for trucks,' he said.

Fairview Park's developer had agreed with village elders when it bought the land decades ago that their descendants would always be able to use the road, he said.

The Home Affairs Bureau said it would discuss the issue with all parties and put forward a proposal shortly. The management office also agreed at the meeting to remove the signs in Tai Sang Wai within the week.

But the office's general manager, Albert Lam Kwok-fai, insisted a gate would soon be installed on the boulevard to stop trucks from entering.

'It is not just the maintenance cost, but also noise and safety issues,' he said.

'We already sent notices to our 20,000 residents that we will install a gate at the boulevard shortly, and many support the idea.'

Tai Sang Wai villager Wong Wai-keung promised chaos and more blockades if the road was sealed off.

A bypass, Kam Pok Road, was opened last year as an alternative for the villagers and truck drivers, but Lok Ma Chau-Hong Kong Freight Association chairman Chiang Chi-wai said it was a more dangerous option because it was a much narrower road and had two-way traffic.