Banyan tree roots tied up after one complaint

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 June, 2010, 12:00am

It was a complaint from one ordinary Hongkonger that prompted the government to tie up the aerial roots of the banyan trees growing on an old stone wall on Hollywood Road, the Development Bureau said yesterday.

'I am impressed by the government's efficiency. They tied up all the roots in bundles just based on one public complaint,' said a driver who often parked his car next to the trees. A spokeswoman for the bureau confirmed only one public complaint was received, which said the roots obstructed the road and caused inconvenience.

Workers tied up the roots with string earlier this week, a move conservationists fear will threaten the long-term survival of the trees.

The bureau declined to say which department made the decision or what follow-up measures would be taken. The spokeswoman said the newly established tree management office, which does not yet have a head manager, and the heritage commissioner were working together to consult tree experts on how the roots should be dealt with.

The driver said the trees offered shade for his car and he did not find the roots a nuisance. 'I think the government wants to stop the roots from thickening. But will it stop the trees from growing? They should consider loosening the knots a bit.'

The banyan trees are on the wall of the old police married quarters and are listed as trees that need to be protected when the site is developed.

Central and Western district councillor Kam Nai-wai questioned the effectiveness of the tree management office, which was established in March.