• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 5:03am

Environmentalists divided over 'hideous' Mid-Levels slope

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 May, 2011, 12:00am

A Mid-Levels slope that has recently undergone work intended to beautify it has instead been described as hideous by its neighbours.

The slope, in Stubbs Road, originally sprayed with concrete, has been coated with a product called Elegant Stone designed to make it look like the granite rocks that abound in Hong Kong.

'The results are terrible,' Melanie Moore, a spokeswoman for the Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group.

'The public has been asking the government to use natural vegetation for years,' the Peak resident said, describing the appearance as hideous.

Not all environmentalists agree with Moore. Conservancy Association chief executive Ken So Kwok-yin, a tree specialist who researches natural vegetation on slopes, said beauty was in the eye of the beholder and engineers had to decide whether a slope was suitable for vegetation.

So said some slopes were too steep for natural vegetation and it could be difficult for engineers to solidify their structure after removing the original concrete surface.

'It is difficult to judge if a slope is beautiful or not,' So said. 'Whether it can be covered with vegetation depends on engineers' calculations. It involves safety issues as well.'

Slope works in Mid-Levels and country parks have been a controversial topic among green groups and concern groups, who are oppose the artificial approach adopted by the government.

The Stubbs Road site, near Adventist Hospital, is one of 15 where Elegant Stone is being tried in Hong Kong. The Civil Engineering and Development Department said the gradient, from 70 to 80 degrees, was too steep for vegetation.

'However, to maximize the greening opportunities, climbers and creepers have been planted at the crest of the slope,' a spokeswoman said, adding that the same technique had been tried on a slope along Lai King Hill Road.

She said the department had consulted the incorporated owners of the nearby residential developments and the Adventist Hospital, but had received no adverse comments.

The spokeswoman said the coating was just a few millimetres thick and was suitable for areas with space constraints. The work was completed in September at a cost of HK$290,000.

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