Walkers in final bid to block handrails

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2011, 12:00am


Central and Western district councillors will decide tomorrow whether to press ahead with plans for handrails on a popular Hong Kong Island trail despite a petition signed by nearly 550 walkers.

Supporters of the proposal to erect the safety barriers along Hatton Road in Lung Fu Shan Country Park would submit a funding application to the council's facilities management committee, council vice-chairman Stephen Chan Chit-kwai said.

'The railings are needed. We put forward the proposal because a number of elderly people told us the walking trail is dangerous,' Chan said.

But walker-turned-activist Vivian Leung Tai Yuet-kam is unconvinced.

'This incident shows the arrogance of our district councillors,' the chairwoman of the Lung Fu Shan Concern Group said. 'Public opposition is very clear. But they insist on installing railings. If they are not here to represent us, why did they want to be politicians in the first place?'

The Department of Justice declined to give legal advice on whether the councillors could legally be held liable for any accidents without the railings, saying it did not advise non-governmental bodies.

Leung's group is urging walkers to write protest letters to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Director of Home Affairs Pamela Tan Kam Mi-wah and the chairman of the district council's district facility management committee, Sydney Lee Chi-hang. 'As long as the funding hasn't been approved, there is still a chance to stop them from damaging the walking trail,' she said.

The erection of railings in Hatton Road was first proposed by the Transport Department in 2008. The department removed some railings it installed after public opposition.

But after the department abandoned the railings project in June 2009, the district council took it over as a minor works project.

The council told Leung late last year that it would go ahead with erecting railings, prompting the concern group to raise the petition.

Nearly 550 signed the group's letter, while 10 said they supported the railings project.