Letters to the Editor, April 16, 2014
Parts of new cycle path in poor condition
Like many of my fellow residents of Yuen Leng, Tai Wo and Kau Lung Hang villages, I am delighted to finally see the long-awaited bike path come to fruition, and to join up with the existing bike paths in Tai Po and Fanling.
In spite of my delight, I have been horrified at the shoddy construction of several sections of the bike path, which seem to have been built by rank amateurs.
Kerb stones in numerous places have been smashed or badly aligned, while a number of sections of the surface of the bike path have been badly laid. These sections will not survive the coming rainy season without large potholes appearing, such is the poor construction.
As if this was not bad enough, a section of the adjoining footpath to the north of Kau Lung Hang has already subsided badly, clearly a result of the embankment not being properly compacted when the formation was originally built.
Apart from the probability that cyclists may be injured at some point in the future when they encounter such poor construction, the fact that this project has been funded by Hong Kong taxpayers is a huge cause for concern.
Clearly, there has been little or no government supervision of this project, and the contractor has been allowed to build the very cheapest product available. Long sections of the path have already been opened but the construction has yet to be finished. This is an accident waiting to happen.
The question taxpayers should ask is why this project has not been properly supervised. Also, will the main contractor be made to carry out remedial measures to replace the shoddy work that has been done so far?
Hong Kong cyclists deserve much more than what has so far been provided.
Richard Castka, Tai Po
Events that damage trails not acceptable
The Country Park Ordinance mandates the Country and Marine Parks Authority "to protect the vegetation and wildlife inside country parks".
It prohibits the "destruction of or interference with vegetation within a country park or special area or the doing of anything therein which will interfere with the soil". In law, "special land" refers to "government land" or "any land which is not leased land".
Against this common-sense and statutory backdrop, I would urge the authority to exercise diligent and necessary prohibition against organised events that deface our countryside as they destroy vegetation and erode topsoil.
A case in point was the running competition that took place in High West on the third Sunday of March. It involved two groups. One group of competitors followed the steps up the peak then, bypassing a "No Entry" signpost, they came down a natural trail on the west slope. The other group negotiated a natural trail along the south slope from near the Harlech Road rest area down to the service reservoir in Pok Fu Lam.
These trails run through thickets and along narrow passages by crags in some of Hong Kong Island's preciously few remaining natural habitats. They are not part of the hiking trails managed by the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
If only occasional hikers tread in cool seasons, the flora and soil along the way may recover and reclaim the trails in summer. But cross-country competitions can cause lasting damage. With hundreds of joggers pounding the trails, the earth would be hardened into scars.
Like the harbourfront promenade, natural trails are communal areas open for public enjoyment. The Country and Marine Parks Authority must prohibit organised events that imperil or disturb other users of these public areas, and ruin the natural landscape.
Pierce Lam, Central
Plans to ease congestion on MTR flawed
I thank Kendrew Wong, media relations manager of the MTR Corporation, for his reply ("MTR's latest train service enhancement will ease crowding", April 3) to my letter ("Chance to enlarge station squandered", March 25).
Overcrowding at Admiralty platform level is serious and I hope the measures Mr Wong mentions will alleviate what is now a potentially dangerous situation. But I doubt that planning stage impact figures of the new lines will prove reliable. It is relatively easy to gauge figures based on residents, but quantifying the impact of tourists is more difficult, and I doubt full provision has been planned.
The problems at Admiralty are due to the massive increase in tourist numbers.
Mr Wong is correct that, during the peak evening rush hour, residents will be returning home in southerly and westerly directions along the new South Island and West Island lines. However, tourists at this peak time will be heading in the opposite direction towards the busiest, and almost saturated, sections on the Island Line from Admiralty to Causeway Bay, and on the Tsuen Wan Line from Admiralty to Tsim Sha Tsui.
The MTR says it will closely monitor the situation. Good luck; I think you will need it.
Frank Lee, Wan Chai
Multipurpose incinerator good for city
With our landfills nearing capacity, the government and citizens must not under-estimate the seriousness of the waste problem, something that needs to be solved now.
What is needed in a developed city like Hong Kong is an effective waste management policy. All residents must accept their social responsibilities, including reducing volumes of waste generated. There has to be a change of mindset.
I think a lot can be achieved by building a multipurpose incinerator. There is strong public opposition, but people can be won over. In some countries, people have accepted these plants even though some, for example in Japan, are in scenic spots. One in Copenhagen will have an artificial ski slope. The incinerator in Hong Kong can be used not just to burn waste, but as an environmental education centre.
While this offers one way to reduce the amount of rubbish that is generated, education is also very important.
If we want a change of attitude among citizens, we have to start when they are young.
The curriculum of general studies in primary schools and humanities at junior secondary level can include the topic of talking about taking social responsibility and ways to treat waste.
Young people will grow up realising how important this is and the problem of large volumes of refuse being generated can be dealt with effectively in the long term.
Lucas Tong, Tai Po
Registration system should be tighter
You see volunteers collecting for charities during a flag day virtually every Saturday of the year.
However, some people appear to have doubts about whether the money actually goes to those who need it.
Some pedestrians are keen to help, but they hold back if it is a charity they are unfamiliar with.
I think that, in order to allay people's concerns, the registration system for charities needs to be tightened.
Unfortunately, there are people on the streets who claim to be collecting for charities, but they are actually just trying to cheat passers-by.
If there was a tighter registration system, people would be more confident about giving to charities.
This would be mutually beneficial as the charities would be likely to get more donations.
Dorothy Chan Tsz-ying,Tseung Kwan O