I enjoy jogging along the catchwater channel from Shing Mun reservoir to TaiLam reservoir.
I see many morning walkers on my run, mostly elderly people, who enjoy planting flowers and small shrubs by the roadside. These rows of plants and flowers which are now in full bloom, are a wonderful sight. They add colour to the landscape and make my jog an enjoyable experience. They make up, to some extent, for the unsightly slopes that are covered with sprayed concrete. The old people who do this gain enormous pleasure from their endeavours. However, having chatted with some of the gardeners, it now appears the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) is saying they cannot cultivate these areas because they are within country park land.
Officials say such planting violates country park regulations. The department has already erected fences at some locations, to stop the gardeners from continuing their work.
I would like to make a suggestion that would benefit the public and the Government.
Would the AFCD consider leasing some plots of land where it was deemed safe and where there was sufficient space for people to grow flowers and trees within country park areas?
It could introduce a licensing system with a fixed rate and a fixed lease period, say, $500 for 100 sq ft, for one year.
This would bring extra revenue to the Government. And it would bring a lot of pleasure to people who are eager to take up gardening.
I would be grateful if the AFCD could comment on my suggestion, through these columns.