A plan to build a barrier to reduce noise caused by musicians in Tuen Mun Park has been scrapped after studies found the wall might reflect traffic noise to nearby residents and that it would be more costly than expected.
The Architectural Services Department plans instead to build a new performance stage between the park's amphitheatre and spectator stands to tackle the problem.
The project will cost HK$1.6 million and is expected to be completed next January. It was proposed by Tuen Mun District Council last month.
The department's senior property services manager, Wu Ka-sing, explained the new stage would be designed to trap noise in the park.
'Singing groups mostly gather around the amphitheatre and perform there. They create a nuisance for residents nearby, as they face the residential area directly when they sing,' he said after attending a council meeting on the noise issue yesterday.
'Performers on the new stage will be singing with their backs to the residential area.'
Tuen Mun district councillor Josephine Chan Shu-ying, who heads a working group to solve the noise problem, said audience seats would be placed on the old stage if numbers were too great.
'The new stage will be just like a platform that can be viewed by two sides of the audience,' she said.
The revised plan came after a team of experts from the Architectural Services Department found traffic noise would be louder after building the noise barrier.
The often busy Tuen Mun Heung Sze Wui Road runs between the park and the nearby residential area.
'The department said noise from the busy road would be reflected to the residential area by the proposed noise barrier,' she said.
The department originally estimated the cost of building the noise barrier, 18 metres high and 45 metres wide, to be HK$3 million.
'The experts told us more money had to be spent on buying special materials for the barrier so that it could contain noise from the park and from road traffic. But there is no guarantee on the effect,' she said.
'We must act responsibly when handling public money. The cost suddenly jumped from HK$3 million to HK$5.9 million, so the council decided to abort the plan.'
The proposal to build the noise barrier was proposed as the government defended the way a complaint about noise had been handled in the park in May.
During scuffles among the crowd, an elderly onlooker fell and died. The 72-year-old man tripped on tree roots during the clash between Leisure and Cultural Services Department officers, who were investigating the complaint, and a crowd of about 100.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department received nine complaints about noise in the park in June, compared with 143 in February.