How Hong Kong’s New Territories villagers can help the city become more liveable
The New Territories represent the garden of Hong Kong, and our government should do more to beautify and make it convenient for residents, cyclists, tourists, hikers and day trippers, disabled or able-bodied, to enjoy the scenery, fresh air and local culture.
While eco-tourism is becoming one of the core industries of Hong Kong, the environment, health, safety and liveability for villagers should be taken care of first.
We are aware of the studies recommending that the city release government lands (such as the Fanling golf course and brownfield sites) and make them available for building more residential flats. No doubt this aims to strike at the “favouritism” towards the establishments utilising these government lands.
In the latest Hong Kong budget, our financial secretary advocates “enhancing liveability” and “tourism” – and he should be open-minded to any positive suggestions from citizens for the betterment of Hong Kong.
There are many small plots of government land lying unused, and often covered with construction waste and garbage. The Lands Department notices and metallic posts against illegal use and parking have become eyesores and a laughing stock, because cars are often seen still parked inside the fenced area.
Another issue is health and safety; villagers often have to carry elderly persons on wheelchairs up flights of stairs; same with emergency personnel carrying patients on stretchers. These small plots of government land could be utilised and beautified for access by pedestrians, stretchers, wheelchairs and emergency motorcycles. However, suggestions for improvement are often met with bureaucratic practice.
We are socially conscientious hikers. In our opinion, these environmental, health and safety issues could easily be addressed if our Food and Health and Home Affairs secretaries and the director of lands initiated citizen-friendly policies to help many liberal-minded villagers realise their suggestions for beautifying the environment, and improving the living environment by utilising these small plots of government land.
We have confidence in our chief executive and her team’s commitment to look into these suggestions.
Leslie Lee, Sai Wan Ho