Save the promenade

Save the promenade

During the summer holidays I went on nightly runs along the Ma On Shan Promenade. It is a beautiful area that includes a cycling track that stretches 3.2 kilometres along the Tolo Harbour.

But I was shocked to learn that the Hong Kong government is looking to reclaim land along the coast of Wu Kai Sha just two years after the promenade was built.

Despite protests by residents, there is no sign that the government plans to halt this development.

This is not surprising given that officials reclaim land whether people like it or not, saying there is a huge demand for land in the city.

However, it is disappointing to see how short-term our city planning is. The HK$220 million spent in developing the promenade could have been used for other purposes if the government had planned to reclaim land along the Ma On Shan coast all along.

If the reclamation goes ahead, it'll be a shame to lose such a nice stretch of public open space. Although the completed project along the seaside after reclamation might be grander than the present promenade, local residents will lose a common public space during construction.

Development of the area began five years ago when the Civil Engineering and Development Department carried out seawall work along the coast. Shortly afterwards, the Architectural Services Department started construction work to transform a previously bleak seafront into an exciting area for the public to enjoy. It was completed in June 2010.

Overlooking Sha Tin Hoi by the sea, it has a magnificent view of the Pat Sin Leng mountains.

Besides a jogging trail, it has several children's playgrounds, fitness stations for the elderly and tai chi areas. There are even a few wind turbines and solar and wind lamps, which help educate people about renewable sources of energy.

It's a great place for anyone to take a stroll, well away from the high-rise buildings and the polluted air in the inner city.

On my nightly runs, I saw the elderly and youngsters alike exercising along the promenade, lovebirds sitting on benches admiring the sea view, and many people walking their dogs. I saw families taking a walk together after having dinner and even groups of students hanging out instead of being glued to their computers or televisions at home.

It's truly a vital part of the lives of many residents in the area and fits in with the government's desire for people to lead more active lifestyles.

With so many benefits for citizens, the government could perhaps think twice before reclaiming the land and destroying such a beautiful part of our city.

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