Controversy has returned to the stone wall on Bonham Road in Mid-Levels, after the Highway Department decided to cut down four century-old Banyan trees along the structure last August.
The trees were axed a week after another tree on the same road fell at the height of a rainstorm, injuring two pedestrians.
On Tuesday, passersby found that a portion of the stone wall where the fallen tree was located has been covered by a layer of gray material in an apparent bid to cover traces of the tree roots left on the wall, Ming Pao Daily reported. The paint job is shown in a picture taken by Tsui Ho Yee.
The Highways Department used cement to fix the stone wall the day it felled the four large Bayan trees. It said at the time the color of the wall would be fixed in a month or two.
Jim Chi-yung, chair professor of geography at the Hong Kong University, said the color of the cement does not match that of the wall.
Jim said the Highways Department is making the wall even uglier after it cut down the trees last year.
It is obvious that authorities were trying to strengthen the stone wall but the outcome is not satisfactory, the professor said, adding that the wall now looks like an unfinished construction project.
Central and Western District Councillor Ted Hui Chi-fung also criticized the move, saying that instead of beautifying the wall, the department only worsened the wall’s appearance.
The move gives people the impression that the government wants to erase the public’s memory of the Banyan trees, and shows that it lacks the will to protect the city’s heritage trees, Hui said.
Democracy wall springs from axed banyan trees on Bonham Road (Nov. 26, 2015)
Axing of 4 trees on Bonham Road unnecessary, experts say (Aug. 10, 2015)
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