Environmental group Green Sense is opposing a government plan to axe at least 3,284 trees in the construction of a bicycle trail between Yuen Long and Sheung Shui, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Among those to be affected are trees that are more than a century old, according to Apple Daily.
Green Sense chief executive Roy Tam Hoi-pong said the government should not turn the cycling path project into a massacre of trees.
Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po revealed on his web blog on Sunday that the 82-kilometer bicycle trail would connect the eastern and western parts of the New Territories when it is completed.
Chan said construction work for the Yuen Long to Tuen Mun section is expected to be completed by end of this year, three years behind the original schedule, while the Sheung Shui to Yuen Long section will be done by the end of 2020.
The government put forward the proposal to build a bike trail linking east and west New Territories in 2008, with the Sheung Shui to Ma On Shan section opened for public use in 2014.
It is estimated that bikers could travel from Ma On Shan to Tuen Mun in around six hours on the trail.
Chan said authorities are carefully assessing the construction of the Tsuen Wan to Tuen Mun section, as there are many environmental issues, including steep slopes, beaches, coastal lines and private properties along Castle Peak Road.
Consultancies have been hired for the Tuen Mun to So Kwun Wat section in order to arrive at a design that is cost-efficient and acceptable to the public.
Chan promised to accelerate the construction of the project so that citizens could enjoy biking as leisure and exercise.
It is also hoped that the project will help promote cycling as a sport, and nurture more athletes such as track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze, who won the bronze in the 2012 London Olympics, and cross-country mountain bike medalist Chan Chun-hing.
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