ultramarinus – beyond the sea

27 LUGARD ROAD – Controversy at the Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

Walking along the paved ring path of Lugard Road and Harlech Road at the Victoria Peak is probably the most popular short trail for viewing the magnificent skyline and natural setting of the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula.  It is accessible from the city either by a short ride on bus, microbus, taxi, car or tram, or on foot with a one-hour uphill hike.  Well signed and shaded, the hour-long stroll on the ring path is pleasantly suitable for all.

Since September last year, Lugard Road came under spotlight for a controversial development project that could see the century-old Edwardian mansion of 27 Lugard Road converted into a luxurious hotel.  The new acquirer of the property had already gained approval from the government despite public outcry in objection to the proposal.  Apart from the major renovation and additions to the historical building, the proposal also introduces some form of shuttle service for future guests staying in one of the 17 hotel rooms.  There is pubic concern for the now pedestrian-friendly road to be taken over by cars. Some parts of the road are already too narrow for small cars. How to manage regular traffic on the narrow Lugard Road without compromising pedestrian safety is one of the biggest concerns from the public.

In the past few months, Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong has been gathering support for a petition to revoke the project.  This organization raised concern about waste management and pollution generated from both the construction and operation of the business.  Surrounded mostly by Pok Fu Lam Country Park, the immediate area of Lugard Road belongs to a crucial green network at the centre of the Hong Kong Island which acts like a backyard of the downtown core.  The recent approval to the hotel project seems to signal and welcome future development near the greenbelt. Grounded on these worries, any negative environmental impact resulted from the project may represent a hefty loss for the public.

ImageCompleted in 1919, Lugard Road was originally built as a scenic promenade.  With the narrow width, the road can hardly serve as a proper road for vehicles.
ImageSubtropical vegetation, including this famous Indian Banyan tree, provide shading for most of the ring path.ImageThe lookouts along Lugard Road offer some of the most iconic views of Hong Kong.
ImageThe path that leads up to No. 27 of Lugard Road.
ImageAlliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong is gathering support for a petition to revoke the project.
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