The origin of this guided tour is the “The Backyard Trails Pilot Project” supported by Parks and Trails and TrailWatch, which selected Kam Shan in Kwai Chung as one of the research trails. After the results of the first phase were released in April 2023, a community-based organisation Shek Lei Communities (石籬改建關注組) contacted us to understand the content of the report further. Subsequently, we discussed and agreed to organise a public guided tour, aiming to deepen public awareness of Backyard Trails, Green Belt rezoning, and other related issues.

 

The activity was originally to take place at the end of June but due to adverse weather, it was postponed to a Sunday afternoon in early July. Despite the hot weather during the peak of summer, the response from participants was overwhelming. The number of registrations far exceeded the available spots and a total of 17 people attended the event.

 

Kristy, a member of the Shek Lei Communities led the participants to explore the area, passing through nearby public housing estates and pedestrian footbridges, then walked to the entrance of Shek Lei Hang Village. Along the way, she explained planning issues related to housing and transportation in the area to the participants. We elaborated on the definition of Backyard Trails as stated in the research report - Shek Lei Hang Village and the nearby Backyard Trails are situated on the fringe of the Green Belt and Kam Shan Country Park, with a walking distance of less than 15 minutes to densely populated residential areas. Due to its convenient location, this Backyard Trail has long attracted residents from the district.

 

Kristy shared the historical stories of Shek Lei Hang Village and the personal life of her and her family living in the village. Walking past the terraced field remains and passing by temples on both sides, the group arrived at a pavilion where participants took a break, replenished water, and enjoyed the breeze. Continuing along the Kam Shan Catchwater (金山引水道), there was a resident-built "Tai Chi Garden" with several chairs. This perfectly reflected the common situation of Backyard Trails where the residents consider the Backyard Trail as their own home. This experience gave us food for thought on whether residents should be included in Backyard Trail management.

 

The participants later arrived at a stream, surrounded by the beauty of nature and they listened attentively to its sounds. Kristy’s dog, "Fei Jai," couldn't wait to jump into the water, amusing everyone with its playful antics. At the end of the tour, Kristy shared her feelings about facing the demolition of her home and she got  emotional for a moment. The participants were touched by her words and showed their support with applause, all hoping for a better future for this place.

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