Facilities at Hong Kong’s country parks will be “enhanced” with a new HK$500 million fund, finance chief Paul Chan announced on Wednesday.

Sunset Peak. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Delivering his 2021 budget at the legislature, Chan said the government will be “providing recreational elements like additional lookout points, treetop adventure and glamping sites, improving toilet facilities and barbeque and picnic sites, and revitalising some wartime relics by converting them into open museums so as to enrich visitors’ experience and enjoyment at the countryside.”

Rolled out over the coming two or three years, the new facilities will have a green design and low-carbon approach in order to integrate them with the surroundings. The needs of all age groups and the disabled will be announced for, Chan added.

Sai Wan stargazing terrace. Photo: Apple Daily.

In 2019, a controversial 30-person “stargazing terrace” was opened in a Sai Kung country park, costing taxpayers HK$2.3 million.

Football pitches

Meanwhile, a five-year plan to modify 170 public government-run play spaces was announced to “incorporate more elements of fun, creativity and challenge,” Chan said.

HK$318 million will be earmarked to upgrade 70 football pitches, increasing the number of 5-a-side pitches meeting international standards. “The general public, in particular young people, will have more opportunities to play football regularly and develop their potential, thereby contributing to the long-term development of football in Hong Kong,” Chan added.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.