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From Granite Quarry to Park

It was necessary to remove the top three feet of bedrock from the old quarry and backfill with decomposed granite and soil conditioners to make plantings possible. Hibiscus tiliaceus, Lagerstroemia speciosa and Crateva religiosa were among the 91 trees transplanted.

A Hong Kong quarry in Jordan Valley (Kwun Tong District) that ended rock extraction in 1976 is now Choi Hei Road Park, an open space with a grand U-shaped green belt for the enjoyment of about 35,000 residents of the Choi Wan Road public housing development.

A "geopark" theme was adopted to conserve the natural granite, a rock type commonly found in Hong Kong. The plan was to develop and integrate the area with a "green theme" to reduce the urban heat island effect of the granite.

To overcome the 35 meter level difference on the site and avoid disturbing the existing services under the drainage reserve, a 660-meter meandering walking trail has ramps and steel bridges, integrated with external steps for convenient access for park users.

Indigenous granite specimens and information boards are displayed along the walking trail to help visitors appreciate the beauty of the rocks and enrich their understanding about geo-conservation and geology.

Mass tree and shrub plantings are along the park periphery. The project has 91 mature trees, including Hibiscus tiliaceus, Lagerstroemia speciosa, and Crateva religiosa, which were transplanted from another public works project. Planting in an ex-quarry site is a particular challenge, as it was largely barren of vegetation and there was a distinct lack of a topsoil layer. It was necessary to remove the top three feet of bedrock and replace it with decomposed granite and soil conditioners. This, plus localized soil mounds, allowed the planting of large trees and shrubs.

The park offers a play area, fitness equipment for the older set, a T'ai chi garden and a foot massage path.

The design of the public toilet facilities made use of natural lighting and ventilation to reduce energy consumption. Greening opportunities included at-grade planters inside the public toilets and roof greening. Solar lamps at key locations provide necessary illumination, while promoting environmental awareness.

Landscape architect Chan Hon-wing was quoted as saying the main challenge was to produce a design with "environmental, social-behavioral and aesthetic features."

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August 24, 2019, 10:37 pm PDT

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