Astronomical Waste?: Netizens mock new stargazing terrace as money misspent

Photo via Facebook/AFCD.
Photo via Facebook/AFCD.

As if astronomy nerds didn’t have it bad enough, a newly built “stargazing terrace” in Sai Kung is being mocked by netizens ahead of its opening in March.

With seemingly little public consultation, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Architectural Services Department started building the terrace on a campsite near Sai Wan Beach in Sai Kung Country Park in October. It’s expected to be completed at the end of this month.

In a Facebook post published yesterday, the AFCD said that the terrace will feature an amphitheater-style ring of seats that have been ergonomically designed so visitors can look up at the stars in comfort, rather than lying on the grass. (Because God forbid  anyone be forced to lie on the grass while gazing up at the heavens.)

An AFCD spokesperson told Ming Pao that the site of the star-gazing terrace used to be a campground, and that the terrace will be open to the public 24/7. The spokesperson also reassured the public that no trees were felled during the construction of the terrace, and noted that the campsite has now been moved to a nearby beach.

The site was chosen because it was one of the few places in Hong Kong with low levels of light pollution, though the spokesperson also noted that those who do want to stargaze on the terrace will need to bring their own equipment.

As for getting to the terrace, it’s a nice, short one-hour walk away from the nearest bus stop.

Netizens today pounced on the terrace, calling it a waste of money, with others criticizing the authorities for “messing with the environment.”

This is not the first time Hongkongers have accused the authorities of wasting money on unnecessary construction projects and installations.

In July, local authorities in Kwai Fong had to demolish an art installation marking the 20th anniversary of the handover after it appeared on a traffic island without any public consultation. The art work had to come down because motorists complained it obstructed their view of oncoming traffic, and elderly residents in the area said it reminded them of a hillside cemetery.

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