The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, and the President of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, Ven Kok Kwong, officiated at the opening ceremony of Nan Lian Garden today (November 14).
The garden, a public park designed in the Tang Dynasty-style and adorned with special wooden structures, old and valuable trees and rocks, will be open to the public tomorrow.
Other guests attending the opening ceremony included Secretary for Home Affairs Dr Patrick Ho; Legislative Councillor Mrs Sophie Leung; Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Mrs Carrie Lam; Director of Home Affairs Mrs Pamela Tan; Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Mr Thomas Chow; Chairman of Wong Tai Sin District Council Mr Wong Kam-chi; and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Nan Lian Garden Mr Ronald Poon.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Ho said that the garden was a joint project of the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Government. The Government was responsible for the cost of the basic infrastructure, while the cost of design and construction of the ancillary works like the timber structures, old and valuable trees and feature rocks/bonsai, was met by Chi Nin Nunnery.
Dr Ho said, "The garden is a graceful presentation of timber structures in the Tang Dynasty-style, and it is beautifully landscaped with old and valuable trees, rocks and water features. All these unique features will be properly managed and maintained."
He thanked Chi Lin Nunnery for agreeing to take on the daily maintenance and management of the garden for the next five years at a nominal fee. He also commended the nunnery for its devotion to promoting Chinese culture and serving the community.
Ven Kok Kwong said, "Nan Lian Garden is not only a place for the public to enjoy their leisure time in a nice setting, but also a sight-seeing attraction for tourists. The garden helps us to enrich community life, to create a more harmonious relationship between humanity and nature and to promote the tourism industry."
Nan Lian Garden is located at 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill and occupies an area of 3.5 hectares. It will open to the public daily from 7am to 9pm. Admission is free.
A spokesman for the garden said that the park was developed for the public's enjoyment. "A one-way touring route has been designed so visitors can view the garden in a safe and orderly fashion," he said.
"The garden is specially designed for quiet leisure activities. It is not suitable for active recreation," he added.
The garden also provides a multi-function room and catering facilities such as a food kiosk, a souvenir shop, a vegetarian restaurant and a tea house. The spokesman said that smoking would not be allowed in the garden since it had a number of timber structures and old and valuable trees. He also said that to keep the environment clean, visitors would only be allowed to eat within the catering facilities. He also urged the public to treasure the facilities when visiting the garden.
"Crowd management measures will be implemented when necessary to ensure park-goers can visit the garden in an orderly manner," the spokesman said. "To avoid visitors queuing for a long time outside the garden when it is crowded, admission tickets will be distributed at the main entrance to the garden and at the Nan Lian Garden service kiosk at Exit C2 of Diamond Hill MTR station. Ticket-holders can enter the garden at the designated time later that day. Garden ambassadors and volunteer workers will also help to maintain order."
As too many groups visiting the garden at the same time will create pressure on the flow of visitors and traffic, all public or private organisations -- including travel agencies -- arranging for group visits of more than 20 people each should make a prior appointment with the garden office by fax (3658 9424) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least three working days before the planned visit.
The garden management has contacted the travel and tourism sector to inform them of the arrangements for group visits.
The spokesman stressed that there was no need to rush to the garden for visits soon after its opening, as it would be a permanent facility open to the public.
For more information about the admission arrangements, please refer to the FAQs at the annex or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk. Nan Lian Garden enquiries hotline: 23298811.
Ends/Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Issued at HKT 16:05