May 12, 2016
To: Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office
Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD)
13/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, Hong Kong.
To: Antiquities Advisory Board (古物諮詢委員會)
c/o The Secretariat of Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB)
136 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
Reassembly of Queen’s Pier (皇后碼頭)
Community Engagement Information Pamphlet
The CEDD has published a document known as “Reassembly of Queen’s Pier: Community Engagement Information Pamphlet” hard copies of which were made available to members of the public at Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station this week. The declared purpose is to gather public feedback on their ‘conservation proposal’.
1. Purpose of this submission
To appeal to members of Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office, CEDD, requesting them to reassemble Queen’s Pier in-situ (原址).
1.2 To appeal to members of AAB requesting them to advise that the reassembly of Queen’s Pier must be undertaken in-situ (原址).
2. Reasons for in-situ reassembly (原址重置)
Please refer to the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China (in short, China Principles) (in Chinese: 中国文物古迹保护准则) which was promulgated in 2000 by China ICOMOS with the approval of State Administration of Cultural Heritage of the People’s Republic of China (国家文物局) to become a conservation charter providing a methodological approach to the conservation of heritage sites in China.
In recognition of its historical significance and the wish for its preservation, Queen’s Pier 皇后碼頭 (built in 1954 at the then newly reclaimed seafront, Edinburgh Place) was given a Grade I historic status by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) shortly before it was dismantled by the Government in 2007 to make way for Central reclamation work. The China Principles are instructive with regard to the need for in-situ reassembly of Queen’s Pier:
“Conservation must be undertaken in situ. Only in the face of uncontrollable natural threats or when a major development project of national importance is undertaken and relocation is the sole means of saving elements of a site may they be moved in their historic condition” (Article 18).
2.3 The so-called ‘conservation proposal’ to reassemble Queen’s Pier at a new location somewhere “between Central Piers No. 9 and 10” (as recommended by Planning Department and CEDD) is ill-conceived and misguided. Such a proposal (set out in the Pamphlet) is contrary to the China Principles stating that “Reconstruction should be undertaken in situ” (Article 13.3.2).
2.4 We’ve had enough bad examples, for example, the Murray House (美利樓) originally in Central District had been given a Grade I historic status. After its relocation to Stanley Peninsula, the Murray House loses its historic status because the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) held the opinion that the heritage value of the relocated Murray House has greatly diminished. (1)
2.5 The now-dismantled Queen’s Pier is included as item N29 in the List of new items and new categories with assessment results (as at 18 April 2016) and this List is posted on the web-site of the Antiquities Advisory Board. It is remarked in the web-site that grading assessment of Queen’s Pier will be conducted “pending reassembly” which no doubt means in-situ reassembly.
2.6 The relocation of Queen’s Pier (皇后碼頭) to somewhere else (away from its original location in Edinburgh Place, in front of the City Hall built in 1960s) is a problem that will ultimately lead to inappropriate change. Haven’t we [some Government officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] done enough damage to Hong Kong’s cultural assets already?
The Way Ahead
Please will Hong Kong’s responsible citizens get their acts together to put Queen’s Pier back where it used to be for the period from 1954 to 2007. In short, put it back where it was.
Thank you for your kind attention.
A Hong Kong-based conservationist
(1) Allen Au-yeung, “Calls to put Queen’s Pier back where it used to be,” South China Morning Post, April 27, 2016; 馬志剛：「團體促原址重置皇后碼頭」，載《蘋果日報》，2016年4月27日。