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Queen's Pier – The two choices and the unanswered questions.

Queen's Pier – The two choices and the unanswered questions.
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Government proposal for the 'New Queen's Pier'.

There are many opinions as to what to do with the remains of Queen’s Pier. As I see it there are two options. And to decide between them we need more information.

First, we can create a large new Queen’s Pier by combining Pier 9, 10 and the remains of the Queen’s Pier structure. It would be the most used public pier in Hong Kong except for Sai Kung Pier on summer weekends. This would ensure that the phrase “I meet you at Queen’s Pier” will remain actively used in Hong Kong. As Queen’s Pier is no longer in its original location, the silly and expensive plans to change the seawall, rebuilt the landing steps, and close existing landing steps of Pier 9 and 10, should be killed. In which case the total cost of completion for this option can be assumed to be less than HK$200m.


InMedia's rendering of Edinburgh Place with the Queen's Pier assembled near the old location.

The second and my preferred option is to re-create Edinburgh Place, a public place designed for formal ceremonies, by re-assembling Queen’s Pier in front of City Hall close to the original location. Based on all various international heritage standards, this would have the highest heritage value, and Queen’s Pier would be a great reminder of one of our former coast lines. As I will explain below, this option can be completed once the advance works for the Airport Rail Extended Overrun Tunnel (AREOT) have been completed. However, the date is yet unknown. Again, we can assume that the cost is also below HK$200m.

Speaking in the Legislative Council on 15 June 2016, the Secretary for Development, Paul Chan Mo-po acknowledged that re-assembling Queen's Pier near its original location is the option favoured by conservation groups and that their proposal was popular, noting that it drew more than 1,000 submissions of support during a recent consultation. However, Chan said that rebuilding Queen's Pier at its original location was impractical. Media reports quoted Paul Chan saying that, according to the CEDD, it was unrealistic to reconstruct the pier at its original location as doing so may conflict with current construction projects or those in planning. The re-alignment of Lung Wo Road and MTR extensions could be affected, incurring huge costs.

He is also reported to have added that the relocation choices have been widely discussed in consultations completed by the Planning Department in 2007 and 2009. Now, to deal with this last point first. Indeed, in 2008, the threat of delay, cost and construction waste related to moving P2 (Lung Wu Road) convinced pro-establishment district councilors and engineers to support the location of Queen’s Pier between Piers 9 and 10 on the waterfront.

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Government's 2007 proposal for Queen's Pier with a large water feature in front of City Hall required the road to be moved.

During stage two of the Urban Design Study for the Central Harbourfront in 2008 Government confirmed that re-assembly of Queen’s Pier and constructing a large water feature in front of City Hall would require moving P2, cost HK$200m (vs HK$220 for construction at Pier 9 and 10), and that re-assembly could only be done after advance works for the Airport Rail Extended Overrun Tunnel (AREOT) were completed in 2012.


圖:重置皇后碼頭於原址的設計(來源:維港海濱關注組)Another rendering by InMedia showing Queen's Pier near City Hall without the need for changing the road.

However, conservation groups have repeatedly proposed re-assembly of Queen’s Pier a few meters closer to City Hall and without the water feature so there would be no need for moving Lung Wu Road (P2). The cost would also be lower and there would be no unnecessary construction waste. Unfortunately, this option continues to be ignored by Government. Why?

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The design constraints for developments at the Central Waterfront.

As for the planned works referred to by Paul Chan in LegCo, the only design constraint identified in 2008 was the advance works for the AREOT which needed to be completed first to avoid having to dig open Lung Wu Road and major sections of the waterfront in the future.


Government's 2015 proposal for a covered piazza in front of City Hall at the location of the former Queen's Pier.

His recent comments beg the question whether the advance works for the AREOT have been completed as planned? If not, why not and what is the new completion date? Or are there new planned works which create constraints, and if so what are they? More importantly, why are those works not in conflict with the Government’s proposal for a large covered plaza in front of City Hall at the exact same location as proposed for re-assembly of Queen’s Pier by conservation groups?

Once these questions have been answered, the community can make a fair and well informed choice regarding the way forward with the remains of Queen’s Pier. Do we create a new Queen’s Pier on the waterfront, or do we re-create Edinburgh Place? There is no hurry. It is important to get it right. Hong Kong, let’s fix it.

Paul Zimmerman 司馬文
District Councillor, Pokfulam
CEO, Designing Hong Kong 創建香港

References:
http://www.pland.gov.hk/pland_en/p_study/comp_s/UDS/eng_v1/pem_eng.htm
http://www.pland.gov.hk/pland_en/p_study/comp_s/UDS/eng_v1/images_eng/OI...
http://www.inmediahk.net/node/1042537
http://www.inmediahk.net/node/1041995
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/06/15/reconstructing-queens-pier-origina...

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