Proposal for giant Ferris wheel rejected

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 12:00am

Plans for a giant Ferris wheel on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront were rejected yesterday because the proposed structure would have exceeded the area's height restrictions.

Developer Wharf (Holdings) proposed to build a 75-metre-high wheel on a four-storey podium as an extension to Ocean Terminal, which would rise to a total height of 103 metres.

Plans showed the podium's ground floor housing a cruise ship immigration concourse with the second and third floors earmarked for shops. A lounge, bar and gift stores would have been located on the roof, which would have included a car park.

The Town Planning Board yesterday turned down the Wharf proposal, refusing to relax the 38-metre building height restriction on the Ocean Terminal site. It said approval would violate planning regulations. The height restriction was imposed to prevent developments with adverse visual impacts as the site was a prominent waterfront site, a board spokesman said. If the control was lifted as applied for by Wharf, tall structures other than the Ferris wheel could also be built there, he said.

The board spokesman said it appreciated the proposal could benefit tourism and was considered as an innovative addition to the harbour. He said the Ferris wheel project should be presented for consultation in the ongoing government study on harbour and waterfront development opportunities. The public could debate whether the visual impact from a wheel was considered acceptable and if the Ocean Terminal site was suitable.

Ocean Park in Aberdeen has a 27-metre-high Ferris wheel, the only one in Hong Kong, following the closure of the Happy Dragon Recreation Park in Tai Wai and the Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park.