Stanley makeover gets Legco backing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 12:00am

$87.5 million will be spent on a boardwalk, more shops and restaurants, a pier and wider pedestrian strips

Stanley waterfront will be further improved as a tourist spot under an $87.5 million renovation plan, approved by Legco's economic services panel yesterday, to widen its pedestrian areas and add more shops and restaurants.

The project, scheduled to be completed in 2007, will widen Stanley Main Street with a boardwalk by realigning the sea wall.

The government will also build a pier at Murray House, where many restaurants are located.

The Tourism Commission is considering a circuit ferry route to run via the pier to other tourist spots such as Lamma Island and Aberdeen.

A temporary wet market will be demolished to make way for about 20 eateries and souvenir shops. The government will also improve the surrounding areas of the Shui Sin Temple.

The changes are part of the Tourism Commission's effort to further develop Stanley as a tourist attraction. It has already added alfresco dining in Stanley Main Street and extended pedestrian hours on the main roads.

The commission has no estimate on how many tourists will visit Stanley after the redevelopment.

Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng welcomed the improvement project. 'Stanley is a major sightseeing spot,' he said. 'If they beautify it then it would be an even better tourist site.'

The administration will seek funding for the project from the Finance Committee next month. But before doing so, panel chairman James Tien Pei-chun said the administration should consider adding parking spaces for tourist buses and eliminating the soccer pitch from the waterfront project.

Under the plan, a soccer pitch located at the end of the waterfront will stay. Tourism Commissioner Eva Cheng Yu-wah said the pitch had to stay because residents needed the recreational space.

The pitch will be turned into a multipurpose facility that can be used for performances and fairs.

But Mr Tien said it was a waste of prime real estate to keep the pitch on the waterfront and asked that it be moved to another area.

Legislator Sin Chung-kai said it would be more appropriate to build a playground in place of the pitch for families that visit the area.

Southern District Councillor Lam Kai-fai said moving the soccer pitch would not be feasible because there was limited space in Stanley.

'The soccer pitch is already smaller than the standard size because there is not enough space. If that is taken away, there would be no soccer pitch in Stanley.'