British consulate joins mourning for Queen's Pier

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am

The British consulate yesterday expressed sadness at the plan to demolish Queen's Pier to make way for a road despite the pier being newly listed as a Grade I historic building.

The sentiment of Hong Kong's former sovereign power adds to calls to preserve the pier.

Asked to comment on how the British people felt towards Queen's Pier, a spokesman for the consulate said: 'Like many people in Hong Kong, we would be sad to see this familiar landmark go.'

Built on the Central waterfront in 1953-54, Queen's Pier was the traditional landing point for successive governors and royalty when they arrived in Hong Kong during colonial times.

At a meeting of the Legislative Council's home affairs panel yesterday, legislators moved to set up their own subcommittee to review development projects where sites with heritage value were under threat of the wreckers' ball.

Lawmakers on the panel said it could concentrate on reviewing the conservation of various heritage sites such as Nga Tsin Wai in Wong Tai Sin, a 600-year-old village that is one of the projects on the Urban Renewal Authority's plan for redevelopment.

Whether such a subcommittee can be established will rest on a decision by the House Committee next Friday because the quota for subcommittees - now standing at eight - has been filled and a queuing system has to be activated for another to be established.

Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said the public was becoming increasingly concerned about conserving the city's heritage.

'But the panel is very busy as it has to discuss a variety of issues. So the establishment of such a subcommittee could let those members who are particularly interested in this area discuss it,' said Mr Tien.

The Frontier's Emily Lau Wai-hing expressed concerns about whether the subcommittee could win the race to save heritage sites facing imminent demolition given the time it will take to establish it.

The subcommittee would focus on areas including reviewing planning for the Nga Tsin Wai village project and the Dragon Garden project in Sham Tseng, as well as other projects with heritage value.

It would also monitor the government's preservation of the city's heritage and discuss with the government and other relevant bodies alternatives for preserving Hong Kong's heritage.