More options for pier on the table

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am

Alternatives to preserving historic structures will be released for public consultation

In the wake of the Queen's Pier saga, extra options to preserve the pier and the Star Ferry Pier's clock tower will be offered for public consultation by the end of October, government sources said yesterday.

Instead of releasing one model for consultation, the Development Bureau will provide multiple options, including reconstructing the pier and clock tower at their original sites, sources said, adding the future Central harbour-front design would be a chance for the government to show it had listened to the voice of the public.

The first round consultation on the new Central waterfront ended in June. Among the four designs recommended by the bureau earlier, it was suggested the clock tower be re-erected at the new waterfront, but now an option of reconstructing the clock tower at its original site is expected in the upcoming consultation document.

Meanwhile, members of Local Action Group took a rest yesterday, a day after being forcibly evicted by the government from the pier. The three hunger strikers are recovering and some members said they had returned to work.

Among the three protesters arrested by the police during the scuffles that broke out at the pier on Wednesday, cleaner Ma Chor-ming, 52, pleaded not guilty in Eastern Court yesterday to three counts of assaulting police officers. He was released on HK$300 bail yesterday.

Designer Fung Ping-tak, 41, who is under police supervision in hospital, also faces a charge of assaulting police. The case was adjourned until next Tuesday for re-mention.

The youngest protester, Wong Hang-chong, 17, who is known as Ah Cho, was arrested for wasting the time of police officers. He was released on HK$800 bail yesterday and he was not charged.

Yesterday, Queen's Pier was not only hidden by huge hoardings, but surrounded by columns of water barriers. About 50 police officers could be seen erecting iron railings as long as 100 metres to prevent anyone who may try to get closer to the pier yesterday morning. However, by 11am, the railings were removed.

Although the pier was blocked from public view, many people still came to pay homage.

Atkins China, the contractor in charge of the Central Reclamation project, refused to comment on whether it would sue the government for delaying the works.

Core member of the action group, Chu Hoi-dick, said members would need time to recover and new tactics would soon be formed for the next battle front for the pier.

'The next battle will be in court,' he said, referring to the judicial review that has been scheduled for next Tuesday.

But Hectar Pun Hei, the barrister who has been helping activists to file the application, will not be available at the opening of the hearing.

Mr Chu said yesterday that another counsel had agreed to represent them.

About 50 people and Queen's Pier activists, including two of those arrested after the Wednesday scuffles with police officers, attended a forum at the site last night. One person at the forum accused the police of selectively arresting people on Wednesday without giving solid reasons. He said he would set up a post at the site to monitor the situation, while other speakers said the police had abused their power.