Old pier awaits a new roof

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 May, 2008, 12:00am

A temporary storage shed will be built to protect dismantled parts of Queen's Pier, which are now stored on Lantau Island, government officials said during a visit to the storage area yesterday.

The Development Bureau opened the explosives depot on Lantau Island to the media for the first time yesterday to show the public the condition of the dissected pier.

The parts are being stored at the designated coastal site because it allows the berthing of large vessels. The pier's plaques and structural and non-structural parts have been placed separately in three areas within the depot.

The plaques, stored in a fire station of the depot, have been carefully packed in wooden boxes with plastic protection. Other non-structural parts made of steel, such as bollards and handrails, are kept in a humidity-controlled storage area.

The 500-tonne roof of the pier, which is the size of three basketball courts, was cut into six parts last year and has been put on an open wharf.

Eric Fung Kin-sang, an engineer from the Civil Engineering and Development Department, said a temporary storage shed was expected to be completed next month to protect the pier's roof from being damaged by the sun and rain.

To ensure safety, visitors to the site are not allowed to carry electrical appliances to prevent the risk of accidental explosions.

However, Mr Fung stressed that the pier, part of the 'collective memory' of Hongkongers, would not be at risk from explosive materials at the site, as these were stored separately. The explosives were used for public works and fireworks.

The 54-year-old pier is expected to be reassembled in 2011 or 2012, depending on where it is decided to relocate it.

The pier could be restored earlier if it is relocated to the harbourside to resume its marine function. In this case, three of the pier's five original staircases for boarding would be restored.

Since the pier would be embraced by Central Pier No 9 and No 10, two staircases on both sides of the pier would have to be discarded.

On the other hand, the pier would only be restored in 2012 if it is reassembled at its original location outside City Hall. All five staircases would be abandoned because the pier - which was demolished last year to make way for the Central-Wan Chai bypass - would no longer be at the harbour, Mr Fung said.