Committee weighs competing pier designs

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am

The Harbourfront Enhancement Committee will next week discuss two design options for the new Wan Chai ferry pier.

The designs, dubbed 'natural waterfront' and 'modern city', will both be low-rise structures not higher than 20 metres to respect the waterfront setting, with designs intended to avoid creating wall-like buildings, according to a paper submitted to the committee yesterday.

The new pier will be built on the future harbourfront after the existing two piers are demolished to make way for the Central-Wan Chai bypass and related reclamation.

The design plans also cover a government helipad at Golden Bauhinia Square, to be relocated from the existing site at a former public cargo working area, also because of the bypass project.

The government said the new pier would be linked to its hinterland with a landscaped area and would be developed as a harbour observation deck for the public. From the helipad, visitors would be able to take helicopter sightseeing tours run by commercial operators.

In the 'modern city' plan, the glazed walls of the building would be covered by graphic images showing old and new scenes of the Wan Chai district. The pier would be supported by metal columns with braces branching out in a tree-like pattern.

The 'natural waterfront' design would use synthetic timber to create paving arranged in a wavy pattern.

The options were put to a brief public consultation late last month. Public views are being analysed.

The Wan Chai District Council has, meanwhile, expressed preference for the modern design, which members thought was more compatible with the outlook of the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Members also urged the government to connect the new pier to the future MTR station at the exhibition centre to increase usage, as the existing piers were underused.

In another paper submitted to the committee, the Central and Western District Council and the Caritas Mok Cheung Sui Kan Community Centre proposed developing a 3.7 kilometre waterfront area between Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town into five themed areas.

The themes would be a green park, a food plaza, a multifunction promenade, a cultural plaza and a sunset-viewing park.