Doubts over site for Ferris wheel

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2011, 12:00am


A Ferris wheel on the Central waterfront would add vibrancy to the area but it should be located somewhere with better views, the Harbourfront Commission said of the proposed 'Hong Kong Eye'.

The 60-metre-high observation wheel proposed by the Hall Organisation and Great City Attractions Global in Britain gained preliminary support from commission members yesterday after a company representative explained the plan.

Under the proposal, the wheel would be built on reclaimed land near piers No 9 and 10 and would remain there for one to three years. It would complement promenades, cafes and a maritime museum and be financed by the company.

According to commission members, the company's representative said the wheel could be moved to different spots as seasons changed; it would be quiet and typhoon-proof. Each ride of 10 to 15 minutes would cost around HK$100.

'The company's representative said the wheel could be set up easily and be dismantled at any time, so generally the members did not object,' Tam Po-yiu, a representative of the Institute of Planners on the commission, said after the meeting.

But Tam said he would suggest the wheel be set up elsewhere, such as in West Kowloon, where the view would be better. 'The proposed location is so close to the high-rises behind. Passengers won't get a very nice view,' he said. 'It's also too near to other landmarks. The area will end up being overcrowded.'

Paul Zimmerman, representing the Society for Protection of the Harbour on the commission, felt the same. 'In Hong Kong, you can't see anything when it's only 18 floors high,' he said. 'Visitors could go to building rooftops instead.'

Zimmerman was also sceptical about the pricing, comparing it to the HK$150 for Sky 100, the observation deck at the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon.

'It's cheaper to ride on the wheel, but you can stay for a longer time [on the deck].'

He was also concerned about when Queen's Pier - which occupied the proposed site for the wheel until it was demolished in 2007 - would be reinstated as promised by the government.

On the South China Morning Post's Facebook page, readers said the idea was embarrassing and unaesthetic, with one saying it would be 'another Hong Kong eyesore'. Another said the city's air would have to be improved before visitors could see anything from the wheel.