Government can give Tsim Sha Tsui ferry pier monument status

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 August, 2012, 2:33am

Siu Leung-wing ("Renovation project for Tsim Sha Tsui pier still needed to revive 'dead zone'", August 18), obviously did not follow the progression of the proposed plan to turn the bus terminal into a tourist piazza.

The administration in fact originally planned to remove all the bus services and have passengers shuttled to and from the Mody Road bus terminal.

While Mr Siu believes this would not cause much inconvenience, people living on Kowloon side, many of whom travel frequently on the Star Ferry, strongly objected.

The needs of the disabled, the elderly, parents with young children, people visiting the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with heavy bags as well as the time taken in getting to and from the workplace: these were ignored by this ridiculous plan.

Luckily, common sense, the voice of the community and the rights of local people to an efficient transport system prevailed and the piazza plan has been dropped.

Now we await an announcement from the administration on the way forward.

The Star Ferry and its bus terminal are enduring icons with a long history.

Cross-harbour ferry services began in the 1870s and the original Tsim Sha Tsui pier was built in 1906. With the imminent destruction of the Wan Chai pier, the current Tsim Sha Tsui pier, completed in 1957, will soon be the only original Star Ferry pier in operation.

Both the pier and the bus terminal are owned by the government so there is no impediment to a swift declaration of monument status for both.

Because the piazza plan dragged on for almost eight years, with the plan first touted at a public forum in December, 2004, both the pier and bus terminal have been neglected for far too long.

It is now time for a tasteful renovation programme that will restore both the pier and terminus to their original, simple and functional structures. A small walk through an exhibition on the history of the pier and its cultural symbolism and some seating would also be welcome.

As for Mr Siu's reference to a "dead zone", he has obviously visited early in the morning, as every time I go there I am amazed at the ever-changing variety of characters flowing through and the opportunity to meet and engage with people from all corners of the world.

It beats our vapid cookie-cutter shopping malls every time.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui


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