Put Queen’s Pier close to its original location on Hong Kong Island

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 May, 2016, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 May, 2016, 4:55pm

I refer to the report, “Plan to relocate Queen’s Pier to Lantau Island ridiculed” (May 18). I find it astonishing, and also disappointing, that the head of a government advisory committee of heritage conservation could float such an inappropriate suggestion. A principal factor in heritage preservation is the retention of context and the consideration of, and value of, the community’s collective memory .

Queen’s Pier has not been dismantled and stored because of its function as a pier, but for what this location represented to Hong Kong people. Dr Lau Chi-pang’s idea to reassemble it in rural Lantau is therefore bizarre. Perhaps he is thinking of placing it at Disneyland? Dr Lau cites the relocation of Murray House to Stanley as a good example. It is not: it has preserved the architecture but destroyed the context, and Murray House looks much out of place in Stanley. If Hong Kong genuinely valued heritage, a prominent site in Central would have been found for this historic building. It is also bizarre that the government is planning to spend HK$303 million because it wants to retain the use as a pier rather than understanding its commemorative value.

I strongly agree with Paul Zimmerman, of Designing Hong Kong, that the correct location for the reassembly is the forecourt in front of City Hall, close to the original position. It does not need to be a pier and Zimmerman’s proposal can save a considerable amount of public money. A koi-fish moat surrounding the north, east and west sides could impart the inference of the original use.

Apart from being a pier, the original structure was a meeting place for friends and offered welcoming shade. The present forecourt at City Hall is bland and without shade. Having this historic building back close to its original home would be a wonderful improvement and would tick the proper preservation boxes.

Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai