TRANSPORT

Final trip for fans as old Wan Chai Pier sails into history

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 4:40am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 4:40am

The last ferry pulling out from the old Wan Chai Pier on Friday night closed the door on 48 years of history.

Yesterday morning saw the opening of the new, open-structure two-storey pier, with a covered observation deck overlooking Victoria Harbour and abstract tree patterns on its pillars.

The 11pm Tsim Sha Tsui-bound ferry on Friday was filled with nostalgic residents seeking to take part in an unofficial goodbye to the decades-old pier, which is to be demolished as part of harbour-front development.

People shared their memories of daily commutes from the pier, voiced their sadness and took the last photographs of the structure that has served them for almost half a century.

In contrast to the uproar in 2006 and 2007 against the demolition of the Star Ferry Pier in Central and the nearby Queen's Pier, there were no activists tying themselves to fences or organised sit-ins to demand preservation of the pier.

Conservation architect Eric Lee Chung-ming said the two Central piers had more historical links. "The Central Star Ferry Pier was related to several historical events and social movements," he said.

The hunger strike at the pier against the five cents fare increase for the Star Ferry escalated into a riot in 1966.

Lee said that the "say no" spirit rang a chord with the various anti-establishment social movements today.

Queen's Pier, which served the governors, was significant in its own way in colonial history.

Without as much sentiment to spark calls for its preservation, the old Wan Chai Pier's destruction will be part of reclamation for the Wan Chai Development Phase II.

The Wan Chai-Tsim Sha Tsui ferry service and schedule will remain the same from the new pier.

When the old Wan Chai Pier is eventually demolished, the North Point and Kowloon City piers will be the only two remaining old-style facilities.

 

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