Queen's Pier will be closed soon after Easter to make way for the reclamation of the Central waterfront, an officer in charge of the project said yesterday. Civil Engineering and Development Department project manager Ma Lee-tak said a new pier, Pier 9, in Central was ready to take over the role of Queen's Pier. 'We plan to move the maritime operations of Queen's Pier as soon as possible. If everything goes smoothly, we plan to [cease the Queen's Pier operations] in April, probably after Easter,' said Mr Ma. He said there was an urgent need to close Queen's Pier because the Central reclamation could not go ahead if boats kept using it. However, he said this did not mean that discussions on the preservation of the pier would not stop after its closure. 'The moving of pier operations is not related to its preservation,' said Mr Ma. Plans for the pier have been on hold since January after a public outcry over the demolition of the neighbouring Star Ferry pier. The government has proposed dismantling Queen's Pier piece by piece and rebuilding it on another site. This proposal followed meetings with expert groups including the Institute of Architects, Institute of Engineers and the Conservancy Association, which have all been in favour of preserving the pier where it is. The government has insisted the only feasible option is to dismantle the pier and rebuild it elsewhere and has rejected calls for longer public consultation. A funding request is expected to be tabled in the Legislative Council next month.