Promenade plan for waterfront

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 February, 2011, 12:00am

It's a waterfront of many parts now, but as the Planning Department envisions it, Hongkongers will be able to walk around the harbour on a promenade stretching from North Point to Chai Wan.

And if they get a little tired, they can take a water taxi instead.

The Island East harbourfront improvement proposal, released by the Planning Department yesterday, aims to transform a 200-hectare area now occupied by various government facilities and private concerns, many of poor design.

Under the proposal, walkways, including a boardwalk under the Island Eastern Corridor and a sky trail along the hillside of Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, will enable an uninterrupted stroll from North Point to Quarry Bay, Shau Kei Wan and Chai Wan. A new boardwalk will revitalise North Point and its piers with cafes, shops, benches, plantings and art displays.

A water taxi will take passengers to North Point ferry piers, Sai Wan Ho Harbour Park, Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter and Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence.

At least nine pedestrian areas along the promenade will be beautified and an entertainment hub with themed restaurants, multi-purpose performance centre or an IMAX theatre is proposed for Hoi Yu Street in Quarry Bay. A heritage trail will be created along the Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter to commemorate the district's history as an old fishing village.

'It is an excellent and a realistic proposal,' said Paul Zimmerman, a member of the Harbourfront Commission. 'The idea of setting up a boardwalk under the highway is particularly interesting. However, the government should ensure that the connectivity of the boardwalk and the hinterland in Oil Street is sufficient.'

But Patrick Lau Hing-tat, a landscape architect and Eastern district councillor, said the proposal lacked innovation.

He said the Chai Wan section of the promenade would be far from the harbour, blocked from the water by the Heng Fa Chuen residential development and unattractive facilities such as a water treatment plant and refuse transfer station. 'Instead of relocating the facilities and opening up the private site to the public,' Lau said, 'the government has avoided the troubles and selected an unattractive route.'

He proposed an alternative - build a bridge on the Chai Wan waterfront that would connect with the harbour park in Siu Sai Wan. The government proposal will now be subject of a two-month public consultation.