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Tourism

Reopening of Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars could be pushed back to February 2019

Delay due to renovation work being a bigger project than expected

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2018, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 March, 2018, 10:12pm

The reopening of Hong Kong’s popular Avenue of Stars has been delayed to February next year at the latest, with renovation work turning out to be more extensive than expected and requiring more time.

The popular tourist attraction in Tsim Sha Tsui, which has been closed since October 2015 for repairs and improvement works, was originally expected to reopen to the public in the third quarter this year. But the project would take longer to complete as more work needed to be done, according to a Leisure and Cultural Services Department paper submitted to Yau Tsim Mong District Council for discussion on March 15.

The department said the plan had been to maintain the bridge piers that support the avenue, which extends along the waterfront. But after discussions with the relevant government departments, all the bridge piers were to be demolished and rebuilt. 

“As the works involved will be larger in scale and require more time than expected, in addition to the impact from bad weather on progress of renovation work, the Avenue of Stars is expected to reopen in or before February 2019,” the department stated in the paper.

Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Michelle Li Mei-sheung said the impact on tourists would be small, and the delay was “not too long”.

She added that it was better to have the structures replaced now rather than later.

“The bridge piers have seen better days … it would be more cost effective [to replace them], instead of going back later,” Li said.

Controversial Avenue of Stars upgrade scrapped but Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to remain closed

The director did not say whether renovation costs had risen, only that New World Development, which built and managed the attraction, would foot the bill.

A source familiar with the project told the Post that the bridge pier work would soon be completed. Barges were needed for the operation, so construction had to be suspended during bad weather, the source said, adding that the delays were the result of typhoons and heavy rain last summer, and more stoppages were unlikely.

Finishing touches were being applied to the surface and the source said the overall cost of the avenue’s renovation did not grow significantly from the original undisclosed budget.

Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the sightseeing experience was better on the avenue, though tourists could also get a view of the city’s famed Victoria Harbour from the Urban Council Centenary Garden.

The waterfront boulevard opened in 2004, with its much-loved 2.5-metre bronze statue of Bruce Lee erected in 2005.

Modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it honours celebrities in the Hong Kong film industry.

The design of the renewed avenue includes elements of sustainable development. For example, handrails will be built with environmentally friendly materials made of rice husk, salt and mineral oil, instead of timber. The chosen materials can resist damage from seawater, ultraviolet radiation and insects. Plants will provide shade and ventilation in the summer.

Meanwhile, the department expects more people to visit the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade via Salisbury Road after the reopening of the avenue and Hong Kong Museum of Art next year, meaning that the pedestrian crossing opposite The Peninsula hotel will exceed its capacity. 

The Transport Department has agreed to add another crossing near the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel for the possible surge in foot traffic. Work will begin in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.