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AAB reaffirms no objection raised to Star Ferry Pier demolition plan in 2002

The Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) in a meeting today (December 12) reviewed the discussion paper and minutes regarding the demolition plan of the Star Ferry Pier in 2002 which recorded that the Board did not raise any objection to the demolition of the Pier. The Board asked the Government to preserve the significant relics of the Clock Tower and the Queen's Pier and consider reconstructing them in the new harbourfront.

A Government spokesman reiterated that it will study, from an urban design point of view, how to incorporate the special features of the Star Ferry Pier and its clock tower into the design of the new Central harbourfront under the 'Central Reclamation Urban Design Study', which will commence shortly. The Planning Department is currently inviting tender for the study which will complete early next year. During the study process, public engagement activities will be held to gauge views from the Town Planning Board, Harbour-front Enhancement Committee, Legislative Council, District Council, related organisations and members of the public on the urban design of the Central harbourfront. The Government has also stored all data of the old Star Ferry pier as 3D images through an advanced laser scanning technology.

The spokesman stated that the Government conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study in 2001 to assess the heritage impacts on the Star Ferry Pier, the Queen's Pier and the City Hall under the Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) project. The Antiquities and Monuments Office had commissioned a heritage consultant to carry out a 'Survey Report of Historical Buildings and Structures within the Project Area of the Central Reclamation Phase III' (Survey Report).

The Survey Report considered the merits of the Star Ferry Pier together with its Clock Tower as an important landmark in Hong Kong as well as an impressive tourist attraction though not a historical building because of its year of construction. The heritage consultant recommended that the Clock Tower be relocated, if not the whole pier building, to a new suitable area in harmony with its ambiance.

At the AAB meeting of March 13, 2002, members discussed the Survey Report on CRIII project to examine the heritage impacts as well as proposed mitigation measures of the Star Ferry Pier in the presentation by the former Territory Development Department and Planning Department. The Antiquities and Monuments Office specifically presented a document about the impact of the reclamation on the Star Ferry Pier, the Queen's Pier and the City Hall, as well as the Survey Report in for Members' consideration and suggestions.

In the AAB meeting, members were informed that the Star Ferry Pier had to be demolished and the new Star Ferry Pier would be relocated to make way for the CRIII project. It was proposed that the general layout and the appearance of the new pier would adopt a historical heritage approach to recreate the existing icon. Members did not raise any objection to the re-provisioning proposal.

The spokesman pointed out that a copy of the EIA report for the Central Reclamation Phase III has been kept in the EIA Ordinance Register Office in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance. The Appendix W (i.e. Built Heritage Impact Assessment) of the EIA report has also been kept in the EIA Register Office all these years. The spokesman emphasised there was no question for the Government to hide any paper.

Since its release years ago, the true and full hard copy and the associated appendices of the EIA report has been available for inspection by any members of the public or the media at the public Register Office during office hours. On the missing link in the website, it was due to technical problems with the hyperlink system. The Environmental Protection Department has taken follow-up action to improve the hyperlink system.

Ends/Tuesday, December 12, 2006

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