A “sunset” plaza for taking in views of Victoria Harbour along with seafood restaurants could be built to revitalize some of the reshaped waterfront areas of Wan Chai and North Point.
These ideas were put forward by Secretary of Development Paul Chan Mo-po on top of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying suggesting last week that part of the reclaimed harborfront could feature a water sports center.
Writing in his blog yesterday, Chan shared opinions collected by officials last June during a first round of public consultations on what should go into the new areas.
A second stage of consultations starts on June 11, Chan noted, but based on suggestions from the first round an elevated platform could be built near the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on Gloucester Road and Hong Kong Arts Centre on Harbour Road.
From there, people would be able to take in sunsets over the west of Victoria Harbour, he said.
Chan also raised the ideas of floating restaurants and bringing back sampan services at the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter.
“Sampan services could take citizens and tourists to the floating restaurants, the northern breakwater and other attractions,” Chan said.
“In this traditional typhoon shelter, tourists would be able to enjoy special cuisine and boating experiences.”
He also suggested turning part of a reclamation project near the New Wan Chai Ferry Pier into an area for live shows and large-scale events.
To fully utilize two hectares of land at the former public cargo loading zone near the entrance of the Cross-Harbor Tunnel to Hung Hom, Chan added, government planners hoped to see a water sports center.
That would feature sunbathing areas, floating pools including one for children, a diving pool and water slides.
Other facilities could allow for sailing and dragon boat races and the swimming legs of triathlons.
There are also plans to improve access from MTR stations to the harborfront areas, he said.
There were some immediate and positive responses to ideas.
Some old-style floating restaurant and sampan operators said they had long wanted to see such facilities restored to the harborfront, but officials had cited rules against cooking on boats.
So those who tried to make a business of dining on the water had to deliver food cooked on shore to customers.
Backing ideas to attract more people to the waterfront, a sampan operator said: “I find Causeway Bay very quiet now. Not much is going on.”
But some foreign tourists did not show much interest in harborfront revitalization plans. “There are plenty of restaurants in the town aren’t there?” remarked a British woman.
Whatever facilities are provided, said Wan Chai district councillor Yolanda Ng Yuen-ting, the most important thing is to clean up harbor waters so people can engage in the proposed activities.
“The water near the typhoon shelter is seriously polluted,” she pointed out. That had to be tackled when reclamation and construction work was finished.
Still, she said, if all the proposed activities “don’t cause disturbances to residents I believe plans are worth further discussions.”
A new vision for reshaped waterfront areas of Wan Chai & North Point