Government plans to complete work in 2018
Queen’s Pier, the focus of heated demonstrations by heritage activists desperate to save it in 2007, will serve as a public pier again when reconstruction is completed in 2018, according to the government.
Late last month, the Civil Engineering and Development Department quietly issued an invitation for expressions of interest from engineering consultants for Reassembly of Queen’s Pier – Design and Construction, the deadline of which is today.
Upon enquiry by Construction Post, a CEDD spokeswoman said at present the plan is to start reassembly in late 2016 for completion in 2018.
“The overall implementation programme will be subject to review by the consultants when they come on board,” the spokeswoman said.
The pier will be rebuilt between Pier 9 and Pier 10 near the Star Ferry Pier and Maritime Museum in Central according to recommendations of the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront that was completed in 2011 by Planning Department.
Prior to its demolition starting in August 2007, Queen’s Pier was a popular spot on the waterfront in Central for the public.
The pier previously served as a ceremonial arrival point for colonial governors when they arrived to take up their appointment and later as a departure point on completion of their term of office.
The pier also served royalty when Queen Elizabeth visited Hong Kong in 1975.
After completion of the removal of the pier in 2008, the various parts of the pier that were salvaged were removed to a storage facility, the location of which was undisclosed at that time, for reassembly later.
The CEDD spokeswoman said the salvaged parts are currently stored at Kau Shat Wan Government Explosives Depot on Lantau Island.
So far, it appears, the parts are in good shape.
“CEDD has carried out regular inspections since 2008 to closely monitor the conditions of the salvaged units. No apparent defects have been noticed so far. CEDD will continue to monitor the conditions,” the spokeswoman said.
Government plans to remove permanently Queen’s Pier as part of the works for the Central Reclamation III project touched a raw nerve for conservation and heritage activists in 2006.
The fuss kicked up over conservation of the pier led to the Antiquities Advisory Board to list it as a Grade I historic building in May 2007.
Activists later took to occupying the pier to prevent workers from entering the site to carry out dismantling works, such was their determination to save the pier.
It was only after the government obtained a court order in late July 2007 to evict the activists that work finally started.
Even then that was not the end of it.
Activists later applied for a judicial review of the Antiquities Authority’s decision not to declare the pier a monument but this was dismissed by the High Court.
In June 2007, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved separate funding of HK$50 million at money-of-the-day prices for preservation of Queen’s Pier.
The above ground structure of the pier consisted of a big concrete roof of about 500 tonnes, 34 concrete columns and two load bearing walls with stone facing.
According to a paper submitted to the Public Works Subcommittee, the roof would be saw-cut into four to five segments while the columns would be cut at roof and deck level.
The government has already missed the tentative schedule mentioned in the paper for reassembly.
It was planned to start reassembly in December 2009 for completion in December 2010 if the pier was to be located on land.
But if the reassembled pier was to retain its marine function, then gazettal under the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance and marine piled foundations would be required meaning work starting later in December 2010 for completion in December 2011.
The cost of preserving the pier components was estimated at HK$10 million, transport and storage HK$9 million, strengthening works HK$6 million, transport to final location HK$4 million and reassembly HK$10 million, all at September 2006 prices.
The consultants’ fees was estimated at HK$6 million.
Given the substantial increase in construction costs since 2006, it would appear the government may need to reassess if the approved project estimate of HK$50 million is sufficient.
The CEDD spokewoman said the consultant would review the cost of reassembly.
“The government will seek necessary funding approval from the Legislative Council in due course subject to the findings of the consultancy,” she said.