Saturday, November 28, 2015   

Harbour reclamation plans gathering pace

Keith Wallis

Monday, July 31, 2000

PLANS are under way for work to start in 2002 on what would be

Victoria Harbour's first reclamation in more than five years.

The scheme, phase three of the Central reclamation, has faced a

difficult gestation, running into opposition from environmentalists

and others concerned with scaling back harbour reclamation.

Initial proposals in 1996 called for reclamation to create about 32

hectares of new land, but this was subsequently slashed to 18


Instead of the roughly convex shape of the first scheme, the revised

design is concave, creating a small bay between the ferry terminals in


Central to the edge of Wan Chai.

The new scheme will tidy the area between island ferry piers and the

Star Ferry, eliminating steel piles and a zone of dead water behind

the General Post Office.

Passengers using the Star Ferry, Queen's Pier and Discovery Bay vessel

services, however, will face the same lengthy trek as the one to the

outlying ferry piers. Gone will be the close convenience of the Star


As a result, vocal public opposition to the plan is possible when the

consequences of the Star Ferry move become generally known. But the

Territory Development Department is hoping to mitigate the initial

inconvenience by creating a public park along the waterfront that

could include bars, restaurants and other leisure facilities.

People who remember the open-air restaurant and bar on the top of

Blake Pier before it was demolished in the early 1990s to make way for

the first phase of the Central reclamation would welcome the plan.

Atkins China divisional director John Newby said there are ideas to

create a festival market that has been likened to San Francisco's

Fisherman's Wharf.

Atkins China is leading the consultancy group recently awarded the

$32.6 million contract to design and supervise construction for the

$3.5 billion project.

Other partners are Babtie BMT Harris & Sutherland, which is

responsible for marine works and Atkins China company, Faithful &

Gould, as quantity surveyor.

"It's a better scheme that takes more account of what people want,"

Mr Newby told iBusiness. "It will provide a good waterfront which we

lack at the moment."

The final form of the Star Ferry pier and replacement for Queen's Pier

have still to be agreed, but Atkins would design them.

Contractors would be invited to prequalify the scheme in the middle of

next year, ready for construction to start in April 2002 with

completion in four years.

The reclamation would provide space for a government complex that

would centralise administrative departments. There would also be a

civic square connecting with the waterfront promenade.

HSBC would retain its view of the harbour over Statue Square and a

low-rise pedestrian deck with commercial facilities below the current

Star Ferry piers.

Underground, the reclamation would provide space for the Central-Wan

Chai bypass, Mass Transit Railway Corporation Airport Railway overrun

tunnels, and space for its North Island line, Mr Newby said.

The construction contract would cover reclamation, seawalls, the main

surface level road and the diversion of existing utilities. It was

uncertain whether the contract would include the section of the

Central and Wan Chai bypass.

Energy-absorbing seawalls have been specially developed to reduce the

wave energy by half.

"They should take out 50 per cent of the wave energy that should make

the harbour better and safer," he said.

The seawall would be formed from prefabricated concrete caissons, 20

metres long and eight metres wide, which would be floated into

position before submersion.

The government's fill management committee would determine where the

contaminated dredged material was to be dumped. This official group

likewise would determine the source of imported marine sand probably

from the Pearl River delta.

Atkins China is also looking at the possibility of introducing a

centralised cooling water system for government buildings in the area.

The design includes the relocation of 12 pumping stations serving the

main buildings along the existing frontage.

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