In recent years, the Government has been implementing the Pier Improvement Programme (PIP) to enhance the structural safety of public piers in remote areas of the New Territories and the outlying islands as well as to improve the ancillary facilities of the piers, with a view to fulfilling the basic needs of the local villagers who rely on ferries as their major transport mode and the operational needs of fishermen while enhancing the accessibility to scenic attractions. Among such piers, the enhanced Pak Kok Pier on Lamma Island will be open tomorrow (i.e. 14 November 2022). This time, I have invited colleagues from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to introduce the first improvement project completed under the PIP.
Taking public safety into account
Many public piers in remote areas have been in operation for years. In the past, pier improvement works were prioritised mainly according to the utilisation rates of piers, so the improvement works of such piers could not be carried out even they have been suffering from severe ageing problems. In this connection, the PIP was launched in 2017. Under the PIP, apart from the utilisation rates of piers, the Committee on Piers also considers various factors such as public safety, accessibility to scenic and natural heritage attractions, local sentiment, environmental and land issues in a holistic manner in determining the pier projects to be included in different phases. The Committee has currently chosen 23 public piers and the improvement works are being taken forward in two phases.
Successive completion of the projects under the first two phases
The first phase covers 10 public piers and the second phase covers 13 piers. The Pak Kok Pier on Lamma Island – the first improvement project under the PIP – will be open tomorrow. Among the remaining 22 piers, the works of seven piers are underway while those of two other piers are expected to commence at the end of this year. In addition, two are under detailed design while feasibility studies are being conducted for most of the remaining projects. It is expected that these pier improvement projects will be completed one after another from 2024.
The new Pak Kok Pier on Lamma Island
Currently, the Pak Kok Pier on Lamma Island – the en-route stop for the ferry route between Aberdeen and Yung Shue Wan with about 20 trips per day – mainly serves the villagers of Pak Kok Kau Tsuen and Pak Kok San Tsuen as well as tourists, etc. However, there is only one primitive set of landing steps at the old Pak Kok Pier where ferries can only berth head-on, which leaves them susceptible to rough sea conditions and exposes passengers to safety risks during embarking or disembarking.
Villagers and tourists are very delighted with the completion of the new pier. They say that the new pier allows ferries to berth alongside. Coupled with a ramp, it can facilitate the embarkation and disembarkation of the elderly, wheelchair-bound people and people with shopping trolleys. The new pier, which is safe and new, can facilitate tourists to visit Lamma Island. Some members of the public consider that, since the pier is mainly for embarkation or disembarkation and public safety is of utmost importance, improvement works are needed in spite of the remote location.
Safer for passengers to embark and disembark
According to Mr LO Tsz-hing, Marcus, Engineer (Pier Improvement Unit) of the CEDD, the new pier provides two longer berthing points for ferries to berth side-on. The wave reduction panels at the berths can enhance the steadiness of the berthing ferries, so it is safer and more convenient for passengers to embark and disembark.
Innovative pier project
He also says that according to the conventional construction method, concrete units of piers close to the sea level need to be cast in situ and such process can only be carried out at optimal tide levels. This not only lengthens the construction time, but also poses safety risks to workers. In view of this, precast concrete units are more extensively used for the new pier project to reduce the impact of tides on works progress, enhance the safety of workers and ensure the quality of works.
Additional ancillary facilities provided
To enhance the experience of pier users, many additional ancillary facilities are provided at the new pier. Miss LI Hok-yee, Jenny, Engineer (Pier Improvement Unit) of the CEDD, says that the facilities include a roof cover, solar panels (for illumination of the pier), a ramp, Wi-Fi, water dispensers, charging facilities, etc. Meanwhile, to blend in with the surrounding environment and take advantage of natural light, the roof cover of the new pier is made of tampered glass and environmentally-friendly wooden trellis. The railings are designed in “丫” shape to symbolise the middle character of the Chinese name of Lamma Island (南「丫」島).
Tourism attractions near the pier
The Lamma Island Family Trail near the Pak Kok Pier connects different places or tourism attractions on Lamma Island, including Pak Kok Tsui, the lighthouse, Pak Kok Shan, wind turbine of Lamma Wind Power Station, Yung Shue Wan, Sok Kwu Wan, Mo Tat Wan, etc. It enables visitors to enjoy the scenery from the north to the south of the island.
A four-week exhibition will be held at the pier by the CEDD from tomorrow to 11 December. Exhibition panels introducing the PIP, various exhibits and backdrops will be displayed and souvenirs will be distributed. The public can take photos and have a deeper understanding of the PIP and the works.
The Development Bureau and CEDD will spare no effort to take forward the improvement works of the remaining piers under the PIP, with a view to enabling the public to enjoy pier facilities which are safer, more convenient and comfortable as soon as possible, and facilitating the public to visit the ecological, cultural and geological sites in Hong Kong.
13 November, 2022Back