The Victoria Harbourfront is a unique urban landscape of Hong Kong, featuring our harbourfront promenades which have become popular leisure and “check-in” hotspots on social media. Over the past three years, five kilometres of new harbourfront promenades have been created on both sides of the harbour, including the Shek Tong Tsui to Wan Chai section and the North Point Pier harbourfront areas on Hong Kong Island; and those in the West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Tsuen Wan waterfront area. This time, I have specially invited Mr NG Wing-shun, Vincent, who was recently re-appointed as the Chairman of the Harbourfront Commission (HC), to talk about the future harbourfront development, the public engagement plan for harbourfront activities and ways to facilitate the public to come close to the waterfront through a special platform under the epidemic.
13 projects ready to roll
The Government has been working closely with the HC to develop an attractive, vibrant, accessible and sustainable harbourfront to provide a quality public space for the Hong Kong people. To this end, a dedicated funding of $6.5 billion has been reserved for the implementation of harbourfront development initiatives.
Vincent says that the HC strongly supports the use of the dedicated funding to take forward the 13 harbourfront enhancement projects (see the picture), among which, the harbourfront sites of two projects, viz. the harbourfront promenade connecting Tamar and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and the Enhancement of Tsuen Wan Waterfront (Phase 1) have been opened for public use in phases from 2019; three projects, viz. the ex-Wan Chai Public Cargo Working Area, the waterfront along Victoria Park Road and the East Coast Park in Fortress Hill have commenced construction in 2020; and two more projects, viz. the Boardwalk underneath the Island Eastern Corridor and the open space at Eastern Street North in Sai Ying Pun are expected to commence construction in 2021 or 2022. In the long run, he looks forward to the further extension of the Victoria Harbour promenades from the present 23 kilometres to 34 kilometres by 2028, representing an increase of about 50 per cent.
New elements in waterfront
Apart from our efforts in extending the harbourfront promenade by connecting different lots, we are also committed to adding new elements to the waterfront. To name a few, the HC has recently completed the review on the design of the harbourfront promenade in the Kai Tak Runway area. The promenade will adopt the design of a shared-use pavement for cyclists and pedestrians. Upon progressive completion of this “GreenWay” network in Kai Tak in 2022, members of the public will be able to cycle or stroll along the shared-use pavement to enjoy the harbourfront environment. Moreover, we plan to add elements of water sports to the harbourfront by, for example, developing the ex-Wan Chai Public Cargo Working Area into a Watersports and Recreation Precinct. Earlier on, dragon boat races were held in the area to explore the potential of organising water sports events along the waterfront.
Pop-up artist installations
With a view to introducing new elements to the waterfront, the HC has made some new attempts over the past two years by inviting local artists or organisations to present pop-up artist installations at various harbourfront sections. Vincent tells us that the “limited edition” concept aims to bring refreshing changes to the harbourfront at different intervals to add more colours to the harbourfront while attracting local people and tourists alike to “check-in” on social media. Examples of these pop-up installations, which also provide an opportunity for cultural and creative arts workers to unleash their talent, are the weaving artwork near the North Point Promenade, constellation angel dolls display and miniature craftwork along the promenade section connecting Tamar and the HKCEC.
Creating a vibrant harbourfront with the public
It is the vision of the HC to bring people to the harbourfront and engage the community on harbourfront development. Vincent highlights two design competitions that were held recently to engage the community in creating a more unique and attractive harbourfront. The first one is the Harbourfront Public Furniture Competition in which a maximum of 20 units of furniture will be identified for decorative display at the harbourfront promenades on both sides of the Victoria Harbour. The second one is the “Victoria Harbour” Word Art Competition of which the winners’ artwork will be showcased at the East Coast Park Precinct to be built soon near the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter for people to “check-in” on social media. The HC will release the results of these two competitions in October and it is expected that many quality proposals will be received.
The first ever online harbourfront guided tours
Originally, the HC planned to organise various harbourfront-related guided tours with “Walk In Hong Kong” to enhance the public’s understanding of the harbourfront and promote community engagement in harbourfront activities. Due to the epidemic, however, the activities have moved online to become the first series of “online harbourfront guided tours” in town. Vincent says that the event has received overwhelming response and the first guided tour has attracted over 100 adults and children participants. He also tells us that a wide range of online guided tours of different themes are in the pipeline, including those made specially for families, photographers, pet lovers and architecture lovers. The public will be able to explore the harbourfront through video tours led by experienced tour guides.
Although the epidemic has brought about many challenges, the Government and the HC will continue to take forward various harbourfront projects while planning for new ones, and explore more possibilities by tapping innovative ideas from the public in order to create a more comfortable, interesting and vibrant harbourfront environment while opening up more harbourfront promenades on both sides of the Victoria Harbour.
6 September, 2020Back