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Hong Kong Star Ferry Terminal succumbs to reclamation


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Saturday marked a sad day in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong said farewell to a landmark harbour pier and clock tower which are to be demolished as part of reclamation plans. A big farwell send-off with four of Star Ferries' vessels occured last night from the Edinburgh Place pier in the Central District on Hong Kong Island. This pier has been home to the city's iconic green-and-white-striped Star Ferries for close to 50 years. Residents came to bid farewell and tour the pier one last time before its gates close for good.

Reclamation has been subjected to controversy by many architects and conservationists. They say plans like this are destroying Hong Kong's famous Victoria Harbour. The plan for the now closed Edinburgh Place pier is to demolish it and to create a six land boulevard to ease traffic on Hong Kong Island. Some are convinced its all for the money by the government from land sales to property developers. Giant malls and office buildings have been built in the past on reclaimed land.

In addition, Architects and conservationists state that the old piers have important architectural and cultural value to Hong Kong. For the past 50 years, it has witnessed significant changes and it plays an important part in their collective memory. The ferry pier is one of the last examples of a Streamline Modern public building in Hong Kong, along with the Central market and Wan Chai market also facing demolition.

Besides the loss of Edinburgh Place pier and its charming clock tower, the nearby Queen's pier will also be demolished. This pier, built in 1957, served as the ceremonial landing point for a host of visiting British Royals, and of more recent British governors, including the last: Chris Patten.

As a former Hong Kong resident, I am sad to see this historic landmark engulfed in the development frenzy. When you reclaim the Victoria Harbour it's gone forever. Nothing can bring it back not even money. I find the reclaimed shoreline to be more unnatural than what it once was with the jaggeed edges and small bays.

I'm just wondering your input on this.

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