East Coast Park Precinct (Phase 1) in Fortress Hill to officially open this Saturday (with photos)


     The East Coast Park Precinct (Phase 1), located at the harbourfront in Fortress Hill on Hong Kong Island, will be officially opened this Saturday (September 25). 

     Phase 1 of the Precinct, with an area of about 9 800 square metres, is located to the west of Watson Road. It was previously a works area for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) project. In accordance with the principle of developing the harbourfront in an incremental approach, the Highways Department advanced the release of part of the site for public use even though the remaining works of the adjacent CWB project were still under way. The Precinct is also one of the 13 works projects under the $6.5 billion dedicated funding for harbourfront enhancement.

     The Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, said at the opening ceremony of the Precinct this evening (September 23) that he was glad to witness another promenade site opened under the incremental approach. The Precinct provides a new promenade section of about 360 metres alongside Victoria Harbour for the public.

     The entrance to the Precinct is underneath the CWB flyover. Adopting the design concept of “Windows”, the architect infused window frames of different sizes into the design of balustrades, outdoor installations and a low kerb, offering a distinctive scene for visitors as if it is being viewed through a window. A lawn area, benches, shelters and more are also provided for public use. In addition, to help children play freely while their parents are enjoying the spectacular view of Victoria Harbour, there is painting on the ground for riders of balance bikes, while the architect has introduced slides and safety floor mats at part of the sloping seawall above the sea level in the Precinct, utilising the special characteristics of the site. The Precinct is also a pet-friendly site where pet owners and their pets on leashes are welcome to visit. It will be open to the public around the clock.

     One major feature of the Precinct is that it provides the first breakwater officially open to the public within Victoria Harbour. The breakwater is approximately 100m in length, allowing members of the public to enjoy the stunning shoreline of Hong Kong from a new angle at the inner Victoria Harbour. Visitors can also take in a nearly 360-degree panoramic view of Victoria Harbour from the end of the breakwater. The CWB East Vent Shaft above the breakwater was designed specifically to be in harmony with the harbour vista and was the winning entry of an exterior design competition.

     In addition, the first large-scale word art installation designed under the theme of Victoria Harbour is also being exhibited in the Precinct. In order to encourage more stakeholders and art groups to participate in harbourfront development, the Development Bureau and the Harbourfront Commission organised the Victoria Harbour Word Art Competition from July to September last year. The winning entry, “The Beacon of Hong Kong”, designed by Arnold Wong and Charmaine Lin, is being displayed at the Precinct. Through its illuminating colourful fonts and Chinese characters of the names of different districts in Hong Kong as well as mesh design, the word art installation celebrates the vibrant life of Victoria Harbour. The hollow design of the individual letters aims to encourage the public to walk inside and become part of the art piece. The public can view the installation from the sea and enjoy the scenery of the Victoria Harbour waterfront from another angle.

     Various local green fashion brands designed a series of clothing and accessories for the harbourfront, and collaborated with community members of different ages to conduct a fashion show on the breakwater during the opening ceremony, thereby promoting the harbourfront vision of social inclusion and sustainable development. The clothing from the fashion show will be displayed at the Precinct until October 2. 

     Design work for the remaining part of the Precinct has already commenced, and the project is aimed at being opened to the public in phases from 2024 in tandem with the Boardwalk underneath the Island Eastern Corridor project.

     Mr Wong added, “The Government will continue to take forward the vision of the incremental approach and open more harbourfront spaces for early public enjoyment while various major works projects at the harbourfront are still under way. It is expected that by the end of 2021, the Pierside Precinct (Phase 2), the Water Sports and Recreation Precinct (Phase 2) and the Revitalised Typhoon Shelter Precinct will be open, further extending the existing public promenade alongside Victoria Harbour to 25 kilometres.”

     Phase 1 of the Precinct is located to the west of Watson Road. It can be reached from Fortress Hill MTR Station by walking along Oil Street and Electric Road, and then going to the end of Watson Road, with the walk only taking about seven minutes (see attachment).