Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Does HK Need an Eye?

This is the now iconic London Eye... should Hong Kong have one too?

OK get this folks -- Hong Kong might follow London and Singapore and have its own 60-metre-high "eye" along the Central waterfront.

The Hall Organisation and Great Cities Attractions Global in the UK want to bring an observation wheel to Hong Kong in a proposal that was presented to the Harbourfront Commission today.

The company wants the wheel to be near where piers No 9 and 10 will be in one to three years.

"The wheel will definitely become a focal point of the harbour, offering postcard photo opportunities. It will attract people to the harbourfront and can promote vibrancy both day and night," the potential operators said in the proposal.

Peter Wong Yiu-sun, an engineer and commission member thinks it's a good idea. "We need something other than just cafes on the waterfront. A wheel can add vibrancy to the area." He did not think typhoons would pose a safety risk to the wheel.

But another commission member Paul Zimmerman had reservations. "It's immediately iconic, but it seems to be having a wheel in Hong Kong after London and Singapore is a bit 'me-too'," he said.

"It's a positive thing that people are starting to throw out ideas for the harbourfront, but I would hope for something more creative and outstanding."

The proposal for the wheel says it would carry 336 passengers at a time, would be lit with LED lighting and would open daily from 9am to midnight.

Thoughts of having the perfect seat to watch fireworks in Victoria Harbour come to mind with the wheel and yet another tourist attraction to suck up those visitor dollars.

Other than that, what good is the wheel for? Yet another place to shine gaudy LED lights; we have enough of that every night at 8pm with the laser light show.

Why do public spaces have to be so heavily programmed? Why not leave it up to the residents to use the space as they wish?

Or how about creating a garden park area with some grass, flowers and trees? Or open spaces for exhibitions or local farmers to sell their goods?

Hong Kong people deserve a space they can call their own -- after all the government is using their money to build it.

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