The Avenue of Stars tourist attraction in Tsim Sha Tsui is set to be closed to the public starting Thursday as a three-year revitalisation programme begins.
The controversial waterfront revitalisation project, which was spearheaded by New World Development and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), was approved by the Town Planning Board in August. It faced a backlash from the public and came under much criticism from the Harbourfront Commission after groups said they were not properly consulted. In early September, the government announced that a public consultation on the revitalisation plans would be relaunched. It also said that a proposed contract with New World Development on the project would not be signed this year.
However, it now appears the project is pressing ahead as New World Development closes the attraction for redevelopment. Works are expected to be completed by late 2018, Apple Daily reported.
The copper statues on the Avenue of Stars, which feature prominent celebrities such as Bruce Lee and Anita Mui more, will be moved to the Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront Podium Garden temporarily during the revitalisation works.
Posted by MM on Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The Victoria Waterfront Concern Group issued a press release on Wednesday, condemning the move to close off the Avenue of Stars and criticising the parties behind the project for “work first, then consultation”.
“The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said that they will consult the public, but it was jointly hosted by the government and New World Development, and they refused to discuss issues such as the management model and whether there will be an open tender process,” it said.
The group called the consultation “phony” and asked for the closing of the attraction to be postponed.
Others supported the decision. “When we heard that the Avenue of Stars will be undergoing revitalisation, most of us in the movie industry very much supported the plan… we just hope it won’t take as long as three years,” Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers Ng See-yuen said in an interview with DBC.
He said that when the public engaged in “pointless discussion” and “conspiracy theories”, debating issues such as whether there was a conflict of interest, or whether the matter can be judicially reviewed, “the [progress of] the Avenue of Stars will be stagnated and it will be just like West Kowloon.”
A weekend snacks vendor at the Avenue of Stars told The Sun that he was displeased that the attraction will be completely closed to the public. “Usually you would only seal off sections at a time. Sealing it off completely…it’s no different to Occupy Central. My business will definitely be affected, [I will lose] at least a third of what I make.”
He was also doubtful that he would be able to set up his stall in the same place again after three years. “The paths will be different and the facilities will be different…I’m not confident that it will accommodate small vendors like me.”