Policy

INSTAGRAM PIER SHUTTERED TO PUBLIC WITHOUT CONSULTATION, PANDEMIC CITED

Hard filter: dockers are the only people allowed on the Instagram Pier from today

Hong Kong’s landmark “Instagram Pier” has been shut to the public without warning this weekend, ending years of tolerance for public access to the picturesque industrial spot.

A local newspaper reported the site would be closed to anyone not working the docks from 1 March 2021, citing pandemic controls.

A Hong Kong Tourist Board official confirmed the pier would be closed “citing Covid concerns”.

However, a visit to the pier today (28 February) found it already closed to the public, with gates locked and security guards denying access to anyone attempting to scale the fences. A source says the gates were locked from 10am on 28 February.

District Councillor Paul Zimmerman condemned the closure, which, he says, “breaks the waterfront connectivity”.

The Hong Kong Tourist Board has promoted the pier, despite access technically being illegal

“The presence of the public has been tolerated and condoned for many years. Instagram pier was voted the most favourite public space in 2016. It is very regrettable that the Marine Department has decided to suddenly close the gates without prior consultation of the District Council, nor The Harbourfront Commission,” he says.

“If any closure is to proceed, government should first widen the pavements around the Western Cargo Working Area, before the closure is implemented,” says Zimmerman.

Locals on the scene were dismayed to find the popular venue closed. Nick, 24, says safety concerns may be understandable but that in his experience people behave responsibly within the venue. “People have self- discipline,” he says.

Another visitor, Victoria, 28, says she often runs along the waterfront to the pier from Tin Hau, and is unhappy at the closure.

Several berths around the pier were transformed from cargo berths to landscaped outdoor areas in 2018, but the pier itself remains a busy dock, with access tolerated but not technically allowed.

But a Kennedy Town resident says tensions have risen between cargo workers and cargo tourists in recent months, with an upsurge in visitors during lockdown. “It’s a working pier but not everybody respected that,” she says, citing examples of conflict between workers and day trippers.

“I guess the pier was overwhelmed because people had nowhere else to go. They couldn’t stop them and now they’ve had enough,” she says.

Sunset on a landmark: the gates were closed at Instagram Pier today for the first time in years, leaving many visitors disappointed

The government has upgraded waterfront facilities in the district but many visitors say more can be done

 

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