“Wooden” benches promised by the Development Bureau turn out to be plastic – and have begun chipping away after just a month of use

Fixtures along the new stretch of Hong Kong’s much-vaunted “Pierside Precinct” promenade in Wan Chai are already cracked and broken barely a month after opening, Transit Jam has found.

This “attraction” has deflated, while a power cable strung out to power the lights causes a trip hazard along the path

A visit to the waterfront around Wan Chai on Sunday found the newly-renovated Precinct in a state of disrepair with cracked benches and cordoned-off seating. Further west, harbourfront “attractions” had degenerated into deflated ornaments and wobbly, falling-apart hazards that block the harbour view. QR codes posted along railings failed to link to promised entertainment.

A Development Bureau spokesman last month said that “opening the harbourfront space in accordance with an incremental approach can help in collecting visitors’ views and noting their experiences, thereby enabling the evolution of harbourfront spaces in an organic and interactive way by responding to users’ needs.”

But the Bureau did not respond to questions on the poor quality of the Pierside Precinct or the harbourside vicinity, nor would it give figures on how much the renovation had cost, or the repair and maintenance costs budgeted.

The harbourside developments “enhance the community’s sense of belonging to the harbourfront,” said a Development Bureau spokesperson

Back in March, a Bureau spokesperson had said the new Precinct represented a new style for harbourside attractions, comprising mainly “simple fair-faced concrete and wooden structures”.

However, the cracks and damage to the benches reveal them not to be wooden, but a plastic composite with a fake wooden facade.

The shutting of Pierside Precinct benches comes after the embarrassing failure of the government’s flagship HK50 million Musical Fountain in Kwun Tong, which was shut down a day after opening due to “suspected contamination of water with liquid soap”.

The government had pledged the area would be “a leisure hot spot and will enrich public enjoyment”, but said problems involving “a great deal of foam” had forced its shutdown.

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