The Sham Shui Po Bishop Hill Service Reservoir, which caused a storm of demolition at the end of last year, was designated as a Grade I historical building by the Ancient Consultative Committee in March this year. The Water Supplies Department announced on Thursday (25th) that it had decided to open the service reservoir with a limited number of appointments.
The public can register on the special page of the government's "Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir" website from December 1 to book a guided tour to enter the reservoir.
It took less than a year from the time when the internal building of the reservoir was seen again until the Water Supplies Department announced that it would be open to the public to visit.
At present, the temporary reinforcement of the Bishop Mountain Service Reservoir has been completed, including the addition of platform passages, stairs, glass roofs and lighting systems.
The authorities said that after the hardware is complete, the department can focus on solving more immediate software problems, so that a more comprehensive plan can be made in the future.
The number of people for guided tours of historic sites is too large
The upcoming guided tours will depart every day in the morning and afternoon. At the same time, there will be five group time slots each week. The government expects to accept about 1,000 people to sign up for the guided tours every month.
However, comparing the number of visitors to other monuments at present, we can find that the opening of the Bishop Mountain Service Reservoir is actually too few.
Take King Yin Lei, a statutory monument, for example. Although this place is not always open, according to the figures recorded by the government, there were already 24,283 visitors on the 14-day open day in 2013.
On the other hand, the government expects to accept about 1,000 people to sign up for guided tours to the Bishop’s Mountain Reservoir every month. Even if it is held for one year without interruption, it will only record about 12,000 visitors. It can be seen that the attendance limit is actually too large and should be considered in the future. Allow more citizens to sign up for participation.
Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir after activation.
(Photo by Liao Yanxiong)
Conservation activation does not need to be linked to business
On the other hand, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Yau Tenghua commented on the service reservoir in May. He pointed out that historical sites or cultural relics may not necessarily become tourist attractions. If they cannot be highlighted or activated into places that the public can visit or use, At best, it can only be reduced to a check-in location. It also refers to the Tai O Police Station being turned into a Tai O Heritage Hotel, adding operators and commercial elements, which is a successful example of revitalizing and tourist attractions.
However, judging from the past government-led revitalization plans, linking to commercial development may not be the best arrangement. For example, when “Yuan Chuang Fang” revitalized historical buildings, it did not activate the historical value and stories of related buildings at the same time. It is inevitable to give people a feeling of over-commercialization, and the number of visitors has been low for a long time. Therefore, it is necessary for the government to think about conservation directions other than commercial leadership, such as constructing an in-depth tourism business that illustrates Hong Kong’s distinctive local culture.
Yuanchuangfang's merchants are mostly high-end brands.
(Photo by Chen Ziyun)
The opening of service reservoirs is currently only a short-term planning plan. During the period, public opinions on long-term conservation will be collected. This means that the bureau does not have a specific blueprint for a long-term activation plan. However, it is precisely because of this that its future planning can be more specific. Resilience, each department should do a good job in the relevant work, so that the public should not lose the opportunity to appreciate the original appearance of a historic building again because of commercial preservation.
[Bishop’s Hill Reservoir] Conservation of cultural relics cannot "break first, then stand up"