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Bishop Hill reservoir to open to public next month

2021-11-25 HKT 12:52
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  • Bishop Hill reservoir to open to public next month
A century-old underground reservoir at Bishop Hill in Sham Shui Po will be opened for guided tours from December 15, with a quota of around 1,000 visitors a month.

The Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir narrowly escaped demolition last year, after Roman-style arches were discovered at the disused cistern.

With bookings for free tours to open on December 1, members of the public can soon get a glimpse of the pre-war structure, which is now classified as a Grade 1 historic building.

Tours will run throughout the week, and each will last around 90 minutes. The number of visitors will be capped at 12 per tour and use of the LeaveHomeSafe app will be required.

Philip Chung, the Water Supplies Department's Assistant Director (Urban), said visitors can enjoy the architectural design of the place, and learn about its past contribution to the area.

"We are not prepared to fence off the place. I think the people will admire the history when they go near it, when they feel it. [We will] not just put it in a box," he said.

"I think most importantly, people of Hong Kong need to respect the history. They need to be considerate and not damage any historical properties or historical buildings," he added.

Sections of the reservoir were taken apart last year before demolition work was halted in light of a public outcry, and the Water Supplies Department has since spent some HK$20 million on reinforcement and improvement works.

Chung said authorities have yet to decide whether to carry out further restoration.

"It is possible that there is a full restoration, but whether this is the best option for the future, I'm not sure. Because the building was a service reservoir. It is a confined space. It may not be friendly for visitors to go into the building to look at it,” he explained.

"For the future plans, the government at this stage is open. We don't have any firm idea at the moment. We will conduct public consultations and research to see what is the best option to restore and revitalise the historic building."

The government said it will decide whether to extend the tours beyond June 14 next year based on the public response.