Tuesday July 31, 2012
Residents happy raintrees remain unharmed
TAIPING: The people here are happy that the iconic raintrees on Jalan Pekeliling at the Taiping Lake Gardens and its serene view will remain untouched.
Although the Taiping Municipal Council has shelved plans to build several kiosks along the garden's green belt, they remain cautious as to what would come next.
Retiree Kok Wei Ming, 60, said he was happy with the decision especially since it meant the environment remained unharmed.
“The previous site was unsuitable as it was too close to the raintrees that we, Taiping residents, are so proud of. I think it would be more suitable for the kiosks to be built at the children's playground,” he said.
Carpenter S. Jeyaratnam, 38, said the council should have consulted the people before deciding to develop the area.
“The gardens are an important part of Taiping's unique identity. Thus, any decision pertaining to its development should take into consideration the views of the public before it is made official,” he said.
Taiping Mari! Facebook group administrator Lee Hui Seng said the news was highly anticipated by residents but declined to comment further until an announcement was made on which of the alternative sites would be chosen.
“If it is next to the McDonalds outlet next to the children's playground, I will still object as it will mar the beauty of the green hills in the background,” he said.
Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming urged the council to have a dialogue with local non-governmental organisations and people's representatives about such projects.
The Star's staff correspondent in Taiping from 1987 to 1994 K. Parkaran thanked the council for listening to the people.
“Let this be a lesson to any authority to be sensitive to the people's views before approving any project in places that mean a lot to the people,” he said, adding that there should be a law to prevent construction at areas like the Lake Gardens.
In a related development, the state Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Hamidah Osman said the controversial project to build several food and souvenir kiosks on Jalan Pekeliling was approved by the Pakatan Rakyat state government in 2008.
“Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham, who was then the senior state executive councillor and also RKK chairman, was present during the time it was unveiled.
Separately, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir lambasted the Opposition for making it look as if raintrees at the Lake Gardens would be cut down for the project.
“I would be the first to object if any tree was going to be felled. Their allegations have angered many people, when in actual fact, there was no intention to cut down any tree,” he said after chairing a meeting at the Perak Water Board in Ipoh.