Sunday August 5, 2012
Delegates at Penang Forum 5 pass resolution against hillslope projects
By ANDREA FILMER and KOW KWAN YEE
GEORGE TOWN: Delegates who attended the Penang Forum 5 dialogue have passed a resolution urging the state government not to approve any hillslope projects here and to improve the mechanism to monitor existing ones.
This resolution was part of an eight-point charter passed after a public dialogue with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and state government officials here.
Other resolutions adopted included a call for local authorities to review the new high density policy which allows for a maximum density of 87 units per 0.4 ha.
The group also asked for more public consultation on major housing projects and for the local authorities to constructively hear objections from residents affected by development.
The dialogue organised by a coalition of Penang-based public-interest civil society groups who call themselves the Penang Forum, had attracted a crowd of around 500 yesterday.
The theme this time around, was “A Public Dialogue with the CM: A Vision for an International Liveable City.”
Other suggestions included charging motorists if they choose to enter the inner city areas during peak hours, making the first 100m of reclaimed land mandatory for public areas and creating an integrated water resource management.
Many in the audience had anticipated fireworks at the event due to a host of environmental issues plaguing the state.
Lim looked relieved on stage as the questions posed to him were relatively tame.
Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris highlighted his thoughts on possible congestion following the completion of the Second Penang Bridge in September next year.
“There is no proper traffic dispersal for the bridge's outlet on the island and a bottleneck is going to happen.
“From what I understand, a road widening project will only begin in 2014.”
Lim said he had to “put his hands up and surrender” when it came to transport as it, as well as the second Penang Bridge, were under Federal Government jurisdiction.
Tanjung Bungah Residents Association (TBRA) committee member Annelies Allain spoke about a plot of reclaimed land on a beach-front that residents have come to label as a “sore thumb”.
“Why does it take four years to put a lot number on a pile of rocks and allocate it for public use?” she asked, referring to reports of a planned Tanjung Bungah Coastal Park for the area.
An eight-year-old boy, Calvin Tan stole the show at the end, by proposing for an iconic landmark that he said could better brand the state.
“Penang needs a new landmark to attract tourists.
“Komtar is too old to take a photograph with,” Calvin said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.
To this, Lim said that plans were in the works for Heritage Square, a 2ha new heritage enclave around the old Sia Boey market.