A little known eight-lane highway has been planned inside the 131 acres of land to be reclaimed along the Gurney Drive coastline for the Gurney Wharf project.

From what I gather, the 131 acres for Gurney Wharf comprises:

60 acres – ‘Park’ ie green strips running parallel to the highway
18 acres – Eight-lane highway
20 acres – ‘Government reserve’ land (for Wellness City of Dreams project?)
4 acres – ‘Government reserve’ land
8 acres – (Next to government reserve) ‘Future use’ including underground car park
21 acres – Others (not sure what this is for – for Wellness City of Dreams project?)
_________
131 acres
_________

This 131 acres is in addition to the 760 acres being reclaimed by E & O for an artificial island under Phase 2 of its Seri Tanjung Pinang project. (This new island will be about 300m opposite the reclaimed land in Phase 1, which includes Straits Quay, and will end in front of the present Gurney Drive roundabout. It is expected to be  be connected to Penang Island by two bridges. Phase 1 of STP, comprising 240 acres, including 20 acres for road reserve, has already been reclaimed.)

It is expected that 110 acres of this total of 891 acres to be reclaimed will be surrendered to the state government – to be handed over to the developer of the tunnel and three highways as part of a swap deal. I understand the tunnel and three highways were the state government’s idea which they wanted transport consultant Halcrow to include in the RM3m Penang transport masterplan. (I was present when the Halcrow consultant asked a state exco member whether these should be included.)

The eight-lane highway will separate Gurney Drive from the reclaimed coastline for Gurney Wharf with the only access to the reclaimed coastline probably through a couple of underpasses.

Seen another way, the 60-acre ‘park’ out of the 131 acres reclaimed along Gurney Drive comprises parallel strips of land on either side of the planned 18-acre eight-lane highway.

The eight-lane highway is not easily visible in the artist’s impression as it is almost hidden by trees! It seems to end rather abruptly near the Gurney Drive roundabout.

government reserve near Gurney Drive roundabout March 2016

But this end of the highway (near the present Gurney Drive roundabout) will probably connect to a highway to be built in Phase 1 of Seri Tanjung Pinang on the 20 acres of land originally reserved for the Penang Outer Ring Road project. If you remember, Porr was aborted after a loud public outcry (that reportedly included several politicians now in the state government). But it could now morph into a partial ‘Porr 2.0’.

At a time when more visionary cities are trying to move towards sustainable transport/mobility, discouraging cars and even narrowing existing roads, the state government seems to be doing the exact opposite.

Another road will extend from the Gurney Drive roundabout heading towards the sea over the reclaimed land and then over a short bridge linking the new coastline to the Phase 2 artificial island. But this was not shown in the Gurney Wharf public display.

Instead, this image is from the detailed EIA for the 760-acre island:

Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 EIA report

The pink areas are for government reserve land.

This road to the island will probably slice through three plots covering 50-acres of the Wellness City of Dreams. The developer is tunnel developer Zenith and Ewein.

Work has started on 3.67 acres for the City of Dreams: two slim 38-storey towers supposedly with ‘sea view’. Another 4.43 acres will be for City of Dreams II.

Here’s the location for City of Dreams I:

The City of Dreams project site
The City of Dreams project site

And here’s the promo for the project.

The public chatter on one property website is that this is a high-density project and so far the views are not entirely encouraging. Check out the worried if sometimes hilarious readers’ comments in Penang Property Talk. Concern was also expressed about the early collection of so-called ‘booking deposits’.

One of the supposed selling points is that a Rolls Royce limousine would be made available for hire by residents who feel the urge to show off. Another selling point is the ‘sea view’ – but some are wondering if this will end up as mangrove view and eventually reclaimed land view. Who knows, if residents are lucky, they might even get an eight-lane highway view?

What about the rest of the 50-acres for Wellness City of Dreams? Well, one side could end up right smack in front of Gurney Plaza extending up to G Hotel. Someone passed me this graphic, which wasn’t put up at the Gurney Wharf public display. So I am unable to verify its authenticity. But it seems plausible that this is the crucial missing link:

Wellness city of dreams 2016

You can see the two slim towers of the City of Dreams I on the left perimeter of the project site.

Anyway, is the 20-plus four acres of government reserve in front of Gurney Plaza for the Wellness City of Dreams? The following is the area in front of G Hotel and Gurney Plaza:

in front of G Hotel and Gurney Hotel

The top left hand corner of the graphic is probably where a highway interchange will lead to the large artificial island and the Gurney Drive roundabout.

So the Wellness City of Dreams project could be near an eight-lane highway?

Remember, the state government is supposed to hand over 110 acres of land to Zenith, the developer of the tunnel and three highways. Zenith in turn has entered into a joint venture with Ewein to build the Wellness/City of Dreams project.

This land is supposed to finance the infrastructure that Zenith is supposed to build (in addition to a 30-year concession for tunnel tolls). (But is the tunnel project really going ahead?)

The eastern side of the eight-lane highway leads to the proposed undersea tunnel, which will be somewhere offshore from No. 1 Gurney Drive (and near another controversial tower), where Gurney Drive bends to connect to Northam Road.

The display at Gurney Drive does not address the question of how this 131-acre reclamation for Gurney Wharf, alongside the 760 acres for the STP Phase 2 artificial island, will affect tidal flows and sedimentation along the rest of the northeastern coast including Penang port and the mainland.

Meanwhile, the MBPP has also put up a request for proposals for existing land next to the Gurney Drive roundabout, outside the 131-acre land reclamation.

A major project near the Gurney Drive roundabout
A major project near the Gurney Drive roundabout

What kind of project is going to sprout there?

I understand many people have raised concerns about traffic dispersal. Others were simply taken up by the fancy artist’s impressions, one of which masked the eight-lane highway with trees (though in the layout graphics, a fat grey line did indicate a highway). Still others were excited to see what looked like so much green space in congested Penang, without realising there is going to be a major highway next to it.

But the 24 acres of government reserve and eight acres for future use were also shaded in pale green, even though it was not clear what this would be used for and if property development is allowed here, what kind of density would be allowed.

Do the people of Penang really want an eight-lane highway at Gurney Drive? It says a lot that I don’t think many are even aware of the plan for an eight-lane highway.

To sum up, the Gurney Wharf project is just one leg of a three-legged ‘elephant’ stuck in the mud off Tanjung Tokong and Gurney Drive. The three legs:

  • the large artificial island probably connected by two bridges to the mainland (one of the bridges connecting to the Gurney Drive roundabout.
  • the 50-acre City of Dreams/Wellness City of Dreams project in Bandar Tanjung Pinang, which will probably be on either side of the road extending out to the sea from the Gurney Drive roundabout.
  • and the eight-lane highway with green strips or ‘park’ next to it (Gurney Wharf)

So you are only seeing one leg of the ‘elephant’ wallowing in the mud at the Gurney Wharf public display. Perhaps this limited glimpse was what was required for this particular project. It should be noted that any “encouraging” public feedback is based on this partial glimpse of what the entire 891-acre land reclamation really entails.

What is really needed is for the state government to display the whole elephant including:

  • a breakdown of the 760 acres (of which 60 acres is for the state government) + 131 acres = 891 acres to be reclaimed (and a further breakdown of the 131 acres)
  • a clear indication of the route of the eight-lane highway on either end of Gurney Drive;
  • the precise location of the 50-acre Wellness City of Dreams project (not to forget the affordable housing component) in relation to Gurney Plaza;
  • the precise location of the remaining 60 acres of the 110-acres to be handed over to the tunnel developer, Zenith;
  • the monster island off-shore from the Gurney Drive roundabout; and oh yes,
  • the traffic dispersal for this mammoth undertaking and its impact on nearby roads.

Only then would the public be able to provide meaningful feedback.

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53 COMMENTS

  1. Learn from Norway that is building bicycle superhighway.

    Norway pours US$923m into massive bike-only road plan for cities
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=gb4JxjeoqGU

    Norway has announced that it will spend 8 billion Norwegian Kroner (US$923 million) on 10 broad, two-lane, cross-country bike tracks in and near Norway’s nine largest cities. The highway will allow longer-distance cyclists to travel with a speed and safety hitherto impossible. The new paths will create bike commuter links between inner cities and outer suburbs. It will extend the protected cycle network out from urban cores through the commuter belt and into the countryside.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2016/03/09/norway-oil-profits-bicycle-highways/

  2. Bukit Gambier no LRT plan there so the prices should go downhill (no pun intended) from now on. Its near Botak Hill so can have good access to hill top using the “paved” road of JKR standard, good hike up good exercise every morning.
    Many condos there for you to pick once domino effect happens for panic selling when no able to hold on to invested speculated units.

    • who hike from his hse and up the hill? they DRIVE there to base. they use upgraded and improved by gomen. gomen still culprit?

  3. Anil, I emailed the CM at his official email about the need for a mass transist system preferably underground but was forwarded to his support staff who then relayed to Chow Kon Yeow & Lai Hon Meng one month ago but no further development. Penang does not need additional traffic jams but public transport.

    • anil would not tell you even mrt is built but cannot operated because any vehicle must be approved by armno gomen. even an elect bicycle or bus must be approved by them under spad. better write to mca or gelakan. umno best.

    • State gov has said that they considered underground transit system during planning phase…but due to higher price and possibility of affecting the foundation of heritage buildings it was decided for above ground transit system.
      Imagine 3 large islands need to be reclaimed to fund the current plan- if it were to be underground how much more would it cost?

      • you want gomen to acquire land for stns like kl chinatown and ampang park? if not have a stn in gurney wharf. and walk all the way. best is to drive or kapcai with gf or darling

  4. 8-lane highway is for channeling heavy traffic anticipated going to & fro the soon to be built super-expensive sea tunnel of tunnel vision of Niao Kong’s love of legacy no different from Mahathir’s KL Twin Tower. It seems almost every politician with high-altitude power loves to build something ‘elephant’ irrespective of massive costs which opportunity costs could have been productively channel for something more useful. Too bad after tasting Merc S300 Lansi, the CAT ego gets bigger by the minute so much so a complain can invoke an UBAH trance of deity to shift mandated responsibilities (“I give you the job, you do it. Cannot? I laugh”).
    No wonder the roads leading out of Green Elephant Gurney are marked for widening esp Jalan Gottlieb which may affect Pg Chinese Girls High Sch. Waterfall Hotel may be next to give way. So is Jalan Utama with comfortable space for pedestrians. Jalan Scotland, Jalan Macalister, Jalan Air Itam (Chung Ling High School, beware), Greenlane, Jalan Mt Erskine (will the dead have to give way to CAT massive ego?).
    Just one Satu Lagi Projek CAT can affect many. Is it worth it? Why can’t think out of the CAT Box of Arrogance, Big Ego, Habitual Swap Dealing & Blame Game???

  5. Tonight or is it the wee hours of the morning of 8 March, I remember MH370 flying north of Penang on its way to somewhere never to return.
    On the same vein of expectation of futility, I recall the still missing Penang Local Plan in perpetual amendment? in the dark chamber of Niao Kong still counting Money from swap deals that have gone uncontrolled & on the verge of insanity.

      • lucky gelakan. during their tenure, all the bldgs are approved and built on flat land. land were sold cheaply. since then available land are on hills

  6. I am little curious about this ill-conceived and idiotic Gurney Wharf project. It claims as an initiative of the state govt. I wonder why the state is getting involved such projects with no public value or at lease no pressing need for it. I fail to see how this project fits in with the state govt’s plans.

    But with the revelation of the 8-lane highway, I am beginning to see the light. It looks like the sole purpose of the project is to cater for the highway with the park merely serve as the eyewash to hoodwink the public. I wonder which part of the PTMP calls for a 8-lane highway at the Gurney Drive….??

    BTW did you hear the state is going a secretive survey to get public feedback on the project? (Will our) Dear Leader (soon) be calling for a press conference and announce 99% of Penangites support the project and all those who oppose it are UMNO supporters and these people can migrate to Kedah if they keep opposing the “people’s wishes”(?)

    On another point, I keep hearing that a lot of traditional shops are closing down in the city centre due to the mass migration of fancy new businesses like cafes, clubs, restaurants, etc which has hiked up the rental. I wonder if we can even maintain the heritage status.

    • Give a Nyonya lady manek & silk & she will churn out a beautiful manek design.
      Give CAT the mandate & ‘it’ will destroy the ‘manek manek’ of old world charm Pulo Pinang.
      Experiment: toss a manek shoe to a cat & see what will happen to the cultural treasure of real gems.

    • then we must support locals with business lunch and dinner there instead in one of posh area developed by greedy developer. take bus and not drive as clamping is in full force.

  7. If we travel back to future (past), may be we can go back to Gurney Beach to collect “siput” ?

    meantime, let’s go retro for past fond memories. Dedicate this song to those who long for yesteryears !

    Let’s do the TWISTS fom Sia Boey to Paya Terubong !

  8. Any development in Penang is always criticized, but nothing is commented about the frenzy development in Iskandar Johor (sustainable because of involvement of influential people?), including those 4 man-made islands of Forest City that were accorded duty free status accorded by Najib yesterday:

    http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/03/06/forest-city-najib-announces-incentives/

    By the way, could Anil enlighten young readers the reason why and how the Penang island was stripped of its duty free status?

    ps: Malaysia could lose nearly all of its fish production in south-west Johor if reclamation works like the one in the Forest City project is allowed to proceed, warned the Johor Pakatan Rakyat Research Centre (Joprec):

    • There in Johor is even worse with the main coral reef sea concentrated surrounding the Johor Straits, sigh ! Penang’s is just a small fry comparatively what ?

      • lucky gelakan. during their tenure, all the bldgs are approved and built on flat land. land were sold cheaply. since then available land are on hills

    • No duty free at Penang, long revoked to shift attention to Langkawi. However, no sustainable night life spells soon for M project despite heavy investment.

      Now I learnt from … Developer ad that Jerejak island partially earmarked for theme park project. Not sure if Anil can confirm that with his insider scoop?

  9. Death to Gurney Drive, a victim of unprecedented development starting from Ostrich Bo Hoot Era till the present hoped-for-UBAH-but-bluff-high-time of CAT.
    A place which will be gone forever to be replaced by a monstrous Green Elephant Gurney to achieve an entity’s dream of legacy.
    But a dream that started on the road to more unsavoury, unsustainable development via swap-deals at ‘high costs’ to Penangites.
    Natural beach is not acceptable in the eyes of CAT. Artificial man-made is beautiful.
    Mud flats is an opportunity to bury, to land fill & to create more khang tao development.
    Fishing industry is not comparable to high-end development for bin-chui showcase.
    Changing Penang in the name of UBAH doesn’t requires a vision, much less a tagged to Accountable Penang Local Plan (still missing!!!).

    The next time you Niao Kong screams “UBAH” at GE ceramahs, pls for Penangites’ sake spell out what exactly is UBAH – “You Bear All Hancur”

      • Still dare not come to Penang ah?
        Shooting from the safety of your key board?
        Go on imagining & write rubbish!

      • i been there but have you been with the cm and clamp his car since you are nearer to komtar. go to kopi tiam and drink with your kaki and show your power ranger rather pollute the website with kau peh kau pu.

      • Always assume the imaginable – power ranger, can clamp other’s car with no authority, & what else?
        Now I know or should I assume your being there with … for something “I give you the job of Trolls, go twist+turn in anilnetto.com”.
        Thanks for your slip of tongue (I assume)!

  10. what is ill conceived development? tell us why it is ill conceived. if one is an expert point the flaws and offer alternative soln. or raise objections with reasons. any proposals affect thousands and have thousands objections. even 2 different objections have to compromised. Further the project is not paid by penang gomen and therefore MAY not get the best view and area.

    • What is ill conceived is building more highways for cars on such a small island when other more visionary cities are trying to move towards more sustainable transport and mobility and even narrowing their existing roads. Here we are doing the opposite.

      • Just invite him to come to Penang.
        Simple. Evidences are there to see.
        No need to argue until the cows come home.

      • anil, pl tell us frankly about who can give green light to sustainsble transport. komtat or federal SPAD. also name which city that has only sustainable transport and ignore other roads?

      • anil, any car pool scheme running? or share car like in sydney or melbourne where y
        one paid to be a member and book for useage of cars? has such scheme being running in penang?

        how the island going to handle vehicles fom mainland when they come for holidays?

        why this project is not traffic sustainsble? it can turn perth car port and extend cat service with shuttle to unseco site? mainland tourist when drive will come to few main sites.

        with new land they can build whatever they like not touching the heritage. or you want rich spending tourists to squat in the martial art wong fei hoong inns.

      • try narrowing at the roads some of blogger’s hse? they drive 4wds and raj needs car as there armno gomen hardly provide rapid there.

  11. A Not-So-Green Elephant in the making?
    With a super-trunk road so fat (8-lane mah!) it is supposed to disperse / channel traffic to+fro the sea tunnel?
    No wonder Gottlieb Road was planned to be widened which would have run over Pg Chinese Girls High School’s field.
    More space eating CAT highways in the drawing boards of 28th Floor Komtar Tower?
    Waterfall Hotel, pls take note. You may be next.
    More superhighways, more Merc S300 Lansi, more CAT’s Gila-UBAH of Penang.

    • car owners pay road tax. what is road tax for? one take taxi or buses and expect a better service. road widening also for public buses as promoted by Anil. if no better service why take bus

  12. I have been an avid reader of your postings for a few years now and have never posted any comments. So Anil, why are you so anti-development? Don’t you realized the Western World had been raping the world for the past 150 years and are now advocates for “Green the World” … “Save the world for our future Generations” and etc,. etc … What is happening in Penang is for the future development and well-being of Penangnites at large. If you are not happy, you can “Balik UK” …. LOL!

    • Thanks for commenting. I am not against development. But I am against ill conceived and unsustainable development that mainly benefits certain parties.

      • Cheers Kopi-O kau kau!
        Anil, we Penangites know what is happening at a unacceptable frenzy which to outsiders is great & applaudable.
        Concretised development in the name of Cosmopolitan Penang has gone way overboard, uncontrolled & some insane.
        Now, Gurney Drive which turned Coast-Mud-Politan Penang will be transformed into Green Elephant Gurney (without the Drive).
        The way this controversial sea tunnel (a Satu Lagi Projek CAT), a catalyst for more unsavoury swap deals is planned & executed actually leads to more
        land conversion + road widening in the quest to cope with anticipated traffic volume in the vicinity stretching from Pangkor Road to Mt Erskine to Jalan Utama. (Now you know the reason why they (allegedly) want to cut into Pg Chinese Girls High Sch field)
        Is this frenzied development cum road expansion beyond sanity (at CAT’s ad hoc snap-deals hooked to unsavoury swap deals) leading to a well developed Penang? In the absence of Penang Local Plan that go missing after a year? of continuous BM translation? Something is not right. More likely a politician-accountant’s plan without a vision messed up by ad-hoc development frenzies in the pursuit of more Money for a glowing annual financial health statement endorsed solely by Venerable Dr Niao Kong.
        Yesterday, I drove in front of All Season & what I saw was more hill cutting on the hills west of Jalan Paya Terubong.
        Are the eyes at MBPP blind?
        Time to order Nasi Pattaya @ TNB (Anson Road) Kantin to cut up & eat up with eyes closed.

      • Better to enjoy street food and not be anguished by carbon filled motorway detrimental to my lungs.
        Today going to try out Burmese meals at Komtar to prepare for my trip to Yangon to witness the golden pagoda there.
        Tunglang should go book tickets to Myanmar now offer return trips only work out to be ~RM170 per person flying Fernandez plane. Come home write about Kopi there as Penang no more thrilling to your appetite.

      • car owners dont pay road tax? after donkey years from bullock road why pay road tax with no service. anil wants mire pubic buses. so still bullock cart road for more public buses? also now they have better cycle lanes and pedestrian without paying any road tax.so that when get old can use them wo tripping. you are happy armno gomen keep the money for road tax?

      • what river of justice? no reply from you. until now you are trying to hide your sustainabiity is via public transport which is controlled by armno gomen. the state has no say.
        next, car owers pay road tax. you mesn they are not entitled to better road service just like public bus users? mind you pubic buses travel better if roads are wider.
        widen roads are to serve your future sustainable transport like busway and trams if they are implement.
        syd, melbourne are building more expressways through the inner city. hk with mtr, busess and trams are building bypass expresways and restart area licensing which they talk many times.hk small place but people drive suv like penang with 4wd and donkey bars

    • The positive thing for such frenzy development is that the value of the surrounding properties will escalate.
      One can always cash in for a tidy sum for idyllic retirement on the mainland away from the future hustle and bussle of traffic congestion and dense living. But please migrate once you have retired before you hit 60 so that you and your spouse could make good adjustment to the new life in a new environment devoid of Starbucks and Kim Gary.

      • the young ones also migrate. they are forced. to work on wong fei hoong types of inns and guest house or standing beside tables as waiters. how much can they earned? Once fhey move out of penang the old town will be filled by thousands of banglas. it become nottingham forest with merry land. let them stay behind and remain as elvis the cat king or being cheating heart by hanks williams. or like the pua boy from muar went to taiwan and invent pendrive.

      • I remember past 3 years many readers have advised those who fancy old Penang island casual non cosmopolitan lifestyles to migrate to mainland. Those who stay put and groan at NiaoKong must be more frustrated now. If they get a landed terrace double storey house in mainland then may be RM300k+, now at least RM500K+ already e.g. Bukit Mertajam.
        KauPehKauPoh some more then the landed price can soar beyond reach.

      • Having a bank loan at old age?
        You must be giving ill advice.
        How many more years from retirement till death? Average 10 – 20 yrs?
        Better enjoy the moments, whether in Penang Island or mainland or elsewhere.
        Being tied down by a bank loan is not exactly a good life in mainland.
        It’s how one manage one’s finance & needs+wants that matters.
        Living the life you want rather than going on a herd mentality of property investing when the risks is still high & cashing in takes a longer term.
        Unless of course one is loaded to take the opportunity to make a kill.
        (Pls Tell The Reality: Even property agents (this from the horse’s mouth) are now having a hard time to sell any unit & some have to resort to sell those affordable homes left over by no takers who were rejected by banks. No exactly a rainbow scenario as touted by some).

      • why dont you now laugh like santa claus and is a xmas present every day as developers are making losses instead of greedy profits? could be even god sent for lower income as prices drop like in china with ghost suburbs.

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