Gurney Drive roundabout won’t be the same again


Yesterday I published a post saying that the MPPP was calling for a request for proposals for three lots of land near the Gurney Drive roundabout – though I wasn’t sure then of the precise location of those lots.

Today I can confirm the precise location of the three lots. Two of them – Lots 1011 and 1373 – are covered by the white space above. It is possible that a large high density commercial or mixed development complex will spring up in that area perhaps to rival Gurney Paragon or other similar complexes.

As you can see the white space covers parts of the existing main roads.

In all likelihood, any new large project will aggravate the congestion on the roads in this popular shopping, recreational and culinary section of Gurney Drive.

The MPPP must clarify if it plans to turn this entire area of Gurney Drive into a commercial concrete jungle.

The third lot – Lot 2882 – is opposite Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon, on the other side of Kelawei Road, in an area which is already filled with high density projects (see below).

Opposite Gurney Plaza

Why aren’t these precise locations for the requests for proposals being made public? Is the public to be presented with a fait accompli after the MPPP and developers have sealed their deal?

READ MORE:  Heated argument over Botak Hill 'mitigation' work during site visit
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  1. You really need to wonder about the focus of the government in Penang. Surely you need to focus and attract investment that will give us the jobs and income in order to spend money on condos and shopping?? There are not enough high paying jobs in Penang so focus on getting our income levels up otherwise its just a property bubble as there is no sustainability. It seems they are ONLY taking the easy option on having a property led economy (but with huge long term problems). What we need is a couple of landslides (with no damage to people of course) and a property bubble to burst before they wake up.

    • Landslide can unnaturally happen when some people are too frustrated with recent development to create the mishap?
      The usual suspects are there in this blog?

    • The quest for Cosmopolitan Penang gone wrong?
      Was there any in-depth thinking to create a place where everyone (not only the rich) can live, work, play and relax so as to call Penang ‘my home’ and not reserved for the ‘My 2nd Home’ foreigners?

      It looks more like a quick-fix rush to Cosmopolitanize the state using developers’ financial clout but at the developers’ T&C of no-question-asked.

      Build first, then figure out how to sell at sky high prices (justified by drunkard property gurus and kia-su fear-inspired property market projection) in the absence of an integrated transportation network, adequate breathing green spaces and meaningful social amenities. Consumer purchase decisions are more than price and bin chui.

      Then figure out how to attract entrepreneurs to open shop in ghostly-empty shopping malls (go take a slow walk in Times Square to see for yourself) where the market of deep pocket shoppers are as scarce as Big Foot in Penang Hill. Ikea may have to prepare for a different kind of Penang market of home furniture / fixture shoppers, or may have to adapt Courts Mammoth business strategy. Open shop, close shop may be the trend in shopping malls.

      Then figure out how to get Penangites to buy homes beyond their reach. Already saddled with debts and commitments, and low salaries, can the average household afford to get a home but ‘chiah sua’ (eat Gurney sands) for meals?

      Then figure out how to attract and capture the hearts of local and foreign tourists to Cosmopolitan Penang who maybe unprepared for a ‘Shock and Awe’ different Penang inconsistent with tour ads still selling with old world charm of decades-old Penang pictorials.

      Then figure out why there are still more mud than Gurney Drive mud. Pro development EIA studies don’t guarantee mah, so to speak to environmental critics. Or just blame the Andaman Sea for dumping more mud.

      Then figure out why marine fish prices are so sky-high when we have fish farms, fishermen and seas all around us. Cat fish from Komtar may be just as good an alternative.

      Then figure out why Cosmopolitan Penang is now so hot compared to one decade ago. Blame Mother Nature, blame La Nina, oh yes can still blame Mr Ostrich of Gerakan.

      You go figure out from here what’s gone wrong with your Cosmopolitan Penang concept, CM Lim.

      • Some figure out that and have moved to better environment in mainland BUT businesses stay put on the island to earn $ from bin chui obsessed folks.

    • We tried our luck with this CAT, but ended up the losers.
      One Big Win for developers, One Small Saving for state fund, One Hell Of A Bluff to 308 voters.

      Time to send this CAT back to Melaka on a Damacai horse.

  2. Gurney/Kelawai traffic problem to be resolved with expressways lining the present swampy coastline, with link to Straits Quay then tunnel to mainland. Present high rise condo sea view will be blocked by newer mixed development projects next to this expressway.
    Recreational green parks can be created ala Spice people’s park.
    this is robin hood cukai pintu strategy so that the poorer folks elsewhere can be subsidised e.g. education n senior folks to receive RM1k a year.
    sounds logical?

    • Senior folks would not mind high density development so long as money collected by the government could be channelled towards their welfare, given that 80% retirees at 55 have very little in their EPF to sustain their remaining years.

  3. Dream on people of Pulau Pinang – you can wish and hope even state owned land is given away for Mega development. Good example city of dreams at stp1. So what park????????????????????

  4. May be private hospital to be built there to cater for the needs of obese Penangites?
    In time to come, while stretch of Gurney to become pedestrian walkway and only electric tram to circulate the area. Mind my words.

  5. Why I care for district Gurney? High concentration of the rich. Tax them with concrete and money collected to pay for Seniors in need of money!

  6. Let us keep worshipping Development. The repeated disasters in economy, society and environment elsewhere to not apply because Bolehland is exceptional. This word exceptional is copyrighted by a certain superpower, but surely we are at least somewhat exceptional as our flag is similar.

  7. I haven’t been to Penang
    For ages since I left the State
    During my time congestion was there
    By now I guess it becomes worst

    Gurney drive landscape has changed
    With high rise buildings surrounding it
    These have increased the vehicles density
    It is even worst during holiday season

    Now with the second Penang bridge
    More vehicles will drive in to Penang
    The island during my time then
    It was quite bearable to drive around

    Penang is in the blockage zone
    There isn’t much green to breathe
    With rapid developments in the State
    Luring who to come to stay?

    As you reported on Gurney Drive
    The landscape will change again
    There will more congestions on the road
    The tourist attractions will be gone by then

    Developments must balance with Nature
    Otherwise the unequal will create chaos
    When Nature sings her blues on the land
    Everyone will pay for the greed of a few

  8. I notice there’s river flowing next to the land. What’s the requirement when built next to a river? Set back 40ft? Maybe convert that river into a drain to avoid the 40ft set back? Or convert the river into a drain and build on top of the drain, like one of the apartment block at the foot of Penang Hill?

    • Excerpt:
      In the “Botak Hill” incident, a developer was found to have carried out illegal hill clearing on Bukit Relau.
      The developer was later fined RM30,000 after the council hauled up the company to court following a public outcry and the state government’s insistence that earthworks on the “Botak Hill” were carried out illegally.
      However, during last month’s hearing of the suit by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng against social activist Jimmy Lim and FMT, defence counsel Baljit Singh informed the court that he had obtained a document on the Bukit Relau incident from a separate court case.
      The document suggested that the state government had approved, zoned and gazetted land in Bukit Relau as residential land.
      The document allegedly disclosed that the Bukit Relau development was approved by a special project committee headed by the Chief Minister.
      However, during the first hearing of the libel case, Lim had told the court that the hill clearance was done illegally without the knowledge of the authorities.

      Now, who is playing the blady-fooling?
      Hey, CM Lim. Penangites are not gong tua-tai.

      28th Floor, Komtar has a nice clear view of Botak Hill, so who is clever at playing blady-blind?
      Speak the truth or else Karma is coming straight after you!

  9. Penang for sale: Come ye all for the sale of the century

    Sing (apore) a song of six sen,
    A pocket full of cash.
    Four and twenty developers,
    cooked the books again.
    When the books were opened,
    The developers began to sing (a pore);
    Wasn’t that a lovely scene,
    To set before the ……….?

    • Exactly my sentiments. In the 6 years PR has governed we have not seen a single new park that is over the size of 10 acres. The state govt must understand that parks can be enjoyed by everyone, the rich, the poor, the young and the old alike. It will improve the rakyat’s quality of life instantly.

      It need not even spend money to build parks. When a large development project is proposed, make it mandatory for developers to allocate 20-30% of the land for parks. Developers should be allowed to do business, to make profit but not excessive profit at the expense of the quality of life of future penangites.

      Singapore, a land scarce country with land prices double of ours and with three times our population provides very big parks (over 50 acres) in every residential estate. They are now in the midst of connecting all of them to increase utility. Why don’t we learn something from them?

      • Most Penang folks own a car and can easily drive to Botanic Garden to escape the tension from congested city living?

  10. Why is higher density along Gurney Drive to Batu Ferringhi a goal for this state government? Not everybody wants another Hong Kong.

  11. Given Penang as the second largest city in Malaysia, its BOUND TO develop a high-density upscale commercial area..It can’t be Georgetown because its heritage status, so where do you propose Penang do it given the natural thing is to be close to Georgetown and other high-end enclaves?

    • I don’t mind high density high rise structures in Gney drive since there are already such buildings there. What I mind is that these lands are owned by the state govt/MPPP which means it should be used to benefit the rakyat. Example: Parks, hospitals, sports/recreational centres, public libraries, all of which are facilities provided in every residential area in Singapore. They are not unreasonable requests. They are very doable. We do not expect the state to build a menara wawasan/talest building in the world. Land owned by the state/MPPP is land belonging to the ppl and shouldn’t be given to developers who will use it to make money and not give anything to the rakyat.

      On the other hand, if the land is owned by a private owner/developer, then he/she can built whatever he/she pleases so long as it is within the law.

      • Apparently, the state has included in the plans for STP2 a linear park along Gurney Drive. I agree with your points though.

      • Anil, you really believe a park will materialise? Even if it does, the plans show that a major highway will be running next to it. It will be more of a setback/land reserve for highways rather than a park. Soon, it will be used as a motorcycle lane like the current linear bicycle lane in front of The Light development.

      • Yes, there is that problem. How do you get across the highway to get to the park… overhead bridge?

      • Does the MPPP/state own the said lands? As far as I know, there are ppl currently occupying/using the area in white and I always assumed they were privately owned.

    • For your information, the state planning committee (SPC) is chaired by the Chief Minister.
      Any bit of development goes thru his CAT-scanning green eyes.
      So it is natural that MPPP has to follow ‘orders’ or else.

      Has he any heart for Penangites real needs? Has he any humanist vision for every Penangite?
      (One thing is certain without doubt – he has no real life experience being a Penangite, much less any altruistic passion for Penang’s unique positioning, cultures, heritage and maturing into the future)

      See for yourself the kind of brick + mortar development the last 7 years.

      Swap deals of state lands are the losing deals for Penangites, dictated by greedy developers with arm-twisting penchants and preferential for high end development at sky-high surreal prices.

      The wayang-kulit show of apparent take action against the recalcitrant developer of Botak Hill is but a smoke-screen bluff. Was there any kam cheng in the act?

      That razed down bungalow at Pykett Avenue is one glaring example of a repugnant+arrogant developer from KL that can boldly dictate (to their fancies) to MPPP zombie brains and U-turns.

      More botak hills and polluted rivers and seas than Greener and Cleaner Penang.

      Blame the rule of inked law?
      If you have a leadership that favours corporate interests (for dying for development money), who would not want to take every conceivable advantage?

      In the absence of Penang Local Plan, we can safely assume the CM has more borrowed time to gleefully fulfil the dreams of greedy developers one by one.

      Our vote of trust has no value after the fact of post election.


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