Many parts of Penang Island could soon see a three- to five-fold increase in density – without adequate supporting infrastructure, warns Penang Forum representative Dr Lim Mah Hui. This could have a disastrous impact on the quality of life.
We are told that high-density projects will reportedly affect “only” 109ha. (That’s 270 acres of our tiny island, mind you.) Already 14 projects have been approved. It is believed that they affect the following areas:
1 Jalan CY Choy,
2 Jln. Macalister,
3 Jln. Seang Teik,
4 Lrg Perak,
5 Sungai Ara,
6 Bukit Gambiar (two projects),
8 Lembah Permai,
9 Jln Jelutong (two projects),
11 Jln Paya Terubong,
12 Jln Perak,
13 Jln Tanjong Tokong and
14 Jln Lantau Jerejak.
It is not just 109ha that will be affected. Think of the cumulative traffic congestion in all the surrounding areas and approach roads. Remember, all this is being approved and carried out as policy – even before the Penang Transport Masterplan has been made public and even before consultation for the ‘Penang Paradigm’ (which increasingly looks like a waste of time) can take place later this week. And there has been very little open consultation with the public over the “fine-tuning” of high-density guidelines.
And why are more and more developers so keen on building so-called small office/home office (Soho) units? Well, they offer the potential for even higher density – up to five times higher!
And it’s not as if all these high-rise units are fully occupied. Take a look at night at any new high-rise condo building and see how many units are lit indicating that they are actually occupied.
Before long, as we draw closer to gridlock, Penang will be transformed into a giant car park, with concrete, tarmac and road widening wiping out greenery and displacing trees.
Ironically, this comes even as the state government is touting Penang’s green credentials, liveability and quality of life to overseas investors and target groups.
This is Mah Hui’s speech at the full council meeting of the MPPP today:
I would like to raise two urgent issues – the guidelines for 87 units per acre and for small office/home office (Soho) – that require public consultation under the policy of Competence, Accountability and Transparency (CAT). These two issues will significantly have an impact on the lives of residents in Penang because of the three-fold increase in density (from 30 units/acre to 87 units/acre) for the first set of guidelines and a possible five-fold (156 units/acre) increase under the guidelines for Soho – compared to the (aborted) Penang Global City Centre project of 37 units/acre.
See his full address here.