Blog visitors Kevin and Island Joe consider the possibility of a large public park on the mainland.

First, we have Kevin:

PDCs job is first and foremost to protect the interest of Penangites. If it has 470 acres of land, it should develop it into a park for all to relax and exercise in. It can be like a Central Park for Batu Kawan. By the way, the Central Park in land-scarce New York City is over 1000 acres smack in the city.

Instead of building golf courses which cannot provide employment, does not have a multiplier effect on the economy and does nothing to enhance the quality of life of Penangites, especially in the mainland, they should built a park which can achieve all that. 470 acres is about five times the size of the Botanic Garden. Imagine having a park that big.

Remember, the state govt is trying to promote brain gain and attract talent, local as well as foreign. Talent will flock to areas where there are opportunities, where there is quality of life and where the environment is good. Not forgetting, where the currency is very strong and the pay is high.

The state cannot improve our currency or our salaries but it can provide opportunity, a clean environment and quality of life. When you attract talent, your economy will grow, your average income will grow, buying power will increase, tax revenue to the state and federal govts increase. Now that is a multiplier effect. A golf course will not achieve any of that.

Island Joe adds:

I think we should look at ourselves and what we do with our leisure time. We are all caught up in hyper consumerism so much so we are looking at theme parks and shopping centres to provide us entertainment. If we’re doing that often, then of course we’re at the mercy of the cost. No one even in developed countries can go to a theme park more than a couple of times a year at the most.

For me, Penang has a lot there for us to enjoy practically for free. Quite a few people are waking up as we now see a lot of joggers and cyclists all over the island and in some areas on the mainland on weekends. Many more than years ago.

Why not take your family out for a hike, or a picnic to the beach, or just a bike ride around the heritage enclaves? It is free and it is healthy living. Plus you spend quality time with your family.

A theme park may have its economic benefit, but for us locals, wouldn’t we prefer to live next to a green lung like a big park? Not with the man-made plastic slides and stupid exercise equipment (like how they ruined the Lake Gardens in KL).

But a big park like Hyde Park or Central Park? We in Penang still have the chance to shape who we are and how we want to live. Just look at Malacca and KL to see what can happen when people with zero vision get their way. Both places have lost their soul.

Unfortunately, I fear even this state government has one eye on revenue from state land rather than looking after our welfare as there is no money to be made from anyone if they gazette parkland.

What do you all think?

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18 COMMENTS

  1. To have morning or evening walk in any park in Malaysia is no longer safe nowadays with so many news of daylight robbery.

    Nowadays it is safer for older folks to do their walking exercise in the air-cond comfort of shopping mall, away from the air pollution and crime risk, Also, if they were to get heart attack, at least there are people around to provide assistance.

    So a Central Park is only good to provide a breeding ground for the monkeys and promote bio-diversity. That is all to it.

      • A park is a good Nature’s place to exercise, meditate & contemplate what to do with their lives.
        Better than widow-shopping, iPad doodling & [email protected], lepak-lepak & waste a large portion of free time in a commercialized, money-spending-urging environment of me-too & worst of all for a generation of youngsters yet able to earn a cent but spending parent’s hard earned money as if there’s another tomorrow of free flow of pocket money.
        To exercise in an air-coned place is asking for trouble. Ask any doctor. Unless one is bred like polar bears which also as designed by Nature need to venture out in the open in summer instead of slumbering past winter season.
        A wholesome park that incorporates an agro farm promoting healthy green vege (good for the old folks to past time in a chem-free farm), pet animal breeding (good for the souls & minds) like horse breeding & riding, horticulture (orchid design for ladies), sport fishing (hobby that earns one keep of trophy fish), etc, etc.
        The possibilities are many instead of waiting in lines past midnight for a McMinion of fleeting soul-less value.

      • Learn from Singapore on how to create the HDB neighbourhood as shown on this Youtube video on the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAGiu4RjC-w

        Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is located between the heartland estates of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio in Singapore. Comprising 62 hectures in total, It provides recreational facilities to the residents with fitness corners, running and cycling tracks, playgrounds and even a dog run area for pooches.

        One of the most scenic aspects of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is the naturalised meandering river that runs through the park, giving rise to a rich diversity of tropical flora and fauna. It is a beautiful place to do sports, have a gathering or a relaxing stroll to enjoy nature.

  2. How about gazetting 100 acres for a detention camp like Guantanomo Bay?

    Anil the anti-development terrorist should wear the orange pyjama with number 001.

  3. Green is important until the urban people hit by nature retaliation :
    – Heat island effect
    – air pollution
    – Flood
    – increase energy consumption

    But should we care? Since TNB tariff is still “cheap”.

      • The tariff still … CHEAP for all my neighbour that turn on their freaking noisy air con. And the freaking compressor just blow off the hot air and disrupt the breeze that suppose to ventilate my bedroom

  4. Indeed, what the Malaysian cities badly lack are large parks which are not damaged with man-made structures like those in Lake Garden where the green area is shrinking. All we need are large well kept parks covered with plenty of shady trees(essential for our hot weather, lawn and some plants, like Central Park in New York or Boston commons in Boston, etc. Somebody mentioned that Batu Kawan may not be the right place for siting a large park. Why not? There should be as many parks as possible and all over the city just like in the Hague where one can find so many large parks all over the city.

    As for bicycle lanes, again where practical, there should be as many shady trees planted along the lanes (make sure that they are planted deep enough so that the roots don’t appear on the surface and damage the lanes!) again as an encouraging for people to cycle at any time of the day.

    • I don’t know why our urban planners seem ‘allergic’ to green spaces. Even in small parks, where the green space is so limited, they have this urge to put up useless concrete structures. I guess along the way, some people are making money from all these contracts to put up such structures.

  5. Why not a decent park in heritage area of Penang island ?
    Don’t tell the rakyat the land cost is reserved for commercial purposes only ?

  6. There should be a park at Batu Kawan and much more but as far as priority for a public park is concern, the priority should be to established a sizeable one in the middle or close to the city – close to namely Bukit Bendera or at the very least Balik Pulau.. But making a elevated public park is visionary challenge and require very significant investments just to give accessibility to the public and its not just about the tram. Batu Kawan is just misplaced priority and even if its to be done, doing a top city park will only make it more possible a good park in the long term for Batu Kawan.

    • A Central Park with an equally big size Car Park (not the kancil one) for Penangites who cannot use public transportation but their personal vehicles.

      Do not forget a section for children to play traditional games like guli, gasing…open space to fly kite, and do not forget the skuad skodeng to prevent khalwat cases at night…. and proper dustbins for waste products like used condoms…

      Two big CP signage there: Central Park & Car Park.

      • Sigh, we badly need good public transport so that we don’t need to have multi storey car parks next to botanic garden or public parks.

      • I agree with Anil here. The ideal is having good connectivity with our public transport. But I think unless we have a good monorail / underground / light rail system, the middle class would not be enticed to use public transport. I believe this was the sea change in Bangkok. Only a marked difference was felt once a top quality rail system was in place. It had to be clean, bright, reliable, air-conditioned, and well maintained to succeed. It needs to be a good enough experience to outweigh waiting in traffic in the comfort of our cars.
        Building more car parks just delay the inevitable. We will eventually run out of space. So not really a solution.
        As for a park in Batu Kawan, I’m not sure either if that is the right location, but I was using it for an example of how the last thing on any government’s mind is to do something that benefits a local community and doesn’t bring the government direct profit.

        I would like to ask the current government one question (I wouldn’t bother asking the last government anything because they have shown their colours over the years): Who are we? What kind of life do you envision for Penangites? Are we going the way of KL – Where its full of shiny things but has no soul? Or do you see something else for us. If so, what is it?

        Until they can answer this fundamental point, all the debate and discussions about car parks, public transport, land density, reclaimed land etc. remain disjointed and ad hoc without a grand vision. And hence there will be fragmented hit and miss decisions made because the goal posts are unclear.

      • Exactly, the vision for Penang is important. Many of us would like a Penang with a ‘soul’.

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