The recent floods don’t seem to have taught us anything. Some people still have an urge – call it an itch – to pour concrete and tar onto the few green spaces we have.
In a quiet neighbourhood in Tanjung Bunga, with hardly any traffic, paving has been placed around a small park, eating up precious green space. Metal railings are now being put up around the new pavement circling the park. And the road has been widened, even though hardly any traffic passes through the neigbourhood.
Now I am all for pedestrian walkways along busy streets, but why on earth do we need to build pavements that gobble up our precious green spaces. And what is this craze for putting up metal railings wherever there are pavements? What is the logic? Is all this driven by contracts? I understand this particular project was initiatied by JKR? But surely the MPPP can protect our parks from being eaten up and degraded.
This (below) is what it is like in nearby Taman Concorde. Who gets the contract for all this? Who came up with the bright idea of pavements around parks complete with railings? Who approves this? Who’s the lucky fella/firm who got the contract to supply those metal railings and pavement slabs?
In another neighbourhood off Green Lane, a large Rukun Tetangga centre was constructed in this little park:
So too a cement basketball court!
More paving here. They call it ‘upgrading’…
For more examples of how concrete and cement have scarred our parks, just drop by at the Youth Park.
Of course, the mother of all concrete structures is this monstrosity at the Esplanade at Speakers Square. What were they thinking? ($$$, maybe?)
Over on the mainland, someone had the bright idea to build a Dewan (opened in 2001) right smack in the Butterworth Padang (see below).
Big contract there, eh?
The padang was further squeezed on the other side by road-widening. Where once crowds gathered to watch local league football matches, today the shrunken padang is hardly used, serving merely as a decorative green space for the town.
Another park nearby and one along Jalan Pantai had big chunks gobbled up by the construction of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road, which hugs the entire coast of Butterworth.
Of course, people will come up with all sort of silly reasons – safety, security, sports activities, rukun tetangga, you name it – to justify pouring concrete onto our precious green spaces, but I am not buying such reasons.
This is not just happening in Penang but all over the country.
If we can pour concrete onto our parks and green spaces and even into the gardens of our own homes, what chance do our forests and hills have of being protected?
And should we then be surprised by flash floods when rainwater has little room to be absorbed into the ground and instead gushes into our drains, which can barely cope with a sudden deluge.
Don’t mess with our parks and greens. Keep (the concrete) off the grass!