Photos have been circulating of cracks on the hlll-slope roads leading to the Vale of Temp.
Some time ago, I wrote a blog post about cracks on the road to Batu Ferringhi, not too far from where the sections of the road have cracked or given way.
Apparently, there’s even a sink hole, somewhere near Gottlieb Road. From what I hear, there used to be waterway from the Botanic Garden to Gurney Drive, which was covered over when Gottlieb Road was built.
You see, we have been allowing higher density property development, especially in places like Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi, without looking at whether the supporting infrastructure can cope. In a blog post about cracks on the road, I wrote: “Residents worry that the supporting existing infrastructure (e.g. roads) will be unable to cope with the higher density.”
That road near Vale of Temp was never meant for heavy vehicles or the heavy traffic that high density development has created.
The following is is the original blog post from 9 January 2015:
Stress marks and cracks have appeared along the main road to Batu Ferringhi which hugs the hillslopes along the north and north-west coastline of Penang Island.
A concerned Batu Ferringhi resident, an experienced engineer, snapped these photos on 15 January 2015, just a couple of weeks after the peak Christmas/New Year tourist season at this popular tourist belt.
They three affected stretches are near a military camp, the Baptist Theological Seminary and Moonlight Cafe. It is unclear what has caused the stress marks on the road.
Batu Ferringhi has been a centre of controversy after it emerged that much higher densities for high-rise propertly development projects along the coast could be in the pipeline.
These higher densities could turn the tourist belt, known for its relaxed setting into a congested ‘primary development corridor’ instead of the secondary development corridor as laid out in the Penang Structure Plan (2005-2020).
Even Tanjung Bunga was supposed to be a secondary development corridor, according to the text of the Structure Plan, but the colour of the zoning illustration was somehow changed to indicate that it is purportedly a primary development corridor.
Residents worry that the supporting existing infrastructure (e.g. roads) will be unable to cope with the higher density.
A controversial new “paired road” has been planned, but already there are fears that this may now be pushed even higher up the coastal hill-slope, given that much of the lower hill-slopes have already been built up.
The more detailed Penang Island Local Plan, approved in 2008, has not yet been gazetted after seven years. This has effectively allowed what appears to be a discretionary free-for-all in density planning, turning Penang into a paradise for developers.
Penang has been touted in international reports as an ideal place to retire. But the irony is that many among the foreign retirees already settled here have expressed disquiet at the lack of proper planning procedures.