High-rise hotels in world heritage zone to proceed

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Sigh…. good luck to George Town and its heritage conservation. Looks as if the state government has already made up its mind to give the green light to the four projects. Why am I not surprised.

The state government says these hotels are needed to stave off the recession. But it forgets that tourism is a major revenue earner for Penang, and visitors don’t come to George Town to check out its boutique hotels. Rather, they are drawn to the historical character of the place. Once that is gone, George Town becomes just like any other city in this region.

This excerpt from a Business Times report:

Penang hotel projects on, Unesco guidelines awaited
By Marina Emmanuel
[email protected]

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday said the state authorities and affected developers are awaiting guidelines from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on whether any changes should be made to the project plans.

“The developers fully understand that legally, the projects can still proceed, although Unesco needs to state if any modifications are needed. Penang needs these projects (investments) to offset the oncoming economic recession,” he told a press conference at his office in George Town.
Lim said the four project developers – Boustead Holdings Sdn Bhd, Asia Global Business Sdn Bhd, E & O Bhd and the Low Yat Group – were unhappy when they heard in November that George Town’s place on Unesco’s World Heritage List was in jeo-pardy due to their projects.

The four projects were approved before George Town was inscribed on the heritage list. Two are AGB’s Rice Miller boutique hotel in Weld Quay and the Boustead Royale Bintang Hotel project behind the General Post Office in Lebuh Downing, both lying in the heritage core zone.

The other two are E & O Hotel’s extension and a 23-storey hotel in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah by the Low Yat Group in the buffer zone, both of which will be 84.4m high.

The World Heritage Committee (which administers Unesco’s World Heritage programme) stipulates in its guidelines that a maximum height of 18m (or roughly five storeys) have been set for buildings on the island’s heritage core and buffer zones.

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Adrian

The CM is not a Penang-kia. You think he cares about heritage status of Penang ? Personally, I doubt the hotels are built for heritage tourists per se, because they probably have their numbers done up already.

omo

If Penang get delisted, the newly built hotel will get bankrupt too as the toursits are reduced. Elementary my friends. Of course the owner will change his design to meet UnSECO requiremesnts

Jason Loh

Ron, thanks for your clarification.

Sunny

Russlei says:
“It seems from the quoted report, the state govt is trying strike a balance of preserving the heritage status and allowing the projects to proceed.”

Ron says:
“All you do is protest. Maybe you are comfortable with Penang as it is, hoping it will never change. But the truth is, Penang has to change to be better for everyone.”

I say:
“Exactly!”

Ong Eu Soon

Hi Rajan,
Stupid! If you want to discuss about the so called architect, just post it. Anil will not chicken off like you. No brainer!

kangelar

Next election, please vote for MCA candidate as Chief Minister. Penang has Chief Minister from MCA before, then Gerakan now DAP. It should go back to MCA again. I think MCA will do better job than DAP. DAP government is really weak. Let’s we vote for MCA.

DAP lack of talented politician!. LGE is good as opposition leader only.

Ron

I believe LGE is right. I was personally involved in one of the projects of building a hotel in the heritage zone. The developer took pains in not spoiling the heritage status of Penang, and in fact, brought in a heritage preservationist from Unesco to oversee the design. And to top it off, the developer is going to clean up most of the heritage buildings in that area. The preservationist will be involved in some reconstruction of the details of the surrounding building which have long since been neglected and fallen apart. In this respect, I feel that rejecting everything… Read more »

Rajan

Question is still not being answered. Why is still no discussion about the architect that has a finger in one of the projects who is also on the heritage committee? Come on people be fair! He should speak when spoken. I think Anil is actually clouding the discussion accordingly. Speak with conviction people on the postings here. Understand the nature of the discussion and seek to be understood. I have asked Anil to speak on that on why the architect did not bring this matter up when he could have. Aha! Maybe is it because Anil knows this architect and… Read more »

nkkhoo

LGE will argue 3/4 of responsibility must be bornt by former BN government IF Penang and Melaka is delisted from WHS in the shortest period of time (also another world record !)

He thought hotels in Penang were fully booked recently is due to his good governance to bring in more tourists. WHS status helps a bit, but political turmoil in Thalland contributed more to push some tourists to Penang.

Penangites can say good bye to GLE by next GE.

Dalbinder Singh Gill

CRUDE OIL PRICES ARE INCREASING AGAIN, MAYBE ANIL YOU SHOULD CONSIDER POSTING SOMETHING ABOUT WHY ITS INCREASING.

TERENGGANU PEOPLE ARE GIVEN SO MUCH ATTENTION NOW, IF YOUR TOILET BOWL ROSAK, DONT FORGET TO CALL UMNO, YOU MAY GET A BRANDED JOHNSON SUISSE TOILET. HEHE

Dalbinder Singh Gill

the state government must reduce the number of hotels or cancel the project, Anil, would it be possible for you to conduct a poll on this, thanks. LIM GUAN ENG IS JUST TAK BERANI TO CANCEL THE PROJECTS.

Russlei

It seems from the quoted report, the state govt is trying strike a balance of preserving the heritage status and allowing the projects to proceed. Which would save the taxpayers from paying compensations due to the previous administration’s cock-up. Hence they are waiting for Unesco’s guidelines.

If the hotels owners’ stand is also to exist within the heritage zone, as their PR are spinning it so, then they should comply with the guidelines and make any necessary modifications to the building plans in due course.

Not really a bad course of action on the govt’s part.

Andrew

What is clear now is that Penang CM Lim Guan Eng does not give a damn about Penang’s heritage listing despite all his lip-service about having Penang’s interests at heart. BUT he does give a damn to developer’s profits and to the interests of money, more money and even more money. Why is this so? Well, (is it) because developers and building contractors happily have and continue to donate money to his party, the DAP? Would the Honorable business-friendly CM openly and categorically deny that his party has received funds from developers and contractors? That way, he can disassociate himself… Read more »

Jason Loh

“Sigh…. good luck to George Town and its heritage conservation. Looks as if the state government has already made up its mind to give the green light for the four projects. Why am I not surprised. The state government says these hotels are needed to stave off the recession. But it forgets that tourism is a major revenue earner for Penang, and visitors don’t come to George Town to check out its boutique hotels. Rather, they are drawn to the historical character of the place. Once that is gone, George Town becomes just like any other city in this region.”… Read more »

Penangite

Hi Anil, I will not be surprised if Penang is delisted from the World Heritage Site this year..Why I said so, refer below..Did these new projects have any of the properties below? From Wikipedia Cultural criteria * I. “to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius”; * II. “to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design”; * III. “to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization… Read more »