A property development project near the Pulau Tikus market has left some nearby residents upset. They are worried about congestion around the market and they want to see the Traffic Impact Assessment report.
S H Tan reports on a residents meeting organised by the Penang State Assembly member for Pulau Tikus, Koay Teng Hai, last Saturday.
The meeting, held at the MPPP office near the Pulau Tikus market in Jalan Pasar, was attended by Planning Department Director Haji Roslan, MPPP traffic engineer Rajendran and about 50 residents.
About the project:
– Moulmein Rise by the Belleview Group (http://www.belleview.com.my/node/121)
– 27-storey commercial complex to be built on the site of a current open air car park along Moulmein Road. (Shop offices at level 1 and 2 and ‘lifestyle suites’ from level 5 to 27, according to project website).
– only about 30m from the Pulau Tikus Market and right in the middle of a badly congested area
– MPPP said developer allowed to build high-density with plot ratio of 5:1
– 200 parking lots reserved for office staff
– 90 parking lots allocated for public use
The MPPP claimed they had sent out letters to affected residents staying within a 20m radius from the project site to submit their objections in June 2011.
But several residents said they did not receive the letters.
The MPPP approved planning permission for this project in September 2011. The previous plan by the developer was to build high-rise residential units; residents petitioned and staged a protest in 2004
The residents asked why the project was approved now when there were strong objections forcing the project to be put on hold in 2004. They claimed that there was a previous height restriction of not more than seven storeys for the area. They wanted to know asked who rezoned this area to high-rise, high density and commercial use and when.
The residents also asked why only 90 parking lots are being allocated for public use when the current open air car-park has a capacity of about 200 cars. They also wanted to know why only 200 parking lots had been allotted for office staff use when there will be an estimated 500 cars users at least (assuming 10 office lots per storey, 4 staff per office lot and 50 per cent drive to work. This works out to 27 storeys x 10 office lots x 4 staff x 50% = 500 car users).
Where would the extra cars (for the office staff, market goers, public and visitors to the offices) be parked? What are the assumptions of the study in the Traffic Impact Assessment? What are the conditions set (if any) to approve the TIA? The residents requested that the TIA report be made public out of public interest. (Penang’s Freedom of Information Bill was gazetted in February this year.)
Roslan explained that the MPPP approved the project based on its meeting technical requirements e.g. parking space requirement of 1 lot per 1000 sg ft.
But the residents wondered why the MPPP is using an irrelevant guideline which favours the developer and does not taking care of the public’s needs? What does it take for MPPP to change the guidelines and make it relevant to today’s needs? They claimed MPPP seemed to be hiding behind these guidelines and using the same excuse of “developer has met the guidelines” every time there is a resident’s objection.
The residents also asked where all the market goers would park without getting their vehicles clamped for the next two to three years while the project is in progress.
Generally the meeting was quite emotional with some residents very angry.