Paya Terubong residents worried over 47-storey towers on hill-slopes

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Hill cutting at Paya Terubong - Photograph: A concerned Penangite

Residents of Taman Seri Rambai/Lau Geok Swee in Paya Terubong are alarmed and worried about the extensive hill cutting and scarring in the area. Penang Forum press conference held a press conference this afternoon at the Paya Terubong JKKK Centre, which was packed with nearby residents and journalists.

Also present were representatives of environmental group Peka and the Taman Seri Rambai/Lau Geok Swee Residents Association.

The original plan was for three-storey townhouses, but somehow this was converted to one 41-storey and three 47-storey tower blocks.

The developer, Geo Valley Sdn Bhd, was also involved in the nearby construction of a 0.8km stretch of road connecting Taman Lone Pine to Sun Moon City, part of the state government’s RM300m 4.9km ‘paired road’ project in Paya Terubong.

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and Paya Terubong state rep Yeoh Soon Hin were both invited to address the residents concerns. They said they would “escalate” the residents concerns to the local authorities as they wait for an Appeals Board decision.

The least that could be done now is for the MBPP’s engineering department to respond to the residents’ concerns and carry out scheduled monitoring of the site as clearly outlined in the Hillside Development Guidelines 2012.

Later, during tea, Penang Forum reps asked the elected reps why the Penang Island Local Plan has not yet been gazetted despite being approved in 2008. They also wanted to know why the state government had approved development plans on other sites in Penang above 250 feet above sea level when the gazetted Penang Structure Plan prohibits this.

The Penang Forum media statement is as follows:

Development of hill land under the Penang Structure Plan

Over the last few years there has been a spate of high-density, high-rise building development projects on Penang Island, encroaching into the fringes of hill land, which is gazetted under the Penang Structure Plan (2007-2020) as land above 250 ft (76m) above sea level. Development is also prohibited on land with gradient exceeding 25 degrees.

The consequences of the lack of a gazetted local plan

The Penang Local Plan is meant to follow the policy and guidelines of the Structure Plan and should specify in detail the types of development that are permissible in specific areas of the State. The local plan was approved by MPPP in 2008 but it has not been made public nor gazetted to date.

Without a local plan, the ambiguity over what kinds of development are permissible on the hill lands persists.

Consequently, the increase in approved high-rise development and indiscriminate cutting of steep hill slopes is causing serious environmental and safety problems that are faced by various resident communities.

The Paya Terubong development

Of the many examples that are evident in many parts of Penang Island, the most glaring is encountered in Paya Terubong, where a development company has been given conversion approval for high-density development comprising one 41-storey and three 47-storey tower blocks whereas its original project was for three-storey townhouse development.

Despite the affected residents in the surrounding housing areas registering their strong objection to MBPP and holding a press conference with the Paya Terubong Adun on 1 November 2015, the MBPP gave approval to the developer for the conversion to high-density high-rise development in December 2015.

Environmental and safety impacts of hill development in Paya Terubong

Initial earthworks at a massive scale had already caused a host of environmental and safety problems to residents in the immediate vicinity.

  • Rock-blasting to expand the area of development land sent flying missiles that damage roofs of existing houses.
  • Hill cutting has gone beyond the 250-ft contour, with vegetation removed and steep bare slopes exposed to soil erosion and gullying.
  • Rain wash of the eroded soil turned into mud flows that rushed down roads and entered house compounds, silting up the flood mitigation ponds, thus increasing the risk of flash floods downstream.

While a stop-work order is presently in force, there is little evidence of proper mitigation measures taken to make good the environmental damage on the cleared land.

The Bukit Gelugor MP was also invited to make a site visit to witness the consequences of these massive earthworks as well as the dismal track record of the same developer in constructing the twin towers of the Pine Residence in the vicinity with scant regard for the safety of surrounding residents.

Look at the scarring of these hill-slopes
Look at the scarring of these hill-slopes

What is to be done in Paya Terubong

The Taman Seri Rambai/Lau Geok Swee Residents Association demands tougher actions to be taken by the authorities (while awaiting the decision of the Appeals Board) to safeguard their welfare in the face of the impending development by:

  • assessing the environmental and social impacts of the development proposal by the developer
  • making public the site and building plans of the proposed development, with associated infrastructure for inspection by affected residents; and
  • compelling the developer to detail out mitigation plans for the cleared land, in consultation with residents, with proper time scheduling; and have these plans posted in the community centre for public monitoring.

Development in other parts of Penang

The Bukit Kukus case in Paya Terubong is only one of many more development projects approved on sensitive hill land. Between 2008 and 2015, the MPPP granted 56 approvals on land above 250 ft, many of which are high-rise, high-density projects. Residents in several other areas are facing similar issues.

Penang Forum views with great concern these issues and senses a general public perception that development is being carried out without proper planning spelt out in a local plan. Developers take advantage of the lack of detailed local plans and are taking liberties in flaunting site operations and building guidelines in the face of weak control and monitoring.

Penang Forum is convinced that there are real opportunities for the Penang state government to redress these shortcomings and therefore recommends that:

  1. the Penang state government gazettes the Penang Island Local Plan in which there is compliance with its stated policy of prohibiting development on hill land above 76m (250 feet) and/or with a gradient greater than 25° and to exclude ordinary residential or commercial buildings as special projects. Special projects should be restricted to developments which are limited and/or in the public interest, e.g. infrastructure.
  2. the state promulgates a clear policy and a special set of development control guidelines for building development that extend beyond geotechnical specifications to include height control, proper setbacks and appropriate infrastructure provision, on environmentally sensitive areas including steep and hill land.
  3. besides undertaking an independent environmental and geotechnical impact assessment in accordance with strict environmental standards for every hill development project, a holistic and cumulative impact assessment for the whole hill must be conducted.
  4. the City/Municipal Council vigorously prosecutes violators to the full extent of the law, including pressing for the imposition of jail sentences, and blacklists all offenders from future development projects.
  5. the authorities require all offenders to restore the damaged hills to their original natural condition (not only to carry out mitigation work), failing which the authorities should undertake the restoration work and charge the cost to the offenders. In addition, the offernders should be prosecuted for failure to comply.

Penang Forum steering committee
20 August 2016

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LGE tak boleh

Please do not plant the seed for future man-made disaster. The so called “natural”-disasters are getting more frequent and more damaging. When will the people wake up?

zoro

You want us to ride on Bullock cart? You drive cars and kapcai not planting for man made disaster? You want to be decaprio the titanic actor? He says he believe in global warming but flew from NY to LA 5 Times in 7 days in private jet and dumping tonnes of Co2 in the air.

zoro

Thinkcity. This is what pg architect’s work.

tunglang

Tak tau apa tu ThinkCity, mau berkicau macam-macam!
ThinkCity is another city within George Town, is that what you mean???

zoro

Shows how ignorant and kpc

Ang JP

Safe and modern construction technology allows safe hill side development. Fear not.

glissantia

Don’t oppose development, the Big Mouth (Maha-mouth) once said. Has “his” party got any comments?

tunglang

That 0.8 km stretch of road in construction on hill slope gradient (of more than 25 degree) is going to be a landslide trigger waiting to happen on rainy days.
The buffer space between the road & houses / apartments below is less than 50 meters.
Imagine a huge boulder the size of a bus rolling downhill (due to exposed soil & weakened slopes) to create unimaginable damages & endangering lives.
Karma is counting the culprits & those hiding behind the state gomen.

zoro

… If there is a big boulder bus size, Malaysian engrs will control blast the boulder to smaller pieces where everyone can bring home if sua boey can’t.

zoro

You must be a diety and tokong. No engineering and scientific basis just witchcraft. You insult engineers. You can try and see for yourself if you pile sand up to 25 deg. You and not sand falling down like London bridge

tunglang

Recall: Before the Naga wags its tail in our face again
http://anilnetto.com/environmentclimate-change/before-naga-wags-its-tail-in-our-face-again/
True Paya Terubong incidents & huge bus size boulders are not fiction of imagination.
Do your research online for more of 1997 mud slide + landslide @ Paya Terubong Sun Moon City.
Unless one still consumes Komtar Dedak to the point of addiction & denial of the truth.

zoro

Then better pg forummers not to fly. They can get crash or plane become submarine or shot down by ISIS. You are worse than singland, kiasu and kisses. Dont go out in case you get knock by cars or falling object. Old heritage bldg has more unsecured objects. Becareful of food and drink. Cause cancer, from head to foot

zoro

1997 you love gelakan and umno gomen. of course why bising when you get kantou. Now another Gomen no connections and less income. Can’t blame you for barking at the CATs

tunglang

Pls try harder & harder! Is your Niao Kong satisfied?

tunglang

Property Gurus will tout the hill properties:
“Che Sua, Khua Bong Hong-Shui” (Sit on hill, see graveyard fengshui)

Hokkien Digimon

Tunglang should try latte art on locally brewed kopi o, as not being performed at SPICE Food Fair now. My nephew was competing just now and he saw Anil and friends there just now. Is it true Anil?

zoro

Splice good, conventional hall good., Shopping hall good . If no development pg will always be a boring place and pg lang has to fly to KL or overseas to see exhibitions, seminar and confetences if pg have only Wong fei hoong guest house.

zoro

Also apply to air item pagoda??

tunglang

… My challenge: Dare to say that in front of Goddess in Kek Lok Si?
My free trip offer for your one-way ticket.

zoro

How many times you want to challenge to a duel? Grandfather acting a big bully boy. Only can show off here. Why not challenge tokong? …

tunglang

A free trip to meet the Bunians is a duel?…

Hokkien Digimon

Gerakan leaves it to Penang Forum to escalate this serious matter and not able to help the residents because of party internal conflicts?

Lai Huat

Gerakan has outsourced the watchdog role to Penang Forum?
Let us hope that Penang Forum is not being made used by political parties.

Sora Zhen

please keep it that way.

zoro

Pg forum can give good speech but can’t do. Ah pek ask for car pool in relau here. Any pg forummers answer his call? Just like dicaprio, said to be believer of climate change but he uses private jet from NY to LA 5 times in 7 days. How many tonnes of co2 dump? Same, pg forummers enjoy all meals in malls and but protest when under construction. When you do not have a job or roof is pg forummers answerable? If public transport did not bring you closer to your destination, pg forum held responsible? Komtar has a bus… Read more »

zoro

pg forum answer to no one. they offer no solution or how yo mitigate the problem do they give u a job?

tunglang

Anil, you can sleep peacefully every night for your righteous conscience, but these cunning minions will be wondering day & night along the CAT lines (not to be crossed lest they cause a fury in Komtar Tower) of telling lies & crafting false perceptions to gain already waning support for a Competent, Accountable & Transparent My Foot Marketing. Pg Forum has just disprove the lies flying from a state stewardship of Pg heritage.
Thanks for a very good job.

zoro

beware if preach like preacher and facts are half truths. also say but do not practise it like decaprio. to challenge someone reveal karma is guilty

David Loman

Penangites gave full support to Lee Chong Wei at Gurney Paragon last night:

zoro

Lucky pg lang have the paragon BUILDING to cheer datok lee. Otherwise pg lang has to chase out the ang mohs and cheer in one if the Wong fei hoong inn or backpackers. Why don’t give credit to developers that such event can be help in comfort and covered area, no mosquitos bites or rain?

tunglang

Why don’t you put up a full page, full color advertisement in DAP Bulletin Mutiara to thank Paragon developer?
Also, this will help to fill up the Bulletin’s coffer!
Want a … ride to distribute Bulletin Mutiara with your full page ad?

tunglang

Niao Kong: I don’t know. These hill projects must be Gelakan era approvals. MBPP: Yes, we approved. But Niao Kong didn’t object as big shot in State Land Development Committee. State Reps: We have empathy & concerns for the affected residents. Mmmmm…(in private: Remember the don’t-cross-the-line “You are either with us or against us”?) Affected Residents: Nyiamak C. H. !!! Niao Kong: Pssk. pssk. My Chow-Chow. Time for GeTai singing to sooth these angry souls. What to sing this time? Chow-Chow: I have sang all the Komtar songs. What more to sing thro’ the teeth? Note: The above is a… Read more »

zoro

Tun lang when are you going to perform the teochew opera? Any free tickets, transport, tee shirts, dinner and pocket money? That is gelakan SOP. liang and mah sponsor free stadium to bersih. You must perform otherwise we will not go.

tunglang

… Pls try harder!

Helvin Henry

Dont ask tokong..he will say ask previous administration…

tunglang

Zorro already answered the same on behalf of his (or her) Komtar Dedak Master.

Mike Geh

An approved Not So Sustainable Development…. Sighhhhhhhhhhhh

zoro

Not sustainable but why house buyers want to buy unsustainable development property. Like car traffic jams, why people still want to drive cars and burn petrol to increase CO2. Why pf never tell amno gomen to allow electrical cars and ebikes? PF only best in confronting and bully state Gomen but not amno federal Gomen..