The Jabatan Perancang Bandar dan Desa will be briefing the public on the draft Penang Hill special area plan on Sunday, 1 December at 10.00am at Auditorium A, fifth floor, Komtar.
The draft SAP is now being displayed at Komtar Level 3 from now until 11 December (9.00am to 4.30pm) as well as at the lower station of Penang Hill.
But from what I hear from a contact, the display at Komtar does not mention a couple of key points:
1. No mention of the cable car proposal. Probably because this is an ‘add-on’, riding piggy back on the draft SAP. But the cable car proposal is the elephant in the room that will have the biggest impact on Penang Hill.
2. No mention of the maximum number of people that should be allowed to preserve the biodiversity and environment at the hill-top. This is ironic as the SAP touts the green concept while the Penang Hill Local Plan recommends a maximum carrying capacity of 10000 people/day, which is already being reached or exceeded during peak periods.
Related to the above is the uncertainty over the adequacy of the infrastructure required to support the higher carrying capacity such as water supply and sewarage disposal.
Also, it appears that there has been no traffic impact assessment at the sites of the base stations for the proposed cable cars such as at the Youth Park where traffic congestion is a real possibility.
You can submit your feedback online at this link.
We need to take an interest in what is happening at Penang Hill, as certain big-time developers may already be fantasising about some kind of Genting Highlands-type resort taking shape at the summit. In 1990, pressure from the Penang public saved the hill from encroachment by a crony developer.
But, more recently, we have seen how the 250-feet-above-sea-level threshold (above which property development is prohibited) has been breached. In many ways, Penang Hill is the last natural sanctuary on the island.