Of late, I have heard a number of people expressing their unease about the “mess” in the Penang Botanic Gardens.
A RM5 million federal project to expand the Gardens is underway, but concern has been expressed that it has already deviated from the original plan drafted four years ago. Initial work has reportedly uprooted about 30 trees.
Kanda Kumar of the Malaysian Nature Society adds civil society’s voice to the disquiet over what is going on there.
Concern over slope stability at the site of the proposed Penang Botanic Gardens Visitors’ Centre
We, group of NGOs, stake holders and concerned citizens, are calling for this press conference as we are concerned over slope stability at the site of the proposed Penang Botanic Gardens Visitors’ Centre.
We want to highlight that the proposed Botanic Gardens Visitors’ Centre is being built on a site that had experienced land/rock slide long time ago and there were reported deaths during that incident. Not too long ago, small land slips have also occurred near this site. There seems to be no studies done on the stability of the hill slope of the proposed site. If indeed studies have been carried out, we urge the authorities to make their findings public and release the study.
Normally we would have expected the authority carrying the project to have geo-technical studies or commission such studies and take mitigating measures where necessary but lately we find that projects carried out at the Botanic Gardens are not being carried out according to decisions made during discussions of public/NGO participation and even what was disclosed during briefings does not translate to what was briefed during actual project implementation.
We have not been able to receive any straight answer from the authorities that geo-technical studies had been carried out on the hill slope of the proposed site and that the slope is stable and as such there is no danger. So it is very likely that the authorities may have not carried out geo-technical studies on the hill slope.
We have had enquiries from the public (seniors who remember the land slip) and the hawkers who have moved to the new hawkers site which is opposite the old land slide site on the safety aspect of the proposed visitors’ centre.