All riled up over four-tower project

Ramkarpal Singh (fourth right) and some of the residents visiting the site of the proposed hillside project in Paya Terubong, Penang.

Insist on a briefing from the developer before voicing your objections to the proposed development on the lot beside your home.

This is what a group of Paya Terubong residents did when Penang Island City Council (MBPP) wrote to ask for their objections to four residential hillside towers (three 47 floors, one 41 floors) planned next to their double-storey terraced homes.

“All the council told us was that there would be these four blocks. We didn’t know enough to give solid objections so we insisted on a briefing,” said resident Dr Ti Lian Geh.

When the residents had the chance to grill the developer, what they learnt riled them.

They discovered there were plans to turn a two-way street in Taman Sri Rambai – Lebuh Rambai 1 – into an access road for the high-rises.

“The developer’s representatives answered that it would only be an emergency exit but we know our neighbourhood better.

“The high-rise dwellers will prefer this access road because it is closer to the main road.

“The proposal is to build 1,624 homes and 320 commercial units. On this scale, Lebuh Rambai 1 will be unimaginably clogged,” said Dr Ti.

He said that in Paya Terubong and also Bandar Baru Air Itam, it was common for many high-rise dwellers to park their second cars all along the access roads at night.

“Our street is not broad enough for this and a bottleneck will occur.”

He said situations like this would cause residents associations to be at loggerheads with management committees of nearby high-rises.

“The developer is not the one dealing with the problems.”

After the developer’s briefing, Dr Ti said the residents were better informed and able to file their objections.

Despite that, the council gave planning permission in December.

The residents have now turned to the Planning Appeals Board.

Their objections had drawn Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh to visit the neighbourhood recently.

“Now that I have seen the area for myself, I can appreciate the objections,” he said after spending nearly an hour trekking into the cut hillside with 30 neighbours.

Ramkarpal Singh said he would pass the residents’ concerns to the state and he would also study their case in the Planning Appeals Board.

All construction work except for mitigation activities in the project have been stopped pending the residents’ appeal. - The Star

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