THE Esplanade field in George Town, Penang, which has been closed since last December for upgrading works is expected to reopen in early September after which the seawall there would be strengthened.
The RM2mil work at the 1.6ha field focused on its underground drainage system to overcome water ponding which occurs after a downpour.
State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said a web of flat sub-soil pipes, which are covered with a geotextile material and have a number of perforations to let the water through to be drained away, were fitted underneath the field.
“The gradient on the middle of the field is also one-percent higher, so that the water will flow to the box culverts located around the field smoothly,” he told the reporters after inspecting the progress of the project yesterday.
Chow said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) would introduce guidelines on the usage of the field to ensure the drainage system is protected besides having stricter control of activities carried out there in future.
“Most of the works are done and we are waiting for the grass to be fully grown before opening the field to the public which we expect to be in early September,” he added.
The field’s upgrade was the first task of the North Seafront project by the George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC) under its Public Realm Upgrading Plan.
GTCDC is a tripartite partnership between the Chief Minister Incorporated, Think City Sdn Bhd and Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The subsequent task is to strengthen the 600m stretch of seawall there which is worn out due to sea erosion. This will be done in several phases over a period of 24 months.
Think City executive director Hamdan Abdul Majeed said the work is expected to commence by end of the year, with the first phase to involve a 60m stretch that directly faces the field.
“The first phase costing some RM800,000 involves the seawall in front of the field as a continuation of the installation of a new outlet to channel the field’s drainage water to sea,” he explained.
He said during the project’s condition assessment and hydrological studies, they realised that the bottom half of the seawall is under threat and requires upgrading.
“Some of the parts have deteriorated due to sea action, where waves frequently crash over the seawall leaving it in a crumbling condition.
“The works will also involve refurbishment of the walkway along the promenade,” he said.
Hamdan said the whole upgrading project of the seawall would cost between RM15mil and RM20mil, and would be carried out in three to four phases.
The North Seafront project also includes the conservation of Fort Cornwallis and landscaping works throughout the area.