(From left) The current draft plan, the current view of Tanjung Aru and the overlay of the current document with Tanjung Aru as it is today.
KOTA KINABALU: Environmentalists are seeing red over the latest zoning for the city’s iconic Tanjung Aru beach.
Describing the second and final Draft Kota Kinabalu Local Plan 2020 as going against the wishes of the people, the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) said it was totally unacceptable as the plan reduces public space and allows for sea reclamation along Tanjung Aru beach for hotels to be built.
“We are shocked with the new draft plan produced by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall for Tanjung Aru beach area which shows three areas on water - zoned as ‘Hotels & Resorts’ - that will definitely leave a small patch of beach for the public,” said Sepa president Lanash Thanda on Sunday.
She said that the needs of Sabahans should come ahead of big business, tourists and the wealthy as the people had already lost so much of the state’s nature to huge businesses.
“This new reclamation areas and zoning for Hotel & Resorts such as those described in the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) for example is unacceptable and goes against the wishes of the people,” Lanash added.
Sepa also wants the city hall to extend the May 22 deadline for people to submit their views and objections to the new plan that was made public on May 8.
“The deadline must be extended, as all necessary documents are not ready for the public to view and they have nothing online, which would ease public access to all the documentation,” said Lanash.
She said that Sepa wants a proper stakeholder consultation to be held with all groups and concerned individuals, with all material and documentation be given ahead of the meeting.
“When Sutera Harbour was being built, the then Tourism and Environmental Development Minister promised all Sabahans that we would have a public park and a public beach, where is it?
"We refuse to lose Tanjung Aru beach, it’s the last of KK’s beaches and it belongs to all of us and not just the rich,” Lanash said, adding that Sepa together with many other non-governmental organisations and groups have also started a Facebook page, “Save Tanjung Aru Beach” to disseminate information to members of the public.
Lanash also questioned how the Royal Turf Club formerly used for horse racing was zoned for ‘Mixed Uses’’ when it was handed over for airport runway extension.
"Under the new plan, is it for development? This is just ridiculous and wrong,” she added.
Another issue was that members of the public were told to purchase a RM1 form from KKCH if they wished to lodge an objection.
However, the KKCH’s own brochure clearly states under clauses No. 9 and No. 13 that members of the public can lodge complaints via email, fax and letters.
“We called just to make sure and we were informed that it is mandatory to purchase the form if you want to make a objection. How can you call this public consultation?” asked Lanash.
Sepa urged members of the public to visit the Save Tanjung Aru Beach Facebook page to see how they could lodge an objection to the KKCH.