KUCHING: The design of the keenly awaited roofing over the India Street Pedestrian Mall here has been unveiled, and it looks like a rainforest canopy made of steel and glass.
Computer-generated renderings show a series of tree trunk-like columns rising from the streets and supporting the panels above. The overall covering itself comprises panels in different shades of green and yellow, resembling branches and leaves.
Kuching City North Commission (DBKU) will implement the estimated RM4.3mil project via a tender process.
“Construction will begin after Hari Raya Aidilfitri and is scheduled to complete by March next year, or roughly eight months,” Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai told hundreds at the ceremony here on Thursday, attended by pedestrian mall property owners and tenants, as well as those from surrounding areas.
At the event, Abdul Wahap highlighted three design features.
“Due to the different heights of the shoplots, the individual covering will be between 8m, 10m and 12m above street level. The tallest canopies will be in the middle.”
For natural ventilation, there would be a minimum 3m gap between top of the buildings and the canopies.
“Lastly, the columns that not only allow enough clearance for fire engines to still drive into India Street when they need to be, but also have modules built in so as to allow rainwater harvesting,” Abdul Wahap said.
The Datuk Bandar urged locals to visit the area while it remained uncovered, describing the project as the next step in the evolution of one of Sarawak’s oldest trading streets, which comprise 65 shops and is 120m long.
India Street Pedestrian Mall management committee chairman Datuk Wee Hong Seng said Singapore’s Bugis Street was one of the inspirations for the roofing design. He added that the structure also closely resembled that at the island republic’s Clarke Quay.
On a related matter, Wee said a joint “security initiative” between DBKU, police, Plaza Merdeka, retail and merchants association would be formed to curb crime.
“This patrol will include the areas encompassing Padang Merdeka, Plaza Merdeka, the Old Court House, Brooke Dockyard and Kai Joo Laneway. CCTVs will be installed and monitored by Plaza Merdeka. Patrols will be on foot, bicycle and motorcycles. The police will also provide training to the security team,” Wee said.
At the same event, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg praised the public-private security initiative, as he lamented over indiscriminate cable theft.
“Recently, we had Visit Malaysia 2014 signs and lights installed at the Kampung Gersik walkway, just opposite from Kuching Waterfront. They were so nice. Do you know how difficult was it for me to get funds for these type of things?
“Yet two nights ago, the cables were stolen,” Johari said.