OVER the past three months, frequent visitors to Bukit Gasing have seen concrete piling and light construction work taking place at their favourite hiking spot.
They raised their concerns with StarMetro and we hiked about 30 minutes up the Bukit Gasing Educational Forest to investigate.
We found some light construction work going on. It appeared that additional recreational facilities such as benches and paths were being built.
However, no signboards seemed to have been erected at the site to inform the public on the ongoing construction work. As such, it was unclear whether work was taking place in the Petaling Jaya or Kuala Lumpur side of the hill.
When contacted, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Landscape and Recreation Department director Mustafa Mohd Nor said the project was to upgrade public facilities at Taman Rimba Bukit Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur.
He clarified that the project was not taking place on the Petaling Jaya side.
“Facilities such as bridges and walkways are being built for the convenience of the public,” he said.
DBKL Landscape architect Mohamad Afez Abdullah said the project was being conducted on a 66ha piece of land on Bukit Kerinchi.
Parts of the land were previously occupied by squatters. However, they have been relocated and the recreational facilities were being put in place in stages.
The new facilities include toilets, camping sites, rest areas, a fish pond and walkways.
A hanging bridge and garden with edible plants are also in the pipeline.
The project was launched in 2012 by former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in June 2012 and the current Phase 2 is expected to be ready by Nov 15.
Mohamad Afez said the necessary environmental impact studies had already been conducted by DBKL.
He said NGOs and the public were briefed about the project then.
“No machinery is allowed onto the hill. All work is being carried out using manual labour.
“We will try our best to minimise any impact on the environment while the facilities are being built,” he said.
Mohamad Afez reiterated that no large trees can be felled on the hill without the consent of DBKL. In addition, any tree that has to be removed must be replaced.
“If the conditions are not adhered to, the contractor will be fined,” he said.
Mohamad Afez added that the concrete structures were necessary to ensure the walkways and bridges were stable.
He said the wood plastic composite type of material was being used and it had been certified as green technology (techonology or material?).
“Once the whole project is ready, it will blend very well with nature. The material we are using will last longer as wood deteriorates faster,” he said.
He added that the concrete structure for the bridge was necessary to prevent soil erosion.
“We have studied the topography of the area and are confident the building materials and structures are the most suitable,” he said, adding that the site was inspected almost daily.
Mohamad Afez said the area would not be fenced up and separated from the Petaling Jaya side as DBKL wanted everyone to enjoy the facilities being built.
He added that signboards for the project had been erected on Jalan Kubur, Pantai Dalam and the scheduled day of completion was Nov 15.
Petaling Jaya Section 6 Residents Association chairman Rajesh Mansukhlal said the facilities were not needed and the hill should be left undisturbed.
“Why bring concrete into the jungle? Instead, DBKL should do some tree and plant tagging and provide more natural hiking trails.
“Installing lights is not a good idea either as it is tampering with nature.
“I hope DBKL has consulted organisations such as the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and other relevant organisations to ensure the flora and fauna will not be affected,” he added.
Work on Phase 3 is scheduled to begin at the end of 2015, although its completion date has not been ascertained by DBKL.
We're sorry, this article is unavailable at the moment. If you wish to read this article, kindly contact our Customer Service team at 1-300-88-7827. Thank you for your patience - we're bringing you a new and improved experience soon!