KOTA KINABALU: The proposed sea reclamation and re-zoning of Sabah’s iconic Tanjung Aru for hotels and resorts under a redevelopment plan may affect five islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park here, said WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma.
He said coastal sea reclamation could cause irreparable damage to the eco-system in Tanjung Aru and areas around it.
WWF-Malaysia believes that coastal reclamation can affect the water table, ground water, salt water and freshwater interface, in-shore current systems and coastal morphology, among others.
It can also cause marine changes which may have an impact as far out as the islands and reefs in and around Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, he said yesterday.
Furthermore, he said, the development plan for hotels and resorts was zoned at sea which was outside the gazetted boundary of Tanjung Aru beach.
“Such zoning of sea areas implies that development involving reclamation might be allowed in the seas,” he added.
Dr Sharma said the Tanjung Aru beach area here was an important green space for the public.
“Urban green space per capita is an important indicator for a sustainable and liveable city,” he said.
Environmental groups are campaigning for City Hall to abandon re-development plans for Tanjung Aru beach.
Dr Sharma said any development must not interfere with existing public access to the beach.
“Public access should be readily available and not be overly burdensome,” he added.
The latest Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) plan shows that the beach is proposed to be widened to at least 50m at high tide from the current 9m.
TAED executive director Datuk Victor Paul said the beach had lost 60m to 70m to erosion over the past 50 years.
“It would be important to examine the evidence and record of the erosion to date to identify possible causes.
“If the extent of the erosion in the past is true, how would the developers ensure that erosion will not wash away the reclaimed beach in the future?” he asked.
He said there should be more public briefings and consultations on the reclamation area and zoning of Tanjung Aru beach.