KUCHING: The much-needed housing in the Samalaju area of Bintulu to cater particularly for industrial workers will come in handy when the first batch of apartments are ready later this year.
The proposed 256 apartment units represents the first residential phase of the Samalaju Eco Park project undertaken by Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS).
The eco park township project covering some 810ha was conceptualised out of a vision to provide a balanced, healthy and sustainable lifestyle to the thousands of people working in the Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP), which is home to energy-intensive industries such as aluminium, ferrosilicon and manganese alloy smelters.
To cater to the thousands of construction workers at the SIP, CMS had earlier built Samalaju lodges for them. Following the completion of most of the manufacturing plants, the lodges have been upgraded to cater for the long term and more generous space requirements of supervisors and factory workers.
Last year, the capacity of the lodges were reconfigured to a 5,950-bed space and rooms, and renovated to meet the different needs of the clients for a higher standard of accommodation, according to CMS group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis.
He said the Samalaju lodges, which faced competition from illegal camps, recorded higher occupancy rate last year over 2014 with the support of existing industry players in SIP and their respective contractors who were seeking medium to long term accommodation within the vicinity.
Curtis said CMS, the sole government-approved accommodation provider in SIP, was pro-actively exploring accommodation opportunities with prospective new tenants and to provide tailor-made accommodation based on their needs.
CMS currently owns and operates the 175-room Samalaju Resort Hotel, which achieved full operations in March 2015. The guest rooms include three each in nine chalets. The hotel, which offers the stunning view of South China Sea and Similajau National Park, is equipped with necessary amenities for both business travellers and those looking for a comfortable getaway, according to Curtis in the CMS 2015 annual report released last week.
The hotel has swimming pools, a gym and games room, meeting and function rooms, a coffee house, a lounge and a business centre.
“The hotel is also equipped to organise corporate events, training, meetings and team building exercises, making it an excellent training centre for both the private and public sectors,” he said.
Back to Samalaju Eco Park, Curtis said land clearing and earthworks were currently underway for a commercial centre project, comprising a blend of shophouses, mixed-use complexes, markets and a shopping centre.
Expected to be completed by 2018, the commercial centre promises to provide an inspiring environment for a variety of commercial and entertainment outlets and activities, and would encompass alfresco dining and street cafés.
Also under development is Samalaju Central project – Samalaju’s first commercial/service centre on 33ha. The project will provide retail, commercial and industrial units to both small and medium enterprises.
“Samalaju Central is designed to be a visually attractive and well-planned commercial/service hub comprising commercial shoplots, semi-detached light industrial buildings and vacant industrial lots.
“Phase 1 comprising 34 units of three-storey commercial shoplots was launched for sales in August 2015, and construction is targeted for completion by the end of December 2016.
“The remaining shoplots will be launched in phases so as to ensure that every completed shoplot will have adequate time to start a business and turn Samalaju Central into a vibrant service centre before more commercial shoplots are constructed,” said Curtis.
CMS has also planned for the development of Samalaju Light Industrial Park project that would cover 83ha adjacent to the township project. The industrial estate project is designed to cater to both small- and medium-sized companies and other supporting industries.