KOTA KINABALU: The clearing of a secondary forest near the downtown area of Karamunsing is not going down well with city folk as they are worried over the remaining green lung areas here rapidly shrinking.
NGO Save Open Space KK co-coordinator Jefferi Chang said remaining tracts of forest areas in the city should be used as recreational and rest sites instead of being cleared to make way for even more buildings.
“The area could have been turned into a mini park,” he said.
“What is puzzling is that there is no project signboard to inform the public about the ongoing earthworks and hill slope cutting,” Chang added.
He said it was also puzzling how authorities could approve any development in the area that would likely worsen the traffic situation there.
When contacted, City Hall director-general Joannes Solidau said the project at the site involved the construction of a high-rise hotel to be operated by a renowned international hospitality chain.
“I believe preliminary works are being carried out such as soil testing,” he said, adding that the development plan for the project had been submitted to City Hall.
Sabah Environmental Protection Department (EPD) director Yabi Yangkat said the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report had been approved in March.
EIA approval was granted after the report was tabled and endorsed by the EIA review panel, he added.
The approval came after all technical requirements such as risk assessment report, traffic assessment report and earthwork plans were given the green light by the relevant technical departments and agencies, Yabi said.
He said the project had also been brought to the attention of the Sabah Cabinet by City Hall.