SAFETY trumps aesthetics as the proposed felling of trees in Happy Garden, off Jalan Kelang Lama in Kuala Lumpur, will proceed.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Landscape and Recreational Department horticulture officer and certified arborist Ahmad Rizal Mohamad said the trees were not healthy and in danger of toppling over in rough winds and rain.
“These angsana trees are more than 30 years old and while they can survive longer than that, the conditions here are not ideal.
“We estimate that the root system is only around 1.4m deep, which is not enough to support the 21.3m trees,” he said adding that DBKL had to maintain some 100,000 trees in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the tree topping method was not suitable as it would encourage the growth of unhealthy branches.
“This method also requires more maintenance, which DBKL cannot afford,” said Ahmad Rizal at a dialogue with residents and stakeholders in Happy Garden yesterday.
In June, DBKL had planned to cut 26 trees along Jalan Riang 12 and Jalan 1/128 but were forced to stop the exercise after public outcry on social media.
Twelve trees along Jalan Riang 12 were felled before the project was halted.
Ahmad Rizal said the Seputeh constituency had the highest incidence of falling branches and trees.
“There were 217 incidents last year and this year, 52 cases had been reported.
“Most cases occur during the rainy seasons – between March and April as well as in September and October,” he said.
Food trader Sushila Suppyah, who operates a stall under the trees, hopes the felling exercise will take place soon.
“There had been incidents of branches falling on the roof,” she said.
Kuchai Brem Park II residents association chairman Raymond Lee said large planter boxes could replace the existing trees.
“They will at least make the place look greener without endangering lives,” he said.
Ahmad Rizal said DBKL would take the suggestions into consideration and hoped to restart the tree felling exercise by October.
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who had organised the meeting, said she hoped the public would respect residents’ wishes.
“The tree felling became a big issue when people from other neighbourhoods took offence. But they do not know the conditions here,” she said.
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