EIGHT months have passed since the authorities took steps to refurbish the abandoned Kinta Nature Park.
Yet, the 950ha park, which was mentioned as “the place to discover wild nature escapes” by renowned travel guide Lonely Planet in its listing of Ipoh as the sixth best place in Asia to visit last year, remains closed to the public.
Perak State Park Corporation director Noor Asmah Mohd Nawawi said certain upgrading works were still underway, adding that no opening date has been set so far.
“We are trying our level best to ensure there are ample amenities for everyone.
“Of course, safety is also of utmost concern. We want to make sure everything is working before we reopen the park,” she said.
Noor Asmah said among the things currently being looked into was the construction of a crusher run road from Batu Gajah to the park.
“We are making arrangements for our staff to be stationed there on a 24-hour basis,” she added.
Tourism Perak chief executive officer Zuraida Md Taib was previously reported as saying that work to restore the park’s existing watchtower, toilets, pavilions, walkway, and power substation had commenced last December.
Part of the RM150,000 restoration works borne by Tourism Perak included the cleaning up of the entire camp area, the setting up of a new perimeter fencing and replacing its old storage facility, apart from the construction of a new pavilion together with new signage for the area.
Prior to that, the Kampar District and Land Office had spent RM216,400 to construct a 2.7km access road to the park via Kota Baru, Gopeng.
Meanwhile, Zuraida told MetroPerak that Tourism Perak had already handed over the project to the Perak State Park Corporation.
Located about 40km from Ipoh, the park consisting of 14 former mining ponds was set up in 2000 with the cooperation of the Malaysian Nature Society and the Kinta Barat District Council then.
The facilities that were constructed following its opening subsequently went to waste because of poor management and inadequate protection. Worse still, the size of the park was reduced and the vegetation changed by the setting up of illegal duck farms and sand mining activities as well as net fishing, which persist till this day despite it being gazetted as a wildlife sanctuary back in 2010.
It was not known how many of the 130 bird species, almost 60% of which were listed as totally protected or protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, still exist at the park.
When contacted, state Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi said the state government had set its sights on opening the park to the public in September. Echoing Zuraida that the upgrading of amenities at the park had already been completed in May, Nolee Ashilin explained that the delay in opening the park was because of its status.
“Currently, the park is gazetted as a state park under the National Land Code.
“To be able to charge an entrance fee, the Perak State Park Corpo-ration has to gazette the park under its own enactment.
“However, this will be solved before the opening date to allow the public to visit and also stay at the park,” she added.