SUBANG Jaya folk will not have to travel far to escape the concrete jungle as the Subang Jaya Municipal Council plans to unveil its first urban forest by the end of this year.
In an exclusive interview, council decision-makers told StarMetro of plans to turn USJ 3C along Persiaran Setia into a 3.18ha urban forest called Park of Hope.
Deputy president Abdullah Marjunid said the council has long been planning for this project, which will cost RM2.84mil.
“It will be the first integrated community park that caters to people of all ages.
“I am sure this will get a positive response from the public,” he said.
To get an insight into building this park, the council visited Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and an urban forest in Johor Baru.
Town planning director Ismail Muhamad said this is a smart partnership between the council, FRIM and Green Tech, an organisation under the purview of the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA).
“From the planning process and soil test to the selection of trees and facilities, we will be involved from start to finish instead of merely leaving it to the consultants,” he said.
The earmarked 3.18ha area is currently overgrown with bushes and poses a risk to nearby residents.
As such, turning the space into an urban forest will benefit residents.
The project is also in line with MPSJ’s goal to turn Subang Jaya into a green city by 2030
The council has already begun planting saplings at the site.
Landscape architect Suhaili Suid added that having an urban forest will help in carbon sequestration.
“This will help in mitigating global warming and hopefully in the future, the air quality can be similar to what it was when Subang Jaya was a rubber estate.
“The urban forest will also be used for data collection,” she said.
Ismail said educational tours will also be conducted for preschool children right up to students at university level.
The idea was inspired by the fact that the urban forest will be situated next to a nursery.
“We will collaborate with Universiti Putra Malaysia to design an educational module.
“Aside from learning about trees and nature, students can learn from a young age the importance of conservation and be appreciative of the environment,” he said.
He added that the park will be a meeting point for people as well and increase social interaction among residents.
“One of the reasons for the increase in the crime rate is that sometimes, you don’t know who your neighbours are and you do not even notice if a stranger has entered the neighbourhood.
“Hopefully, the urban forest can be a place for people to get to know each other and foster stronger ties among neighbours,” he said.
Landscape department director Azlina Mat Salim said among the facilities planned are a jogging and nature trail, bike tracks, playground, amphitheatre and reflexology path.
There will be a park management office, security guards and allocated parking spaces.
The department will be in charge of park management but residents will also have a part to play.
The council plans to set up a squad consisting of residents’ committee members to be the eyes and ears of the council.
Ismail advised the public to take care of the forest and facilities provided.
“Vandalism costs the council money that could be used for other amenities,” he said.
The council also plans to have an urban forest in Puncak Jalil.
Ismail said they are still discussing the concept and waiting for funds.
Aside from this project, another urban forest in Selangor is located in Shah Alam.
It was reported in StarMetro (“RM40mil urban forest in Shah Alam”, Jan 25) that the state had gazetted the land in Section 13, Shah Alam, for a 16.3ha urban forest.