YES, there will be a four-lane bridge between Penang and Pulau Jerejak islands.
But only pedestrians, cyclists and electric cars will be allowed across and development on the island will be the paragon of a green residential utopia.
State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said among the unique features of development plans for Pulau Jerejak was that no cars with combustion engines would be allowed to cross to the isle without special permission.
“Ambulances, fire engines and police cars will be allowed in during emergencies, of course. Utility vehicles like Tenaga Nasional trucks will need a permit.
“As for Penang Island City Council vehicles, such as garbage trucks, we will have to figure something out. Maybe a wagon pulled by an electric-powered vehicle will suffice,” he said.
According to Phee, many countries have specific townships or suburbs that demonstrate the highest standard of sustainability, and the state government wants Pulau Jerejak to have such a future.
“The developer will have to toe the line and show the utmost commitment to maintain the highest standards of urban planning for Pulau Jerejak,” he said.
Phee was commenting on recent outcries by local activists who expressed alarm over development plans for Pulau Jerejak.
They highlighted a brochure on the project in which the advertising copy introduced the planned project as ‘Queens Island (formerly known as Pulau Jerejak)’.
But Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow clarified that ‘Queens Island Condo and Villa’ was only the name of the project and not the island.
“The development will only involve 80 acres (32.37ha). They (developer) do not own the island,” Chow told reporters last week, stressing that Pulau Jerejak would not be renamed.
The island is more than 360ha.
Phee said he was thankful to the NGOs because they helped to highlight worst case scenarios.
“I appreciate them. They alert us of possible problems.”
He revealed that only 1,200 residential units would be built in Pulau Jerejak and the population was not expected to exceed 8,000.
A host of public amenities will also be built there, including jogging and cycling paths and even jetties where Penangites can spend the day fishing.
Phee said the state would not compromise on maintaining high standards of sustainability and stakeholder consideration in Pulau Jerejak, which would be in accordance with the United Nation’s Local Agenda 21 guidelines.
“Just as we are planning for Batu Kawan to be a green industrial area, we want Pulau Jerejak to be a green residential area.
“Pulau Jerejak is a greenfield with no precedent or past town planning legacy. So the project can be planned and built in such a way that it will be the envy of the nation,” he added.