Taman Berkeley folk object to plan via online survey

Residents take regular morning walks at the Berkeley field while adhering to the SOP. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

KLANG Municipal Council (MPK) plans to turn a 0.95ha recreational field in Taman Berkeley into an open-air carpark with 100 bays and a futsal court, a move that residents oppose.

They said the proposed project contradicted MPK’s Low-Carbon City Action Plan 2027, which called for control on Klang’s development to achieve a healthy environment suitable for outdoor activities and integrates with the objectives and values of a green community.

“I think it is absurd that MPK wants to turn a green space into a parking area,” said Chong Jit Seng, 59, who has objected to the proposed project through the council’s online survey questionnaire.

He said MPK should realise the importance of open green spaces for residents.

“Such areas need to be preserved, more so now with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, when people need to physically distance themselves from one another while getting fresh air and carrying out their daily exercise,” he added.

Apart from getting residents’ feedback, the questionnaire also provided a brief description of the proposed 85m x 59m carpark and 30m x 20m futsal court.

MPK had sent out notices on July 20 informing residents about the online questionnaire. They were requested to answer the questionnaire within the week.

“Our residents do not need a futsal court as the field is for football.

“They also use the field for brisk walks, jogging and tai chi, among other exercises.

“Having access to this natural space helps boost our mental well-being,” said Chong, who is a financial planner.

Established in 1971, Taman Berkeley is one of the earliest, well-planned housing estates in Klang and has grown into a township over the years.

It has 974 houses, 143 shoplots, an old cinema repurposed as a food court and a community hall that borders the field.

While officially known as Padang MPK, it is more commonly referred to as the Berkeley field.

Chong, who has lived in Taman Berkeley for some two decades, said the green area – the size of two football fields – also helped to retain surface runoff to curb flash floods.

“We residents are against having the field covered with asphalt as it will be impervious to rainwater.

“So in a downpour, rainwater will have nowhere to go except into drains, thereby overwhelming them and setting off flash floods.

“It is, therefore, crucial to maintain the field in its natural state,” he reiterated.

Social worker Shirley Sobey said the neighbourhood was designed with a large field to encourage social interaction and a better quality of life for residents.

“Other than being a recreational space, the field is now seen as a solution to environmental challenges.

“As residents, we are thankful for the green space as we can step out of our homes for our mental well-being,” she added.

Former warehouse executive Yap Choon Hang, 61, said the proposal would see a rise in temperature due to loss of green cover and aggravate the situation if there was a heatwave.

“I have lived here since 1972 and the field creates a space for the people to meet.

“It provides a safe place for children to play while older folk enjoy their walks,” the father of three added.

Yap said MPK had increased the number of parking bays along Lebuh Lang, close to the houses, a few years ago to cater to the higher traffic during peak hours.

He said residents accepted that there was a need for that project.

Former teacher LL Lim, 62, said most people in the area used the field for their daily walks and exercise.

“In fact, it is the large field that has attracted many people to buy houses in this area, as green spaces do create a pleasing ambience.

“We residents are also involved in the ‘community watch’ programme to ensure the area is safe.

“We are against the building of the carpark as it will compromise safety,” she added.

MPK Urban Planning Department acting director Yusrina Mohamad Yusof told StarMetro that the council was waiting to collect all the responses from residents.

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