For years a settlement of stilt houses built on the sea has been attracting tourists, with many often seen taking pictures of the area at sunset.
But the scenic settlement also had its drawbacks with volunteers literally picking tonnes of garbage along a stretch of Tanjung Aru beach bordering the village.
Virtually all of the houses at the Kampung Air Tanjung Aru were without proper garbage and sewerage disposal systems.
The the walkways linking the houses were rickety bridges constructed by the villagers themselves.
That is all about to change with a RM48mil infrastructure upgrading and beautification scheme of the water village funded by the Federal Tourism Ministry and undertaken by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall.
City Hall Director of Engineer-ing Department Lee Tet Fon, said the project has been divided into three phases with the first stage to include the upgrading of an access road, the boardwalk, basic infrastructures and tourism features in the proposed development estimated to cost about RM10 mil.
Upon completion, he said there would be a proper sewage system connected to individual lots and a proper disposal system in place to collect domestic waste.
The first phase involves 29ha out of the 44ha of the overall area in the Tanjung Aru water village involving about 235 houses and 1,175 occupants.
It would be divided into two stages with the first involving the preparation of detailed plans for various structures such as a retaining wall for the boardwalk, small jetties, steps and parking lots as well as infrastructure plan for water pipe networks, sewage, electricity, telephones, individual and public toilets as well as treatment plant.
This would be followed through with the implementation work apart from repairs to the existing public facilities at the water village.
The project is expected to be completed in about 19 months followed by post construction maintenance by City Hall for a year, funded by the contractor.
Lee said he success of this scheme and its continuation would depend very much on the residents cooperation.
City Hall is appealing to the residents there to work with us to achieve the objectives, he said.