THE announcement of a new public park in Kuala Lumpur has sent ripples of excitement through the community, but many are also wondering where the impressive 162ha park would be located.
Even though Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting will announce the location in about a month's time, they have started scrutinising maps to find out areas available for such a massive project.
Officials at ministries and local authorities are tight-lipped, though, with Siti Zakiah only letting out that it would be “somewhere convenient and accessible.”
Wherever it is, Kuala Lumpur folks have high expectations of the new sprawling green lung in the city. Of all the things they want, maintenance is ranked at the top of the list.
Pudu Ulu public housing project residents' association chairman Siow Yoon Chooi emphasised the importance of security and maintenance.
“We have heard of many snatch thefts and petty crimes at Taman Tasik Permaisuri in Bandar Tun Razak. Joggers cannot have peace of mind in the park, as many have had their cars broken into,” he said.
“The government and all relevant parties should always keep an eye on this park, not just in the first few years,” he said, adding that first-class amenities would be meaningless without proper maintenance.
Bandar Baru Sri Petaling residents' association chairman Tan Tai Tong hoped the new public park could provide freedom of assembly like what Hyde Park did.
“I was very impressed when I visited Hyde Park as members of the public could express their opinions openly. ,” he said.
“I hope residents are allowed to hold peaceful gatherings here, too. It is not just a park, but also a place for members of the community to foster closer bonds, on top of de-stressing themselves and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I think this should be the government's contribution, if they want to go ahead with collecting a fee from motorists for entering the city,” he added.
Tan said the park should adopt a theme so that locals and tourists would remember its unique identity. It should also be easily accessible.
Bangsar Baru Residents Association president Datuk George Joseph said he would opt for many smaller parks around the city, instead of one huge park.
“We do not want a showpiece, rather, we want more parks, even though smaller in size, so that they can be of good use to the people,” he said
“Many people are already complaining it is so hot in Kuala Lumpur,” he said, adding that the park should have ponds and rivers so natural that birds and ducks would make it their habitat.
Malaysian Nature Society head of communications Andrew Sebastian said the park should be educational and eco-friendly.
He added that the park should be eco-friendly by having solar-generated lights, rainwater harvest system, fruiting trees for wildlife and compost bins or areas to achieve zero waste production.
“The government should make sure that people can take public transport to the park,” he said, adding that the park should be planted with local species so that it would be truly Malaysian.
Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw highlighted that poor maintenance at Metropolitan Park had turned it into a sorry sight.
“Look at what's going on at this park, people dispose of rubbish everywhere and vandalise the facilities. We ought to have stricter enforcement at parks to prevent all these from happening,” he said.
He proposed having a theatre at the new park.
“We can have shows there that reflect our colourful mix of cultures,” he said.
Cheras MCA Service Centre director Dr Jeffrey Goh stressed that security, maintenance and disable-friendly facilities should be looked into.
Aside from that, he said planners of the park should give careful thought to the use of materials.
“Plant trees with dense foliage to provide good shade, use materials that can cool temperature. We learn that Putrajaya is 5°C hotter than other cities, and is now a UHI (Urban Heat Island) like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru, because the wrong types of trees were planted,” he said.
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