THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is proposing to gazette most of the Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve into a low-density housing area.
The proposal is contained in the new PJ Local Draft Plan 2 (RTPJ2).
The RTPJ2 is a continuation of the first RTPJ1, a detailed master plan in which all areas in Petaling Jaya are zoned according to their land use and how they will be developed.
The plan covers five areas:
(1) PJU 6 to 9 (Bandar Utama to Bandar Sri Damansara);
(2) PJU1 to PJU5 and PJU10 (Damansara Damai and Kota Damansara);
(3) Section 18, PJS1 to PJS6, PJS9, PJS10 and SS10 (areas along Old Klang Road);
(4) SS2 to SS9, SS11, SS20 to SS26; and
(5) Section 13.
The forest was at the centre of controversy when the council decided to clear part of it to build the Kota Damansara Cemetery earlier this year, sparking fears among residents that the rest of the forest would make way for development.
Under the proposed zoning for PJU1 to PJU5 and PJU10, the Sungai Buloh Forest has been divided into four parts: cemetery, housing area, low-density housing area (not more than eight units per acre) and open area.
In the section for land use, housing areas account for 399.15 hectares in 2003 and are expected to increase to 964.88 hectares by 2020.
The Sungai Buloh Forest, meanwhile, was listed at 380.60 hectares for 2003 with a projection that it will decrease in size but without any statistics for how much it will be reduced by 2020.
Under Section 7.2.2 – Suggested Land Use of the report, it states that the forest is an important natural ecological area rich with sources of biodiversity.
“The area must be retained and is capable of acting as the main water catchment area for west PJ and mitigate flood and natural erosion in this area that is largely high topography with slopes that are more than 25 degrees,” the report said.
“Any encroachment and opening of this area will hasten the process of soil erosion and disrupt the hydrology system and water quality in the surrounding areas of PJU10 (Damansara Damai), PJU5 (Kota Damansara) and Sungai Buloh.”
Under Section 7.2.5 – Suggestion to Improve and Preserve the Environment and Topography of the report, however, guidelines are provided for development of the area in addition to the warning that there would be serious consequences in developing the forest.
“As the Sungai Buloh Forest is... capable of mitigating flood and soil erosion, it has to be preserved in its original form. Encroachment and opening the forest is strictly forbidden because it would hasten and cause soil erosion and siltation and would disrupt the hydrology system and air quality in the surrounding areas,” the report said.
A public briefing of the plans will held at the Section 7 Kota Damansara Community Hall at 10am on Saturday.
The draft plans are available for purchase at the MBPJ headquarters in Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya, at RM100 per set.