Non-compliant restoration puts Unesco status at risk

PENANG’s World Heritage Site status may be put at risk because of non-compliant restoration work by owners of heritage homes.

George Town World Heritage Incor-porated (GTWHI) acting general manager Lim Chooi Ping described the non-compliance, which include inappropriate choice of colour and alteration of original design, as happening every day.

“We know this as we are doing a lot of monitoring work. Most of the time errant owners are aware that shophouses should be preserved according to guidelines but still they do otherwise.

“GTWHI is constantly conducting training and awareness campaigns, so they should have no excuse,” she said at a panel discussion on ‘Heritage Property Restoration’ on Friday at the Star Property Fair 2011.

Lim, in her presentation titled ‘Towards an Intelligent and Sustain-able Heritage City’, said GTWHI even simplified the guidelines on restoration works as a move to encourage home owners to abide by them.

She lamented that the non-compliance was happening despite offenders being slapped with fines of up to RM5,000 under the Town and Country Planning Act.

“We had such a court case as recent as early this year. Sadly from what we understand, the offender paid the fine but did not redo the restoration work according to guidelines.

“Nevertheless, there have been success stories where owners actually undo their restoration work to follow the guidelines,” she said, adding that other efforts by GTWHI to educate the people include roundtable consultation to discuss issues and problems, public forums and workshops.

Also in the one-hour panel discussion were Penang Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow and Think City Sdn Bhd’s programme director Dr Neil Khor.

Chow, among others, talked on what it meant to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and the challen-ges it presented while Khor spoke about the public grants programme for urban rejuvenation and how the public could benefit from it as well as the types of grants available.

At another talk yesterday, Sunway City Bhd general manager Tan Hun Beng said buyers should pay attention to the type of kitchen pipes used.

“Very often, property owners wonder why the kitchen sinks get choked regularly which is due to the size of the pipes under the sink.

“They should choose property which come with 100mm diameter kitchen pipes,” he said in his talk titled ‘What Should You Look For Before Your Next Property Purchase’.

Tan said property buyers should also choose property that come with metal door frames rather than timber ones to prevent termite attacks.

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