VISITORS to Penang Hill can expect better facilities this year as a series of upgrading works are in the pipeline.
Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) senior assistant manager (promotions and marketing) Anne Goh said landscaping work at the bottom station, hill slope maintenance and upgrading of the electrical system and lighting would be conducted in the coming months.
“Cultural and other activities are also being planned for the open area at the new food pavilion.
“Proper signages will be put up and the toilets and surau will be upgraded,” she said.
She said the PHC was in the midst of preparing a proposal for the roofing of the railway’s bottom and top stations.
“Our previous proposal for new roofs received protest from the non-governmental organisations, so we are coming up with a new design,” she said.
Goh said that as a temporary measure, eight pushcart stalls were provided to traders so that they could continue their business at the bottom station while waiting for the refurbishment works to be completed.
She said that last year, the PHC had successfully carried out several projects to beautify and improve facilities at the hill.
These included refurbishing the lower tunnel area to enable scouts to have their activities there, landscaping the hill, installing CCTVs and convex mirrors along the railway.
Other works involved renovating the Bukit Bendera bungalow into an art gallery, forming a strategic alliance with Ocean Park Hong Kong for the exchange of spare parts and expertise, and maintenance of the railway track’s surroundings.
“Early this year, the trees were pruned and cut while the track was inspected and the coach cleaned.
“We also conducted inventory checks and we inspected the entire railway system,” she said.
She added that from April to December last year, Penang Hill had attracted 707,990 visitors.
A new temporary car park on the Thee Kong Thua Temple land near the hill was recently completed. It can accommodate 86 cars.
Also completed is a 1.37km-long nature trail. It has been leased for 15 years.
The trail next to the car park allows visitors to access the bottom station via a scenic route through the viaduct and straight to the ticket counter.
Another car park with 86 bays is also being planned this year.
Government staff quarters along Hill Railway Road will be demolished for the second car park.
Goh said this at a briefing for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng recently.
Drinks seller Kong Chean Soon who has a stall at the bottom of the hill thanked the PHC for allowing the traders to benefit from the peak holiday season.
“I’ve been operating here since Dec 15. Business during the peak season is good — it is enough to cover my monthly expenses for three months,” he said.