TAIPING: The Taiping Municipal Council has been criticised for not safeguarding old trees – whether they are on private land or in the town area.
Museum and Antiquity Department (central region) director Zainal Abidin Jamaludin said if the council continued to have a “couldn’t-care-less” attitude, it should forget about its Bandar Warisan (heritage town) plan.
“The magnificent old trees are part of the town’s assets and heritage.
“If the council's plan is to turn the town into a metropolitan area, this should be carried out in a new location, like Simpang and not around the existing old town area,” said Zainal Abidin.
He was commenting on the front-page picture and accompanying story in The Star yesterday, showing a big tree stump – all that was left of an old angsana tree, which was felled recently to make way for a shoplot along Jalan Tupai here.
Zainal Abidin noted that most of the old trees in and around the town were more than 100 years old.
“The council is collecting assessment fees and these majestic old trees should be safeguarded, irrespective of whether they are on council-owned land or private land,” he said.
These old trees, he said, provided aesthetic value to the town, pointing out that this was something extra to “sell” to tourists.
Zainal Abidin added that an old angsana tree, which was in front of the King Edward primary school here, was felled a few years ago on the directive of the school's authorities, which feared for its students' safety.
“A pruning exercise could have solved the problem,” he said.
“Without these raintrees, the Taiping Lake Garden will be no different from any other park,” he said.
He said there were legislations under the amended Town and Country Planning Act to safeguard old trees, even if they were on private land.
It has been learnt that the council’s town planning department had yet to issue any order to protect trees on private land.
Its Town and Recreation Department director Mohd Shahidan Othman said the felling of old trees would be done as a last resort.
“Recently, we received requests from the public to cut down an angsana tree in Jalan Tokong after some of its branches fell onto vehicles parked near it.
“But we carried out a pruning exercise instead,” he said.
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