KOTA KINABALU: The Tanjung Aru beach will be closed off in March 2017 when reclamation works begin, said Kota Kinabalu mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai.
He added that the beach is expected to be shut down next March as the multi-billion ringgit redevelopment project takes off, and said that the city's iconic beach and park would be gazetted for the public.
“We will make sure that the public will still get the opportunity to enjoy the beach and the park for free, like what they are enjoying now,” said Yeo.
He said they would also try their best to retain the existing trees and plants wherever possible.
The redevelopment which will be done over the next three years will cover some 340ha, and it will double the historic park's size to about 30ha and transform part of it into a rainforest.
It will also revitalize the 1.35km Tanjung Aru beach as well as rejuvenate Prince Philip Park.
Yeo said that the project is now available for public viewing and added that the public can send in their feedback until Feb 10 next year.
“Tanjung Aru Eco Development Sdn Bhd has submitted their master plan to be considered under the Town and Country Planning Ordinance as a Scheme and the reports have been submitted to City Hall,” Yeo said.
He added that the reports can be viewed at Meeting Room 2 of the City Hall.
Previously, local NGOs had objected to the project and urged the government to maintain the beach and park areas.
The Tanjung Aru Eco Development project would include a promenade, walking and cycling tracks and an ecology centre, with completion expected in 2019.
A 133ha golf retreat, featuring a Greg Norman-designed course, seven hotels with 1,800 rooms in total and about 5,000 apartment and condominium units would also be built.
A key feature would be a 6km-long and 42m-wide canal fronting the residential lots.
There will also be a 26ha retail and food and beverage area called Prince Philip Wharf, and a marina to berth up to 200 vessels.