GEORGE TOWN: Some 226 homes, shops, temples, shrines and minor structures may have to make way for the proposed highway that will serve motorists from Gurney Drive to the airport with interchanges in Jalan Utama, Paya Terubong, Relau and Bayan Baru.
Most of these property owners do not know their buildings have been earmarked for acquisition for the Pan Island Link (PIL) 1.
The proposed alignment is still in the preliminary stage and pending approval, said Szeto Wai Loong, the project director of SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner of the Penang Transport Master Plan.
“Only after we finalise the detailed design will we notify the land owners of the acquisition plan. There may be changes to the final alignment, so it is too early to notify each landowner,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow yesterday released detailed information during a press conference on the properties expected to be acquired.
The highest number of acquisitions will be in Paya Terubong, with entire blocks of shoplots near Taman Sri Rambai along the main road expected to be affected. A total of 119 lots could face total or partial acquisition.
In disclosing the details, Chow promised to be transparent.
“We will share everything. We won’t keep secrets from the people.
“The state government never promised that PIL 1 would have no impact. We gave assurance that the impact would be minimal,” he said.
He said in many parts of the expected land acquisitions, nothing would be built on the land but because elevated highway sections cross overhead, the state is required by law to take over those portions.
“It is the same with the tunnel sections. Although the tunnel passes underground in the foothills, we need to acquire the land on the surface too,” he said, adding that about 60% of affected buildings were squatter homes and minor structures such as sheds and stores.
The public display of PIL 1’s Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) report ends today, but Chow said the Department of Environment had extended the deadline for submission of feedback and objections from Aug 24 to Sept 7.
A summary of the DEIA can be obtained at www.doe.gov.my, www.wirandamsdnbhd.com, wwwpenang.gov.my or www.pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my.
A copy of the report is also for sale for RM1,000 from the EIA Project Consultant Wiranda (M) Sdn Bhd.
Meanwhile, some affected landowners want to be compensated for their loss of income on top of the market value of the properties.
Gill’s Veterinary Clinic in Jalan Bagan Jermal, for example, was dismayed to learn that its kennels are in the way, and they may be forced to give up the land.
Its veterinary surgeon Amreet Singh Gill, 47, said the clinic had been operating since 1984 and he was unwilling to lose his kennels.
“I went to Komtar last week to read the project’s DEIA report and gave my complaints. If they take the kennels, we need to be compensated for loss of income,” he said.
A bridal studio down the road is also expected to lose its parking lots in front of its premises.
Kuang Yee Bridal Collections managing director Prescilla Chen said the studio would not operate well without parking space for customers and that would mean a lot of income loss.
The owner of a bungalow on the same stretch is also unwilling to budge after living there for 40 years.
“We renovated recently and I spent a fortune building a fountain in the garden. No way will they take away my garden and fountain,” said the woman, who declined to be named.
In PIL 1’s proposed alignment, a swath of land about 5m-wide beside the road of almost every piece of property on Jalan Bagan Jermal, opposite of Phor Thay School, may have to be acquired to make the six-lane elevated highway.
The school, along with Penang Chinese Girls High School further up in Jalan Gottlieb, are spared from surrendering land for the proposed alignment.
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