Major boost for Penang

The country's biggest seafront city park, promising scenic views and good food, will open by the end of year in Penang, with the state government targeting millions of visitors. But not everyone is thrilled with the latest tourism marvel, as they worry about traffic and environmental issues.

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia’s largest seafront city park will open here by the end of the year, seeking to captivate visitors from around the world with its waterfront views and dining options.

The RM200mil 20.2ha Gurney Bay will feature, among others, a water body reclamation area, children’s playground, skate park, viewing decks, promenade, hawker stalls, and retail shops under its first phase.

“It will be an international treasure, not just a state or national one. This project will eventually draw millions of visitors across the globe, I guarantee you,” Deputy Chief Minister II Jagdeep Singh Deo told The Star.

Malaysia has a popular recreational park – Danga Bay – which is the largest recreational park in Johor. However, it is about 7km outside of Johor Baru.

In contrast, Gurney Bay is sited within the city’s prime residential and commercial neighbourhood facing the sea.

“There’s nowhere else in Malaysia that you can see such a mammoth urban public park by the sea.

“Gurney Bay will be a premier tourist attraction offering a picturesque seafront experience with an array of dining facilities that includes George Town’s famous hawker fare,” Jagdeep said.

Once completed, he said it would revitalise the tourism industry.

He said the project will complement the Penang 2030 vision of being a family-focused, green and smart state, and the first phase of Gurney Bay would open before the end of the year.

The second phase, which is due for completion in 2025, will feature a hawker centre, retail mall, convenience stores, viewing decks, a water garden, water taxi jetty, man-made beach and boardwalk, among others.

Jagdeep said the food court at Gurney Drive will be shifted to Gurney Bay later.

“The food court, the second phase of Gurney Bay’s development to be completed in mid-2024, will be 1.5 times bigger than the present one,” he said.

On whether there will be a light rail transit (LRT) at Gurney Bay, Jagdeep said: “Given the crowd, we need to ensure there are no traffic issues at Gurney Bay.

“It will be a good idea to have an LRT stop within the vicinity of Gurney Bay. Since it’s an iconic site, we must address the traffic situation, although we will have ample car parks at Gurney Bay.”

When it was first mooted in 2016, the project was called the green space Gurney Wharf before it was renamed Gurney Bay to better reflect the location and concept of the project.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the name change was apt as there was no wharf or pier at the project site.

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