GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan is calling on the state government to return the reclaimed Gurney Drive to the people of Penang.
It’s national vice-president Baljit Singh today asked Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to disclose what the state plans to do with 36.8 hectares of land reclaimed along Penang’s famous sea-fronting promenade, also known as Persiaran Gurney.
“Although it has been made known that 16.18 ha of the 53 ha of reclaimed land will be designated a public park, there has been silence with regard to plans for the remainder of the land,” he said in a statement.
“Gurney Drive was originally a public esplanade and now only a small portion of our reclaimed land is meant for public use. Why is this so?” Baljit asked.
He pointed to the fact that Penang does not require more reclaimed land to be developed for commercial and residential purposes at a time when property developers are experiencing a glut of unsold properties.
“Also, will those who had previously invested in supposed sea-fronting condominiums along Gurney Drive now be deprived of the sea view if the reclaimed land is to be sold off to interested parties or given away as part of land swap deals?” he added, saying that the state authorities should designate the entire reclaimed land on Gurney Drive for public use and recreation.
“As it is, people are finding it more and more of a challenge to find open spaces on the island for relaxation and recreation, and this includes accessing so-called public beaches,” he said.
Reclamation works along the Gurney Drive foreshore started in 2016, with reclamation of 53 ha of land completed in Sept 2019.
The reclamation works were carried out in accordance with a concession agreement signed between the Penang state government and Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd (TPD), a subsidiary of property lifestyle developer Eastern & Oriental Berhad.
Under the agreement, TPD was to reclaim the land at its own cost and hand over 53 ha of reclaimed land along the Gurney foreshore to the state government by Dec 2022.
“It is high time that the DAP-led state government work on leaving a ‘green legacy’ in Penang and stop being associated with endless land reclamation activities and environmental destruction,” Baljit said.