Having interviewed an environmentalist for an article recently, and finding out that climate change causes extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, I was made to understand that one of the causes of climate change and global warming is the emission of plastic waste, where Malaysia emits the second highest volume of plastic waste on a per-capita basis in the world after Sri Lanka.
At an exclusive forum to discuss environment and sustainable development with specific focus on Tambun, Ipoh which was organised by the Joint Management Committee of The Haven Lakeside Residences, I also learned that irresponsible development will cause floods.
Residents of Permai Lake View Apartments as well as The Haven Lakeside Residences have alleged that earthworks on a neighbouring plot of land have caused adverse environmental impact on their property, including upsetting the eco-system of Mother Nature.
Mr. Chiew Teck Wee, in his topic Rapid Environmental Risk Assessment (RERA) Review of Subsurface Geohazards Aspects, referred to the lot in question that was previously gazetted by the Ipoh City Council as an infrastructure and utilities zone under the Ipoh Local Draft Plan 2020 and the site was functioning as a retention pond to manage water flow from the rain as well as neighbouring orchards and fish farms.
As an effect of climate change, we can expect heavier downpour over time. If this volume of rainfall and water is already causing mild floods, how will the excess water in the future be handled? Soil erosion and landslip cases as happened to Highland Towers and in Cameron Highlands come to mind.
Mr. Steve Oh, Secretary of Joint Management Committee of The Haven Lakeside Residences, added, “While most people look at Mother Earth as the land above ground, such as trees and animals, what we cannot see sub-ground doesn’t mean that the eco-micro organisms that live in the ground and sustain other living organisms don’t exist.”
In November 2014, the Perak State Government announced the launch of Kinta Valley Geopark, comprising limestone hills, caves, waterfalls and hotsprings, covering about 2,000sq. km. in Ipoh (including Tambun), Batu Gajah and Kampar.
The State Government has plans for the Geopark to achieve National Geopark status by 2016 and UNESCO Geopark in the future.
Therefore, at the forum, a panel of speakers were invited to present topics which they have formidable knowledge.
The panel members were:
1. Mr. Chiew Teck Wee – Managing Consultant / Director of Riverstone Environmental Sdn. Bhd.
Topic: Rapid Environmental Risk Assessment (RERA) Review of Subsurface Geohazards Aspects
2) En. Khairul Arifin B Mohd Noh – Consulting Geophysicist B.Sc, M.Sc (USM)
Topic: Geoelectrical Imaging for Subsurface Mapping and Geohazard Detection
3) Mr. David Yoong – Engineer, Rukun Tetangga Group
Topic: Town and Country Planning Act and its application
4) Mr. Steve Oh – Secretary of Joint Management Committee of The Haven Lakeside Residences
Topic: Rule of Law and its implication on Investments
5) Mr. Derek Fernandez – Managing Partner, Fernandez & Selvarajah Advocates & Solicitors
6) En. Said Bin Ahmad – Chairman of Joint Management Committee of Permai Lake View Apartments
Attendees at the forum were given a crash course on the features of limestone, which The Haven is built on, between two granite bodies known as Titiwangsa Range and Kledang Hill.
Limestone features include the hill, cliff and pinnacle, underground streams, caves, sinkholes and cavities.
Building on limestone poses an engineering and construction challenge that need various factors to be taken into account, and an Environmental Sensitive Area (ESA) study done.
Residents of Permai Lake View Apartments as well as The Haven Lakeside Residences have also alleged that amendments to the 2020 Local Draft Plan which includes the conversion of the lot from its original status to residential development status were done without obtaining public feedback.
Through the educational forum, the Joint Management Bodies for both the residential properties are lobbying for support from owners, residents and concerned Perakeans to object to the conversion in land status, which would end on May 13.
So, do we need to continue building to be considered “developed”? According to a recent anonymous interviewee, no, we need to be more creative instead and make more use of our natural resources to build our communities and not look like yet another concrete jungle which doesn’t distinguish us from any other city that spots a modern building concept.
However, if development has to be done in the name of progress, whatever changes that are made must adhere to the general framework, through constructive channels that engage the City Council and Councillors, the state government and residents, working together towards sustainable development, where a balance point among commercial, residential and infrastructure is found.
Moreover, investors need certainty. If the rule of law is upheld, Malaysia definitely makes good investment, particularly in Perak State.
Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are from the panel of speakers at the forum and not of the writer personally.
Event: Forum: Environment & Sustainable Development – Focus on Tambun, Ipoh
Venue: The Haven Resort, Ipoh
Date: 5th May, 2015
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