The toilets undergoing costly renovation at Lembah Kiara Park. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2014
“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.” – Theodore Roosevelt
After almost four years, a “dead” man-made waterfall that used to be the source of life in Lembah Kiara Park will spring to life again before completion of upgrades by the National Landscape Department (JLN) in mid-May.
And all because JLN said that it did not have the budget to buy a new pump to replace the one broken down since 2010.
Above the waterfall, a half-painted red steel bridge lies in suspension propped up by a make-shift steel scaffolding. This steel bridge is being constructed to replace the wooden suspension bridge fondly dubbed by park users as “Indy Jones’s bridge” which had made LKP famous.
Why are “rigid” materials like steel plates used for the base and solid steel railings for the sides if the bridge is a suspension bridge?
More importantly, will the new bridge be safe for park users given the heavy load of the steel plates used for the base and with solid steel railings added on for the sides which have yet to be installed?
Why were the original cables supporting the twin pillars at both ends of the bridge not changed or strengthened in line with the upgrade of the new bridge?
Apparently, two additional smaller cables have been extended midway from the bridge to a makeshift constructed concrete base on the slope after concerns were raised but will these be sufficient to steady the bridge once the steel scaffolding below the steely bridge are removed?
Why were suggestions from park users to use natural material like chengal wood, which would blend in with the natural environment and had withstood the park and its users in good stead for the past 20 years not considered by JLN in its “makeover” of the suspension bridge?
Whatever design JLN may have on its “upgraded” steel bridge, park users will rather wait in suspense for 25 heads of departments from the relevant authorities to make their maiden walk across the bridge first, based on the maximum weight allowed on good old Indy.
A park user, Mr Shah, had complained last week he slipped and nearly fell on the supposedly anti-slip steely bridge after the rain.
Park users are also asking why the “super bungalow” toilet has been converted into a “resort office” for JLN enforcement officers.
Their cries reached a crescendo during the recent water crisis when the old run-down toilets at the entrance of the park was closed temporarily resulting in some park users having to answer the call of nature in the bushes!
The pond filled with still water in the Lembah Kiara Park. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2014.
The existing toilets at the entrance of the park are insufficient (only two each for women and men) and are smelly which makes one wonder why JLN is spending millions in “upgrades” when a basic amenity is lacking and not maintained in the park.
A new toilet at the entrance had been built next to the existing old one only to be abandoned as JLN later discovered it will pollute a nearby stream.
Why not convert this new abandoned toilet into an office rather than waste more taxpayers’ monies to convert the costly “super bungalow toilet” in the park? Shouldn’t any conversion of the super bungalow toilet rightfully be designed for the rakyat’s benefit?
Park users are also questioning why they need to be monitored by the authorities when all they do is walk, jog, breathe and do tai chi?
What is the rationale for enforcement officers to be housed in a “resort office”? Any effective enforcement is mostly at the first point of entry, that is, at the entrance of park.
There is an existing spacious security house at the entrance of the park which is under-utilised. Why not use the existing security house to accommodate whatever enforcement officers?
Park users are also questioning the one too many gazebos (eight) and “rehat platforms” that seem unutilised, especially on weekdays.
In fact, the “rehat platforms” have already posed maintenance issues with fallen leaves and branches from the trees encircling them, while the polymer composite planks appear chipped or broken in some places.
Was there also a necessity to replace all the old power cables and working antique pole lights?
While new cables and lighting up on the jogging track were necessary and a welcome sight to park users, the existing cables and lights down were working except for probably only a handful of lights.
Was it cost effective to replace all the antique poles and to install 230 lights with electricity rates up by 15%?
After the initial haste to complete the unnecessary structures, there was a temporary halt to the JLN upgrades while mosquitoes multiply and make hay in the park.
An English expatriate who has made Malaysia his second home in Taman Tun Dr Ismail had this to say: “I went round the park last weekend – sad to see all the mud holes full of water- good mosquito breeding there, too. Got bitten to bits – a bit ironic when there is a banner outside about the war on Aedes… Really sad to see how the park has ‘improved’.”
The ‘upgraded’ steel bridge. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2014.
Another French expatriate was more scathing about the “upgrades” in the park when he took his children there in December 2013.
He was “horrified by what LKP had turned into and I’ll never ever want to come back here again…”
Other park users like Siti Hansen, Mohamad and Pete Chin asked what happened to their suggestions for more “softscape” in the park.
If only JLN had spent a little of the taxpayers’ money in what had made Putrajaya proud and famous, park users might be singing a different tune. – April 16, 2014.
* Lim Chui Choo is a child of nature and reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.