Taxpayers’ Monies Down The Drain In Kiara Park? – Lim Chui Choo and P.W. Chin

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Newly laid drainage pipes in Bukit Kiara park exposed after a storm - pic by Lim Chui Choo, April 22, 2014

The Malaysian Insider, 22 April 2014

'The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.' – Blaise Pascal

The costly high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes wrapped in geotextiles recently laid in Kiara Park were put to the test and ‘exposed’ after the heavy downpour and storm that lashed the city on 21 April 2014.

The results were not just visible, but broadcasted all over the park the morning after as park-users lamented, “Did you see the slope and the drains?“

The existing open drains lined with precast concrete sections have been serving well for years by collecting storm-water flow from the hill slopes of Bukit Kiara and rapidly conveying it into the streams and lake.

All that the National Landscape Department (JLN) needed to do was to regularly clear the drains of accumulated sediment, twigs and leaves.

So why waste taxpayers’ monies on the costly HDPE pipe conduit in its ‘upgrades’ in Kiara Park?

Concerns from park-users about these HDPE pipes causing erosion had been raised in September 2013 when JLN started laying the costly HDPE pipes up on the jogging track from the entrance of park to the Indy Jones suspension bridge.

A retired engineer with 18 years of experience with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) had pointed out then the likely negative effects of using the HDPE pipeline which may cause erosion given the terrain in the park. He had suggested that it is better to leave the existing drains open as they were.

Another park-user, Datuk Kamal, geologist and consultant, had echoed the same concerns, all of which were highlighted to Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK), the NGO fighting for the preservation of 189 ha of the people’s forest park in Bukit Kiara, and the relevant authorities.

Thankfully, the HDPE pipe conduit which was planned for the whole jogging track in Lembah Kiara Park (LKP) then was nibbed in the bud or we may well be seeing a disastrous ‘clogging track’ all the way up the slopes with fallen trees and a possible landslide by now.

What had happened on a much reduced scale at the lower end of the slope was storm-water had swarmped the buried conduits and flowed swiftly above the stonefill.

At steep stretches, the swift (probably supercritical) flow washed away the stones and cut deep gullies in the ground, exposing the HDPE pipes, even uplifting them.

Is this Mother Nature‘s way of telling man, in particular JLN and the relevant authorities, to leave the people’s park as it is?

And to preserve the forest park as a natural, unique lasting legacy for the people as it was meant to be when cabinet designated 189 ha of Bukit Kiara to be Taman Awam Bersekala Besar (TABB) in 2007 by honouring that promise with the gazetting of Bukit Kiara as urged by FoBK and its coalition partners of 47 resident associations and NGOs? – April 22, 2014.

* Lim Chui Choo and P.W Chin read The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

[More pics below by TRAKS]image

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Bukit Kiara: Forest no place for barbed wires - The Star Online

Razor sharp: The barbed wire installed by the National Lands cape Department in Bukit Kiara can cause injury to park users

by shalini ravindran - The Star Online

Visitors to Bukit Kiara were appalled to see barbed wire at the park, believed to have been installed by National Landscape Department (JLN) workers recently.

The barbed wire was spotted in at least two locations with one very close to a popular bike trail.

Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) pro-tem chairman Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor said it was ridiculous to use barbed wire in a public park.

“Apart from the danger that the wires pose to the public, they also prevent the migration of wild animals in the park.”

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) vice-president Henry Goh said the use of barbed wire in a public park was dangerous.

“The use of concertina razor barbed wire barriers in public parks are banned in some countries. They can cause injury to park users.

“Imagine a cyclist crashing into one of them. Other types of accidents could also occur,” he said.

Goh added that the barbed wire barrier should be removed immediately before any untoward incident occurs.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng also questioned the need for barbed wire.

“There is absolutely no need for barbed wire in a forested park because users might be injured by it especially when they are running or cycling in the early hours or late evening or when it rains,” he said, when contacted.

Meanwhile, in a tweet on April 11, via JLN’s official Twitter account @NegaraTaman, the department said: “Barbed wire diletakkan sementara sebelum isu sempadan diselesaikan.” (Barbed wire was placed temporarily while the boundary issue is being resolved).

Attempts to clarify the matter with JLN proved unsuccessful.

Salleh said that the boundary between the government and a private corporation should have been resolved first, before using a safer material to demarcate the border.

Bukit Kiara stakeholders have also long been campaigning for the 188.9ha piece of land to be gazetted as a green lung.

Park users and environmentalists have also been pushing the 3.5m-high fence project along a 4.7km stretch to demarcate the area to be removed.

Is Bukit Kiara Park Makeover Worth The Millions Spent? – Lim Chui Choo

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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!

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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’.”

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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.

Join Friends of Bukit Kiara inaugural General Meeting this Sat. 19th April, 11:00 in TTDI !
Bukit Kiara, as one of the last green lung in KL, is under threat of destruction of its flora and fauna by irresponsible organizations bent on turning the pristine forest into another concrete jungle.  Help us to preserve and conserve Bukit Kiara by joining as a member of Friends of Bukit Kiara at the Inaugural General Meeting on Saturday, 19 April 2014 at 11:00 am at the SKTTDI (2), Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI.  Show your support together with your family and friends. With strength in numbers, we can make a difference.
Henry Goh - Malaysian Nature Society

Join Friends of Bukit Kiara inaugural General Meeting this Sat. 19th April, 11:00 in TTDI !

Bukit Kiara, as one of the last green lung in KL, is under threat of destruction of its flora and fauna by irresponsible organizations bent on turning the pristine forest into another concrete jungle.

Help us to preserve and conserve Bukit Kiara by joining as a member of Friends of Bukit Kiara at the Inaugural General Meeting on Saturday, 19 April 2014 at 11:00 am at the SKTTDI (2), Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI.

Show your support together with your family and friends. With strength in numbers, we can make a difference.

Henry Goh - Malaysian Nature Society