Monday, July 22

Conserve India Street’s old town charm, planners urged

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KUCHING: Town planners must strike a balance between conserving India Street’s historical features and modern structures within its vicinity.

According to the mall’s committee chairman Dato Wee Hong Seng, India Street could not avoid modernisation but there was also the need to preserve its historical features.

One of the immediate actions the committee would take is to pull down illegal awnings at some of the shophouses to expose its heritage features.

“The days for individual shop attractions are gone, we must upgrade and improve the whole surrounding area to attract more people and give them a reason to come into the area,” Wee told The Borneo Post when met at Plaza Merdeka yesterday.

He added that the state government had included the mall area in the Heritage Trial project which was spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism.

Among the major plans for next year was to transform the area into a thriving business centre during the day and also at night as the volume of tourists from the current and upcoming hotel projects was expected to rise, Wee said.

Another ongoing project for India Street is the new centralised sewerage system for the whole area.

This he said must first be completed before the much anticipated covered walkways could be properly constructed.

“We expect the central sewerage system would be completed by end of January 2015 while the covered walkway is expected to be completed before the Ramadhan month next year,” he added.

The committee he said had also requested the Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID) to include an inspection chamber which links the drains at the five foot way in front of each shophouse to the central sewerage system.

This he said was important to prevent shop owners during their renovation works from digging new holes to lay down pipes to the central sewerage system.

“I believe that this is the sewerage project for the future. I hope that all the shop owners will provide their full cooperation to ensure the project will be completed on time,” said Wee.