KOTA KINABALU: About 226 hectares (558 acres) of land reclamation would be carried out for the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED).
Project management director Peter Adam told a press conference here yesterday this would encompass 65 percent of the entire project area of about 348 hectares or 860 acres.
Reporters were given the assurance that the reclamation work that would be carried out for TAED would not adversely impact the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) or the surrounding coral areas.
It was also mentioned that hydraulic studies have been done to ensure the reclamation works carried out would not pose a problem and the Tanjung Aru beach would remain stable (not erode).
It is a known fact that the Tanjung Aru beach, including the Prince Philip Park, had undergone serious erosion issues for years and the studies carried out would hopefully help to mitigate the issue.
Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai told reporters that the Tanjung Aru beach has been facing erosion problem since 1985.
“This is one chance for us to transform the beach,” he said.
Yeo also reminded that among the most beautiful developments in the city, the Sutera Harbour Resort, was made possible through land reclamation and that areas in the city such as Segama was also formerly part of the sea that was reclaimed.
He added that he has been involved in the National Coastal Erosion Study and in the protection of beaches since 1985.
He also disclosed that the environment undergoes dynamic changes all the time and goes through a lot of transformation. Yeo also mentioned that studies carried out on the beach water found large concentration of e-coli of between 3,000 to 4,000.
“There will be no more emission of septic tank wastes into Tanjung Aru (beach),” he said.
Yeo also said that efforts will be made to transplant the heritage trees that would be affected by the development. He said they were “cracking their heads” figuring how to maintain and ensure the survival of as many trees as possible.
He also said that the City Hall kept an inventory of all the heritage trees and mentioned that there were about 200 of them with 600 large trees.
Similarly, efforts are also being made to ensure the survival of the macaw birds that had its habitat within the development site, he said.
He reminded that they would be going through a public procedure again to acquire feedbacks from concerned citizens.
The mayor also promised that public access to the Tanjung Aru beach famed for its sunset vistas will remain even after the TAED project is completed.
Yeo said he would personally ensure that the public would continue to have access to a major stretch of the beach as well as the historic Prince Philip Park in the vicinity.
“I personally assure that 1.3km of beach will still be maintained for the public. I also want my children and future generations to be able to enjoy it. I also want to protect it. I will have failed in my duty as a mayor if I didn’t take the people’s views into consideration,” he said.
Meanwhile, work on the TAED will be divided into four stages. The first stage of construction is expected to start in the first quarter of next year, while the second stage will start in September 2017. The subsequent stages will start in September 2018 and March 2019, respectively.
The development shall consist of a 1.35 kilometres long public beach with an average width of 68 metres during high tide and 126 metres wide during low tide. The facilities that would be made available include a beach promenade, food kiosks, walking tracks, dedicated cycling lane, changing room facilities and provision of electric bus to access the beach.
The Prince Philip Park encompassing an area of 12 hectares, which is more than double its present size would also be revitalised with eco-forest themed park, waterfront promenade, ecology centre, lakeside amphitheatre, children play area, performance stage and rainforest cafe.
Additionally, a Prince Philip wharf will also be established. The facilities at the wharf would be a green bridge connecting to the Prince Philip Park, Tanjung Aru beach and public car park for 1,800 cars.
The development will also consist of residential and commercial lots as well as hotels and a golf retreat.
Peter mentioned that a lot of parties, both from domestic and international have expressed interest in financing the project.
“We are looking at our options,” he said.
Also present during the press conference was Tania Golingi of DHI Water and Management Malaysia.