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Saturday, 12 August 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Jogging track plan hits raw nerve

THE Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has come under fire for works to convert a field in Pulau Tikus into a neighbourhood park.

Residents living around the field in College Square are upset with the council for not consulting them about the project which included the creation of a jogging track.

Parts of the field have already been dug up since the RM200,000 project began a week ago.

Work stopped on Thursday following protests from residents.

Teng Bee Hua, 82, was worried that the digging could damage the roots of the huge trees on the field which she said could be almost 100 years old.

“Why create an ugly concrete jogging track around the field in the name of beautification when all the trees and the greenery is such a wonderful sight,” she said.

Teng claimed that none of the residents were consulted about the project.

Resident Teng Bee Hua, 82 who said the project was not needed as the filed was beautiful as it is Lebuhraya Maktab, Pulau Tikus. — Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

Resident Teng Bee Hua, 82 who said the project was not needed as the filed was beautiful as it is Lebuhraya Maktab, Pulau Tikus

“They just came and started digging. Look at the ugly dug-up patches,” she said.

An MBPP Landscaping Depart-ment official, who was taking pictures at the site yesterday, claimed that the residents had requested for more lights at the field as there were drug addicts who would occupy the benches there at night.

“The residents requested us to brighten up the place and we thought it would be good to add a jogging track on the field which is presently underutilised,” he said.

However, another resident who wanted to be known only as Madam Sue, 78, denied that the residents had made such a request.

“None of us want more lights or a jogging track as it would bring in more cars to the square which is already congested now.

“This project is of no benefit to anyone as we in the neighbourhood want peace and quiet here and not more noise,” she said.

MBPP councillor Chris Lee said it was merely a case of miscommunication between the Landscaping Department and the people in the area.

“Neighbourhood parks have been established in many residential areas within George Town and people have embraced such projects.

“As such, the council, which the field belongs to, went ahead and carried out the project,” Lee said in his comments on the project on his Facebook page.

He said the department should have engaged the local assemblyman, the people and other stakeholders before carrying out the project.

MBPP mayor Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif could not be reached for comments at press time.

It was learnt that the issue was on the agenda of the council’s heads of department meeting with Maimunah yesterday afternoon.