Monday, October 23, 2006

Last day to give feedback

PENANG: Today’s the last day for Gurney Drive and Kelawei Road residents to provide feedback on the planned mixed de-velopment project at the site of former International School of Penang (Uplands).

The RM650mil project by Hunza Properties (Penang) Sdn Bhd would consist of two 43-storey service apartment towers and a 37-storey business to-wer and other commercial buil-dings.

Sitting at the site now is a 1916 French-style building with a chapel built by the La Salle brothers as a novitiate and teacher training college. This will be retained.

The Penang Municipal Coun-cil had sent out notices dated June 14 to residents to provide feedback but many said they were not aware of this.

A council spokesman said a 21-day period had been given for residents to give feedback to the council.

But many of them – especially owners of condo units in the Regency, Gurney Park, Arcadia, Desa Mas and the Loke Mansion – said there were not aware of this.

The project has raised concerns about worsening traffic congestion in the area.

A Gurney Drive condo resi-dent, Lynn, said the coun- cil’s notice was only put up on the community notice board and not sent to them individually.

“The traffic jams will cause property here to depreciate as people may start to move out,” she said.

She felt there was no need for a new business tower in the area.

“Office and retail space is plentiful at the nearby Gur- ney Plaza and Gurney Tower,” she said.

Regency condominium re-sident and Uplands principal Ian Kerr, 64, said piling works would endanger the heritage building as well as nearby condominiums.

“Besides the new towers would cast a huge shadow over the heritage building, and that won’t enhance its beauty,” he said.

Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) said it had been publicising the feedback notice and over 100 residents had responded.

Hunza executive chairman Datuk Khor Teng Tong said he would wait for plans to be ap-proved by the council before commenting on public res-ponse to the project.

“We will follow government guidelines and it is up to the people to give their feedback to the council.

“From the very beginning, it has been decided that the heri-tage building at the site would be retained,” he said.

“I, too, am a defender of he-ritage buildings,” added Khor who is also president of the Pe-nang chapter of the Interna-tional Real Estate Federation (SIAPCI) which has a heritage sub-committee.

The 4.1ha freehold property was bought by Hunza for RM97.86mil from the Chris-tian Brothers School in Decem-ber 2004 and will be transfor-med into a development called The Gurney of Tomorrow.

It was earlier revealed that the old chapel would be turned into a food and beverage haven like the ex-convent school in Singapore’s Orchard Road, now a gourmet’s paradise with 30 to 40 restaurants.

Residents can contact the council’s development planning department at Level 16, Komtar (04-2624400) or PHT (04-2642631) to give their feedback.

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