Thursday, December 11, 2008

Read between the lines: Hillslope developments to continue

Hill cutting in Batu Ferringi (photo by CKS)

Former Minister's lament in 2006, The Star

Hill Cutting in Tanjong Bunga, Lembah Permai (photo by: CKS)

Compared to the Selangor Government's bold policy on hillslope developments, the Penang State Government still has a long way to go. Some time ago the previous government sent a State delegation to Hong Kong (it seems our present CM has taken the same route). Of course what they found out was the simple fact that our State government cannot do what the Hong Kong government is doing in slope maintenance and management.. we just simply do not have the resources. One would then conclude that as the government is unable to maintain and monitor slope conditions, then the obvious solution is not to allow hillslope development until we reach the level of economic development and the resources of the Hong Kong government.

One has to read between the lines of the following report to conclude that hillslopes development in Penang will continue even afer landslides in Paya Terubong and Batu Ferringi have occurred.

Penang forms panel to check hillside developments
By: by Bernard Cheah (Dec 09, 2008)

GEORGE TOWN (Dec 9, 2008): The Penang government has formed an independent panel of engineering advisers to monitor and evaluate the conditions of all hillslopes that are being developed.Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said yesterday the panel, headed by Institute of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) chairman Prof Dr Eric Goh, will review weekly geotechnical reports submitted by the developers for their projects.He said the move is necessary to ensure stringent steps are taken to avoid any landslides or disasters.“We would like to give confidence to residents living on the hills as well as those residing along the foothills.”There are eight development projects on hillslopes on the island and one in Seberang Perai.Among the developers on the island is Ivory Continental Sdn Bhd, whose project on the Batu Ferringhi hillslopes includes three condominium blocks of 28 storeys each, 15 units of four-storey country houses, six units of three-storey semi-detached houses and a three-storey clubhouse.The others include GLM Property Development Sdn Bhd (two blocks of 28-storey condominiums with carparks in Bandar Tanjung Bungah), DMV Sdn Bhd (37 units of three-storey bungalows on Jalan Batu Ferringhi), OJY Sdn Bhd (62 units of three-storey link houses on Jalan Batu Ferringhi), Ivory Meadows Sdn Bhd (a seven-storey block of luxury condominiums on Jalan Batu Ferringhi), Plenitude Heights Sdn Bhd (a 32-storey condominium block, 44 units of three-storey semi-detached homes and a seven-storey clubhouse in Bandar Batu Ferringhi) and Taman Ratu Development Sdn Bhd (45 units of three-storey terrace houses in Tanjung Bungah).“The state government has issued nine stop-work orders since coming to power in March,” Lim said.He said the Penang Island Municipal Council has been instructed to ensure seven key conditions are adhered to by the developers in their weekly reports.Goh said the panel would also make regular site inspections. --- end ---

--- Article Information ---
This article was emailed from Sun2Surf.
Article's URL:

1 comment:

Ong Eu Soon 王佑舜 said...

Penang can not affort a disaster like Highland tower.Lim Guan Eng will be booted out from Penang if it happen. Stop work order and abandoned project are not solution to all the complaints, in fact it will be detrimental to the near by residents in the long run.
What TBRA should do is to pressure the state government to implement best management practices to reduce negative environmental impacts.

The goal of best management practices (BMPs) is to conduct all construction activities in a manner that effectively mitigates accelerated soil erosion, sediment movement and sediment
deposition offsite and also manages construction materials and wastes to prevent or minimize their potential runoff from the site. The BMPs selected shall meet all of the following standards: (The standards are copied from The City of Elko Construction Site Runoff Control Program )

1. Schedule construction activities to minimize the total amount of soil exposed at any given time. Preserve native vegetation to the maximum extent practicable and conduct clearing and grading only in areas necessary for building activities and equipment traffic.

2. Establish temporary or permanent stabilization practices on areas that have been disturbed as soon as practicable and no later than 14 days after construction activity in that portion of the site has temporarily or permanently ceased.

3. Protect slopes susceptible to erosion by tracking up and down slope and installing controls such as terraces, benches, retaining walls, temporary slope drains, fiber rolls, rolled erosion control products, and vegetation.

4. Design and construct all temporary and permanent facilities that convey water around or through disturbed areas with slopes and control measures that limit the flow of water to non-erosive velocities.
5. Protect waterways within and bordering the site by creating vegetative buffers and installing
temporary stream crossings. Protect natural drainages, storm drain channels and storm drain inlets in the vicinity of construction sites from disturbance, sedimentation and deposition of polluting materials such as construction site wastes.
6. Retain sediment caused by accelerated soil erosion from surface water before it leaves the site by installing sediment traps and/or perimeter controls such as temporary diversion dikes,
fiber rolls, or silt fences.
7. Remove sediment accumulated in BMPs within seven days after a runoff event, prior to the next forecasted rain event, or when BMP design capacity has been reduced by 50 percent or more, whichever occurs first.
8. Implement BMPs at construction site entrances and exits to control and minimize sediment deposition on paved roadways.

9. Do not store soil, aggregates, compost, construction materials or wastes on paved roadways.

10. Properly store construction site materials and manage wastes to prevent or minimize contact with storm water and transport offsite. Construction site materials include, but are not
limited to, petroleum products, paints, adhesives, and solvents. Construction site wastes include, but are not limited to, concrete washout, used paint supplies, sanitary waste, excess
construction materials, empty storage containers, and litter.

11. Properly manage vehicle and equipment fueling, maintenance, storage and parking areas to prevent and control leaks and spills. Properly manage the cleaning of vehicles and equipment to prevent the discharge of wash water and pollutants to the storm drain system,
natural drainages or watercourses.
12. Establish permanent stabilization on all bare soils with perennial vegetative cover and/or equivalent permanent stabilization measures upon completion of all site soil disturbing activities. Areas stabilized with vegetative cover must have a minimum density equivalent to 70 percent of the native background vegetative cover.

TBRA should make the following demands:
1)Tthe public display of topographic surveys, soils reports, hydrology reports and geotechnical analyses of affected hillside development.
2)The public display of critical areas identified at on-site areas which are subject to severe erosion, off-site areas which are especially vulnerable to damage from erosion and/or sedimentation, and areas of environmental concern must be identified and receive special attention.
3) Limit Time of Exposure - All land disturbing activity must be planned and conducted to limit exposure to the shortest feasible time.
4) Limit Exposed Areas - All land disturbing activity is to be planned and conducted to minimize the size of the area to be exposed at any one time.
5) Control Surface Water - Surface water runoff originating upgrade of exposed areas must be controlled to reduce erosion and sediment loss during the period of exposure.
6) Control Sedimentation - All land disturbing activity must be planned and conducted so as to prevent off-site sedimentation damage.
7)How Storm Water Runoff is being manage - When the increase in the velocity of storm water runoff resulting from a land disturbing activity is sufficient to cause accelerated erosion of the receiving watercourse, plans must include measures to control the velocity to the point of discharge so as to minimize accelerated erosion of the site and increased sedimentation of the stream.

Only when we force the state government to meet those demands, will the state government realise that it is ill prepared to handle hillside developments.