Sunday, February 08, 2009

The period of CHANGE - Make a date on February 14

Dear TBRA members,
We hope you all enjoyed the Chinese New Year festivities with your family, friends and neighbours. This is indeed a period of change, and one of the changes is "CLIMATE CHANGE".
How does climate change affect us? In many ways.... one of the most obvious for us is that more landslides and flooding will occur due to heavier and longer periods of rainfall. While there is little we can do now to reverse this climate change due to more carbon emissions, we should at least avoid disturbing hill-slopes and hill-cutting.

Even before the horrific landslide in Taman Antarabangsa, the residents of Chee Seng Gardens in Tanjong Bunga confronted the developers of a hillside construction project about an "accident waiting to happen". A stop-work order was slapped on the construction site by MPPP demanding that more retention ponds be built to avoid the floods that had frightened residents.

After 2 weeks, such stop-work orders are lifted once the developers have complied. But the steep hillside (over 35 degrees) still has plenty of dangers: huge boulders need to be blasted, erosion is on-going and the walls between the neighbouring condos are far too thin to provide any real protection against landslides. More letters and meetings with local authorities took place.

But the blasting and digging goes on. After several joint meetings of the condo residents associations, and the Chee Seng residents, supported by TBRA, the groups have now decided to launch a massive but peaceful no-confidence protest.

We call it a Tea Party and it will take place on:

14 Febr 2009 (YES, on Valentine’s Day)
from 4 to 5 pm
at the top of Jalan Chan Siew Teong
in Chee Seng Gardens *

We need you to be there in solidarity.
Only if hundreds of residents turn up, will the authorities pay attention.

This is no longer a local issue, it is an opportunity to tell the new Penang government that the residents are fed up with dangerous hill slope development, that Tanjong Bunga has had enough high rises, enough deforestation, enough erosion. We don't want any new construction on Class III (25-35 degrees) and Class IV (above 35 degrees) slopes.

A meeting was held with the Chief Minister on 21 December and he seemed to agree with the demands of the protesters but was hiding behind the decisions of the Old government and the fear to be sued. Unless we show him that we mean business, matters can comfortably slip back into the State and the MPPP closing their eyes and allowing developers to carry on.

We want commitments in writing, we want a clear ban on Class III & IV hill slopes, we want existing developments to stop unless they are proven safe (by independent engineers) and there is real assurance that safety of exposed slopes is monitored by a competent hill slope committee also after the projects are finished.

So come join us at this Tea Party with banners and posters, with tea kettles (or old pots and pans) and bring wooden spoons…. (Why? You’ll see !)

Sign the petition ! and let the few remaining unspoilt hills be your Valentines for an hour on that day.

* Enter Chee Seng from Tanjong Bunga village and drive uphill or take the road leading up opposite the floating Mosque. All the way up. Come in jogging gear. There is plenty of parking space.

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