More than 1,000 people gathered to support Save Bukit Kiara Awareness Walk.
Everyone have the same thing in mind. To voice out to the relevant authorities...Gazette Bukit Kiara!
Monday July 16, 2012
Nature lovers do their bit for Bukit Kiara
By VIJENTHI NAIR
KUALA LUMPUR: Nature lovers walked the talk by turning up in large numbers at Bukit Kiara to call for the green lung to be gazetted.
Signatures were also collected for a petition during the one hour walk organised by the Friends of Bukit Kiara at 8am yesterday.
The petition, among others, wants a stop to all construction work at Bukit Kiara. It will be submitted to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.
The construction, which is still ongoing, caused an estimated 3,000 mature trees to be felled, trails to be damaged and has affected water quality in the area.
Selangor Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) chairman Henry Goh said the gazetting was promised by the Federal Territories Ministry back in 2006 and is still pending.
“There is a proposal to construct arboretums, buildings and cement lanes, as well as shop lots and a food court within the forest.
“We are not against development but it should not be done at the expense of nature,” said Goh, who took part in the walk.
Others included MNS president Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed, Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (Traks) president Scott Roberts, Global Environmental Centre (GEC) River Care Programme coordinator Dr K. Kalithasan, The Star group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.
Chor had earlier explained that clearing work being done at Bukit Kiara was to ensure it stays a green lung reserve.
He said the security fencing was built by the Landscape Department to protect the park from illegal encroachment.
He was also quoted as saying the paths were cleared to bring the equipment and material for the fencing. However, some residents had expressed concern that the clearing work was a prelude to commercial development.
Monday July 16, 2012
Construction works in Bukit Kiara causing much damage to the hill
By VIJENTHI NAIR
Photos By RAYMOND OOI
IT WAS not just another walk in the park.
More than 1,000 people turned up to join a peaceful awareness walk at Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur yesterday wearing custom-made “Save Bukit Kiara” T-shirt in a silent protest against the current developments on the Kiara hill.
Bukit Kiara has been subjected to a certain degree of damage with the construction of a 3.5m high fence along a 4.7km stretch by the National Landscape Department (JLN).
The construction has upset many Bukit Kiara visitors and environmentalists.
The construction, which is still going on, has resulted in around 3,000 matured trees felled and some trails damaged, among others.
The massive earthworks have also affected the pristine water body in the heart of the hill and all the points downstream.
During the walk, a sizeable number of participants also took onto the trails themselves, coming up from the pond at the Lembah Kiara Park on a trail called Park Connector to join the walk, while others were led onto Magic Carpet and 2K, so they got a feel of the two popular trails in Bukit Kiara.
Mountain bikers, some from as far as Singapore, also turned up to show their support to save the trails, which are known to be among the best mountain biking trails in Asia.
Signatures were also collected to submit a petition to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, demanding a stop to all construction works, requesting frequent dialogues with the stakeholders and the complete gazettement of the hill as a permanent forest reserve by the end of the year.
So far, more than 10,000 signatures have been collected.
“The hills are our treasure and heritage.
“There is a great need for the authorities to convince the Friends of Bukit Kiara that the hill will remain as it is. We will remain vigilant in highlighting the cause to protect Bukit Kiara just as The Star is passionate about saving the hills of Penang,” said Wong, who was joined by his colleagues from the StarMetro desk.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Friends of Bukit Kiara, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents Association and Global Environment Centre have been trying to save and preserve the park in the most natural way possible.
Spotted among the many mountain bikers was Singaporean Eric Tan who travelled more than 400km just to show his support.
“I have been cycling for about 10 years and frequent the trails in Singapore and Johor but not one is even close to what Bukit Kiara has to offer.
“My Singaporean friends who tried the trails had nothing but rave reviews for it. True enough, I really love it. The challenging trail is one of the best I have ever experienced. I only started cycling in Bukit Kiara early this year, but I have been coming here ever since.
“I am sure Bukit Kiara also attracts many mountain bikers from the region, like me. It is a shame if such beautiful trails, maintained well by the public voluntarily is lost because of development. For example, Bukit Timah in Singapore has lost its green appeal after condominiums were built in the vicinity. Instead of lush greenery, you are greeted by concrete buildings.
“Bukit Kiara is a beauty and I really hope the trails are preserved in its natural state for the younger generation,” he said.
Mountain bikers from Pedalholics Cycling Club were also spotted among the crowd.
One of its members, Peter Choong, said the trails were a favourite among the mountain bikers and during the group’s fortnightly rides, they have been witnessing damage to the trails.
“Volunteers and mountain bikers have painstakingly cleared and maintained these trails over the years and for it to be damaged in just months, is unacceptable. The trails leading to Desa Sri Hartamas side are badly damaged.
“We are here to show our support. Bukit Kiara attracts plenty of expatriates too, so by encouraging this kind of violation of the park, we don’t look good to the rest of the world,” said Choong.
Spotted during the walk was expatriate Michael Wilson from New Zealand, who carried his young son Matai on his shoulders, during the the walk.
Wilson, who operates a cafe and lives in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, said the hill was being destroyed in the name of development.
“My wife is Malaysian and I have got everything going on for me right here. My business is doing well and I live in a lovely neighbourhood, which is close to the beautiful park,” he said.
His friend Paul Wellington from United Kingdom, who has been in Malaysia for eight years, also brought along his son named Sol.
A frequent park-goer who only wanted to be known as Tan was exercising with her husband before the journey up the hill.
Tan said that looking at what was happening to the hill, she felt that the authorities did not place much importance on conserving nature and the public’s needs.
“My husband and I have been using the park for the last 10 years.
“The Government has been encouraging Malaysians to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Bukit Kiara is a great place for outdoor activities. The Government should in fact create more recreational parks to encourage people to be active,” she said.
“The park is used by many people every day. In the past we have heard of many empty promises of preserving green lungs and fields in other areas, only for it to be taken away for development later.
“If the park is going to be preserved as a green lung, there should be no delay in the gazettement,” she said.