Many Penang Global City Centres (PGCC) may come up on Penang island following the raising of density for high-rise buildings, said a former Penang municipal councillor.
Teh Leong Meng, who is a Gerakan leader, said this would result in traffic congestion and transportation woes.
He said the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) had in June 2010 raised the density to enable developers to build 87 units per 0.404ha or 120 units per 0.404ha if the project involves low-cost or low medium-cost units.
Previously, the density was 30 units per 0.404ha.
Teh said the former state administration did not approve the PGCC which was supposed to be built on Penang Turf Club grounds in Batu Gantong due to non-compliance with density requirements.
He said there was a proposal to build 40 blocks, each about 40-storey high at the site. There were also plans to build two five-star hotels.
Teh was one of the three speakers at the forum. The other two were Penang Citizens’ Awareness Chant Group representative Prof Dr Jimmy Lim who is an architect and Yan Lee, a resident of Pykett Avenue.
State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow had said that the density guidelines were still being fine-tuned.
Lim questioned whether an increased in development density would bring any social or environmental benefits to the people.
He added that development should be well thought and planned to complement the cultural norms of the place, lifestyle, tradition, culture, environment, heritage, trees and hills.
“Architecture is all about people. But Penang is fast becoming a messed-up city, with high-rise buildings taking place everywhere,” he said.
Citing an example, he said development could take place in the mould of Shanghai in China.
He said all the old architecture built by Russians, French, Germans and others were left intact and well preserved in Shanghai.
“The Government did not demolish such buildings in the old Shanghai to make way for development. Instead, all the crowded-skyscrapers were built in Pudong new area of Shanghai.
“This shows that the leaders have a vision.
“Similarly, the old city of George Town and its surrounding heritage buildings or bungalows should also be left untouched.
“The state government can have all its tall buildings built in other areas such as Bayan Baru,” he said. - By The Star