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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Residents against more commercial buildings

Eyesore: Ara Damansara residents are worried that the proposed developments would end up like this abandoned Platinum Damansara project along PJU1A/3.

MORE talk of hijacked institutional land surfaced during a public hearing at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) headquarters recently.

About 20 Ara Damansara residents attended two back-to-back public hearings to raise their concerns about the proposed development of two projects on PJU 1A/20.

The session was chaired by MBPJ councillor Tiew Way Keng and attended by officers from the engineering and town planning departments.

The same group of residents had earlier attended two briefing sessions by the developers and had raised several issues regarding the projects.

The proposed projects on two adjacent pieces of land were:

— The Villamas project comprising two office blocks of 11 and 13 storeys, one 14-storey service apartment with two storeys of retail podium; and

— The Ara Green wellness and healthcare city comprising six blocks of 15-storey buildings, one block of 12-storey service apartments, one four-storey medical centre and two storeys of retail podium.

Among some of the issues they raised during the first two rounds of dialogues were traffic congestion, safety, risk of abandonment, drainage and risk of flooding.

The residents, led by representative Shawn Chong put up an impressive presentation to back their objection to the projects.

He said residents had obtained the master plan of the Ara Damansara area from the developer of their residential area, which showed that the plots of adjacent land on which the developments would take place was meant for recreation and had been sub-divided and sold without their knowledge.

“The land where the now-abandoned Platinum Damansara project stands was meant for a secondary school and the site of the Taipan 1 commercial area was meant for a primary school,” he added.

StarMetro in June had highlighted a similar case in Bandar Utama, where at least 12 plots of land surrendered to the state for institutional purposes was now being used for commercial buildings.

“We have no schools in Ara Damansara now and we have to drive quite a distance to send our children to school,” said one resident at the hearing.

Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah’s aide Peter Chong, who was also present at the hearings, said the hijacked land was a state government issue and he suggested that residents file a complaint with the Special Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat).

“If they find that there is abuse in the transfer of land, then the matter can be taken to MACC,” he said.

On other matters, residents said there were already many commercial lots in the area that were unoccupied.

They also raised the point that the developer of the first project was not the owner of the land, which made its application invalid.

“Both developments will be tapping into the existing infrastructure such as sewage treatment and water supply, and our developers have told us that the infrastructure that they put in place is only for their own development,” said Shawn.

Residents even created a three-dimensional simulation of how the traffic flow would be along Jalan PJU1A/20 if both of the projects under objection were allowed to be carried out.

Shawn said that many of MBPJ’s proposal to ease traffic congestion in the area had not even been implemented. Among them are:

— Opening of the Jalan Tropicana Link;

— Installing traffic lights at the Jalan PJU 1A/4A and Jalan Subang junction;

— Construction of elevated road crossing NKVE from Ara Damansara onto the Damansara-Puchong Highway;

— Connection of missing links between Jalan Lembah Subang and Jalan PJU 1A/1; and

— Widening of Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang near Subang toll.

Residents were also not satisfied that the first developer had not submitted any traffic study for their development.

“According to the traffic study submitted by the second developer, the traffic condition of Jalan Lapangan Terbang during rush hours was already currently at level F, which is the worst level. What is going to happen once the the few ongoing developments are ready and these two projects are allowed to go ahead?” said resident C.P. Lim.

After the two hearings, another group of Ara Damansara residents attended a third one regarding another development located near the NZX commercial centre, comprising one 28-storey tower, 21 storeys of service apartments and two storeys of retail shops.

Tiew said the applications for the projects would be tabled at the One-Stop Centre committee meeting on Nov 15.

By The Star

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