July 26, 2012
Storm over iconic raintrees at Taiping Lake Gardens
TAIPING: A storm is brewing over the iconic raintrees at Taiping Lake Gardens,
with a signature campaign gaining steam against a plan to develop the area.
Although the Taiping Municipal Council said none of the raintrees would be felled,
the public and nature lovers are having none of it.
They fear the construction of several kiosks there would ultimately “threaten” the
trees and harm the tranquil atmosphere at the park, said to be the country's oldest.
About 4,000 signatures have been collected since Sunday. Yesterday, the council
announced that it would put on hold the plan to develop the Jalan Pekeliling stretch.
Chillin’ with nature: A man resting under a raintree at Taiping Lake Gardens. In
the background behind the blue fencing is the hawker stalls project.
Council president Shahrom Datuk Abdul Malek said a final decision on the proposal to
turn the area into a tourist centre would be made after the views of the people and experts had been
Under the RM3.6mil plan, kiosks selling souvenirs and fast food would be built
along a 600m stretch of the road that will be turned into a pedestrian walk.
“We have asked the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority to stop the project
pending a final decision,” he said.
Campaign organiser Teh Kok Lim said the project would mar the scenic view of the
lakes and affect the well-being of the iconic trees.
Taiping Mari! Facebook group administrator Lee Hui Seng said the plans could pave
the way for other entertainment centres in the area.
“Sooner or later, we may have a mini Haadyai at Lake Gardens with Flemington Hotel
as the nucleus,” he commented on the group's page.
Another user Kent Chin said cleanliness at the lake was already bad “and having
kiosks there would only make it worse”.
Taiping-born Alven Loh took things further by organising his own online petition
to protect the raintrees, collecting 650 signatures as at 11am yesterday.
Blogger N.K. Khoo said the picturesque scenery of the lake would be spoilt by the
presence of hawker stalls.
Meanwhile, Perak Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Hamidah Osman expressed surprise
over the proposed project.
“The matter was never brought up to the state executive council. I do not have any
idea of such plans and their details.
“The lake gardens has its own unique identity and must be protected,” said
A check by The Star found that the proposed project site had been fenced up while
the lakes located across the area appeared to be drying up due to the ongoing drought.
Taiping Lake Gardens was officially opened to the public by Perak's then British
Resident Frank Swettenham on Nov 17, 1893.
Source: The Star