Buntong State Assemblyman Sivasubramaniam highlighted late October the neglected state of the children’s playground, Taman Persisiran Sungai Kinta, formerly known as Peoples Park, located at Jalan Iskandar Shah (Hugh Low Street) immediately after the bridge.
It was rebuilt and upgraded approximately 4 years ago at a cost of RM4 million through an allocation from the Housing and Local Government Ministry. The upgrade featured beautiful landscaped gardens with flowing ponds, children’s playground and a children’s wading pool built around Muslim arches with water spraying into the wading pool.
Unfortunately just a few years later the park presents a sorrowful picture. The once lovely garden ornaments are either broken or vandalized, the water in the children’s wading pool murky and the ponds dry or if filled with water is breeding a healthy tadpole or mosquito community.
Not many children come to play. Instead, beggars sleep under the several gazebos around the park throughout the day and night.
What was shocking was that 8 manhole covers in the park had been vandalized and not been replaced. Due to the proximity of the park next to the Kinta River each manhole is approximately 10 to 15 feet deep. An accidental fall into a manhole here could be fatal.
The picture of the park was one of total neglect and Assemblyman Sivasubramaniam has questioned MBI about this.
MBI’s Landscape Director Meor Abdullah Zaidi explained that the responsibility to maintain the park was the owner of the food outlet at the park. Due to cost constraints the maintenance was neglected. Although the food outlet agreement expires in December, MBI has taken over the maintenance of the park since September.
MBI Prompt Action
A week later a team from MBI consisting of departments from landscape and valuation and together with welfare department and Councillor Lai Kong Phooi was at the park to assess the situation.
That same morning another work team of MBI workers were seen tidying up the gardens while the missing manhole covers were replaced with temporary wood covers which were nailed down. Unfortunately, still two manholes remained without covers. The water in the children’s wading pool looked clearer.
Councillor Lai assured that the park will be tidied up and identified the areas that needed maintenance to get the park in shape again. The temporary manhole covers will be replaced with concrete covers. Lai also proposed a security fence and flood lights for the park.
Regarding the problem of beggars sleeping at the park, welfare officer Rohana Zubaidah said the problem with the beggars will persist. “We pick them up but once they are released, they return again.”
However Puan Yeoh, headmistress of the school SJK(C) Perak, adjacent to the park, said that the beggar issue must be resolved as the Parent Teachers Association are most concerned about their children’s security. A security guard was hired over a year ago to escort the students coming to the school by bus to the front gate every morning, a walk of 150 metres.
MBI Landscape Director Meor when contacted, clarified that all the remedial work will be completed by March 2010. The initial project was funded by the Federal Government and the allocation “again would be from Federal funds”.
Hopefully once the park is restored to its original beauty or better, it would make Ipohites proud and have them frequenting it more often, and perhaps deter the beggars from claiming it as their own.