LettersOPINION

First Class Address but Third Class Infrastructure

Time and time again I have read with disdain that our local authorities have not paid heed to the warnings given in the past.

Many people in Ipoh know of Thomson Lane (Lorong Tun Dr Ismail) and Thomson Road (Jalan Tun Dr Ismail) which leads into Lorong Rani and Jalan Hang Tuah. This locality is the Ipoh equivalent of Millionaires Row, and synonymous with what one would consider an affluent residential area. Although residents here may pay the highest quit rent and assessment rates in Ipoh, the infrastructure that they enjoy leaves little to be desired.

Not many know of the flood woes that have plagued residents in this area for years. In 2001, Hew Yew Can, as the State Assemblyman, wrote of how he tackled the flood woes. By 2006, the flooding had reoccurred. The Ipoh City Council, around that time, imposed as a precondition to development that the developer was to build larger drains. And was this diligently implemented? Read on.

For a while all was well; however since then, one only needs to look around the vicinity of this so called first or high class residential area to see that where the density of such areas was once kept to a minimum, today the aim is to maximise profits, and to squeeze as many units onto a piece of land as possible.

Moreover, as if the increase in the density of housing on a particular plot of land was not enough, soon condominiums will be sprouting to dominate that landscape. We already have a parking problem at the Polo Ground which is just off North Thomson Lane, yet seven condominium towers have been approved for development, and are currently under construction. Yes, seven! That will translate into more than 600 new condo units. Bear in mind that Malaysians who can afford to purchase such units will generally have more than one vehicle.

Parking woes for the joggers and those who frequently go to the Polo Ground will arise.

With all these new developments, surely all the rainwater has to go somewhere. With our torrential thunderstorms, the collection and run-off on roofs and into gutters is immense, in a relatively short space of time. The current drainage system simply cannot cope.

Ipoh City Council should not be practising town planning as if they were just joining the dots and connecting new drains to existing ones. This seems to be still happening despite all the warnings that have already been given by myself and others in 2001, 2009, 2013. At this rate, Ipoh will fast lose its charm. A picture speaks a thousand words, they say. Well, you be the judge of that.

Nathan S. Eliatamby

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