For the past five years or so, Kinta Riverfront Walk was the new tourist icon of Ipoh. The multi coloured neon trees and beautiful surroundings make this a perfect place to enjoy late evening walks. When relatives and friends come from outstation, I drive along the road for them to see the lighted trees.
A few months ago when I took a friend from KL to visit the place, it was dark and the trees were not lighted. Except for two stalls on either side of the river, the rest were closed.
When I called Mac Loh, Marcom Manager, Kinta Riverfront Hotel, he informed me that after implementation of GST, the stall owners said they could not continue their business and vacated the place. However, he said that Tourism Perak and Majlis Belia Perak have agreed to operate the shops.
I met Mac and told him that the trees must be lighted even if the stalls are closed. He agreed and the trees are now lighted. He informed that Tourism Perak would be opening the stalls on May 4 and invited me. On the said date, only Mac and I were there. No one from Tourism Perak turned up.
Zara binti Zokronain, Assistant Officer in Tourism Perak who is responsible for revival of Kinta Riverfront Walk, informed that the stalls would be opened on August 3, but the stalls are still not opened. Zara informed that they are waiting for the Menteri Besar to give a date to launch the stalls.
Zara added that PORT (People Of Remarkable Talent) which is located along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah would perform their cultural programmes at Riverfront. This place is next to a housing estate and not suitable for live band performance which is too loud.
The place is to be renamed Tourism Riverside and there is a small arch with this name. The current name is popular and established. Why must the name be changed?
When I spoke to Aswannudin bin Harifudin, Vice President, Majlis Belia Perak, he informed they are planning to open a food street and the stalls would be operated by youths.
It is important that the food served should be representative of the famous food available in Ipoh. Travel portal Lonely Planet has listed touge chicken, tau foo fa and white coffee as famous in Ipoh. Tourists would be looking for these at the food street. The stalls need to cater for a mixed crowd.
When the place is revived, Tourism Perak and Majlis Belia Perak has to ensure that the place truly represents Ipoh especially to foreign tourists.
Riverfront Hotel is operating an outlet renting out bicycles which is popular. Pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists and cars are using the same roads. This is not safe. There needs to be a dedicated route for the bicycles. I saw a cyclist cycling against the flow of traffic along Jalan Lim Bo Seng which is dangerous.
The building of the Tin Museum which is operated by the hotel is locked. Most of the heavy equipment are kept outside without any description. The life-size tin mining palong constructed at a cost of RM500,000 needs maintenance; weeds are growing. There is stagnant water which would be breeding ground for mosquitos. A TV showing a documentary on the mining industry could be installed.
On a late Sunday evening I went to take photos and there were many visitors mostly the younger generation. The majority of them were glued to their phones.
Next year is Visit Perak Year and the tourist places must be ready to attract tourists as well as Ipohites.