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Beach Development Will Drive Tourists Away From Sabah

The Malaysian Nature Society is opposing the proposed Tanjung Aru Beach development which will include 180ha of sea reclamation, calling it unnecessary and an affront to the idea of sustainable development. — File pic credit

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30, 2015: The planned RM1.5 billion development of Tanjung Aru beach under the Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) plan will drive away tourists as Sabah’s main attraction and selling point is its nature, said the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

In expressing its opposition, MNS said the proposed plan that included 299ha and 180ha of sea reclamation was by all means unnecessary and an affront to the idea of sustainable development.

It said that tourists would be put off with the idea of destroying a natural beach, only to replace it with an artificial beach which could be extremely costly to maintain.

“Apart from creating an artificial beach, it includes an 18 hole golf course, a marina for yachts, a channel for small boats, a public wharf and an extensive area for apartments, condominiums, villas, resorts and a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) hotel.

“These features, although good from a development and commercial point of view, is badly planned to be situated at an area that is already ‘eco’ in the truest sense and even more which will take away a much loved public amenity.

“Potential effects and construction phase mitigation on the project will as always, be hypothesised by a DEIA report but the long term drawback will take us years to learn from and experience,” said MNS.

MNS also expressed support for the local campaigners and communities that were calling for public support to shelve this proposal.

Its members in Sabah would commit to take active part in any feedback process and engagements with the authorities for sustainable development and conservation.

Environmental groups such as the SOS-KK (Save Open Space-Kota Kinabalu) had cautioned that the people would lose much public space if the development went ahead, including the Prince Philip Park which was popular for its sunset scene.

They urged that that Tanjung Aru beach be re-zoned as a “landscape and open space for public use” instead of “Hotel and Resort” zoning under the Kota Kinabalu Local Draft Plan 2020.

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