A masterplan to link George Town’s waterfronts for a pedestrian-friendly city

A general view of the warehouse located adjacent to the Penang Port Commission office at Weld Quay April 1, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A general view of the warehouse located adjacent to the Penang Port Commission office at Weld Quay April 1, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 14 — The city’s north and east seafronts will soon be connected and made accessible to the public under a comprehensive masterplan to rejuvenate the areas.

Restoration works and the seawall expansion have already started for the north seafront stretching from Dewan Sri Pinang down to Fort Cornwallis and the entrance to Swettenham Pier.

Now, George Town Conservation and Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (GTCDC) is working on an east seafront masterplan that will link it to the north.

Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Jeffrey Chew Gim Eam said the east seafront masterplan will encompass Swettenham Pier up to the ferry terminal.

“We want to transform the whole seafront to make it accessible to tourists and the public and we want to connect it with the north seafront,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.

This transformation will include restoring a row of six godowns lining the road between the pier and Tanjung City Marina.

Chew said a request for proposal (RFP) had been called for the godowns last year but PPC was not satisfied with what had been received.

“We want to streamline it and we will be finalising the plans for the site in about two months,” he said.

He added that the godowns are the top priority as they have been left idle for too long.

The godowns, believed to have been built in the early 1900s, will be restored and used in accordance with George Town’s Special Area Plan (SAP).

Chew said all plans for the whole seafront will be in accordance with Unesco heritage guidelines and the SAP.

It is learnt that the east seafront masterplan by GTCDC is aimed at making the whole seafront more pedestrian-friendly with an integrated transportation system.

There are also plans to introduce water taxis along the seafront to connect George Town to areas such as Karpal Singh Drive in Jelutong and Queensbay in Bayan Baru.

Chew confirmed the water taxis, but said these were “far in the future”.

Currently, the north seafront wall is being restored and expanded by about three metres to create a wider space for pedestrians.

The whole north seafront project, also by GTCDC, is aimed at creating and expanding existing public spaces by improving the urban landscape in an effort to uplift the social value and economic impact of the area.

Under the project, Dewan Sri Pinang will be rejuvenated and the whole promenade turned into a green, landscaped public space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Massive restoration work has already started for Fort Cornwallis and the moats around the fort will also be repaired.

Work on the sea wall is expected to be fully completed by 2021 while one side of the moat at the fort will be completed by the end of this year.

The overall moat around the fort is expected to be completed by next year while the existing car park and food court will be shifted to make way for it.

GTCDC is currently undertaking public engagements for the relocation of the food court and the east seafront masterplan.

It will also be conducting feasibility studies and stakeholders’ engagement in preparation for the east seafront masterplan.

GTCDC is a tripartite partnership of the Penang state government’s Chief Minister’s Incorporated (CMI), Think City Sdn Bhd and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

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