Seberang Perai aims to become 20-minute city as council renews MoU with Think City

Seberang Perai Mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud speaks to reporters during a press conference at Komtar October 17, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Seberang Perai Mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud speaks to reporters during a press conference at Komtar October 17, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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SEBERANG PERAI, Oct 14 — Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) aims to create a 20-minute city using public realm urban design guidelines (UDG) under its Butterworth Baharu project, a collaborative effort with Think City Sdn Bhd.

MBSP Mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said the UDG 20-minute city initiative will connect seven neighbourhoods in Seberang Perai either through cycling, walking or public transport where residents only take 20 minutes to access public amenities such as schools, hospitals and recreational spots.

“Once we create 20-minute links between these neighbourhoods, we can then work on 20-minute intercity links so that one day, the whole of Seberang Perai will be a 20-minute city,” he said at the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Think City today.

Rozali said the collaborative Butterworth Baharu programme with Think City started in 2016 where a total of 22 public realms and 28 public art spaces were created and 159 spaces were activated.

He said the programme was to rejuvenate Butterworth and enliven the old city.

“Among the projects introduced under the programme included the Butterworth Fringe Festival which was held annually since 2015, the creation of a pocket park in Lebuh Benggali and rain garden in Jalan Jeti Lama in 2017 and the upgrading of the Pangsapuri Ria swimming pool which was opened to public,” he said.

He said MBSP had funded RM80,000 for the swimming pool upgrading work, while Think City funded RM100,000.

The Butterworth Digital Library, which is free for residents to use, was also set up with a RM6.2 million funding from the state government while public art spaces were also introduced including the Butterworth Art Walk.

“The MARA Bazaar which was abandoned and dilapidated was also refurbished by MARA and Think City at a cost of RM2.5 million and now it is back in operations with businesses and food outlets,” he said.

He said the renewal of the MoU with Think City for another five years till 2026 will see more projects being introduced in collaboration with Think City.

“Six projects are in the plans such as the UDG for a 20-minute city, a new concept plan for Taman Pantai in Butterworth and programmes for the Perai River,” he said.

He said the old Jalan Jeti Lama public market will be upgraded at a cost of RM4 million which will be fully funded by MBSP.

“We have set aside the budget for 2022 and we will be calling for tender by December this year,” he said.

He said more pocket parks will also be created, while the rain garden and Butterworth Art Walk will be expanded under the new MoU with Think City.

“Another initiative under the 20-minute city project, which will start in January 2022 is The Light Cendana project,” he said.

Rozali said the The Light Cendana project is an extension of the Art in The City programme where several cities in the country have been selected to participate.

The Light Cendana project is a public art and performance project meant to rejuvenate the selected cities throughout the country with the setting up of temporary lights for performances and art events.

The cities involved are Kuala Lumpur, Batu Pahat, Melaka, Ipoh, Butterworth and Kuching.

“Another major project that will be implemented in Butterworth is the Penang Bay project that involves the coast of George Town on the island and the coast of Butterworth on the mainland,” he said.

He said the Penang Bay concept is to bring both the island and mainland together in a joint development that makes full use of existing lands while rejuvenating the cities.

“I hope the Penang Bay project will take into account current issues such as the need for digital development and low carbon development for sustainability,” he said.

He hoped stakeholders and more private companies will participate in the Butterworth Baharu programme as community involvement is crucial in making it a success.

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