Thursday, March 11, 2010

KL playgrounds and parks in a bad state

Source: (By BAVANI M, 4/3/2010)

KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has come under fire for neglecting parks and playgrounds in the city. Several Kuala Lumpur MPs have been receiving complaints from residents living in their constituencies that the parks and playgrounds in their neighbourhoods have not been maintained for months.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said he had been inundated by e-mail with complaints from residents living in Segambut Garden, Taman Bamboo, Taman Bukit Sri Bintang, Taman Cuepacs and Sri Hartamas. According to him, most of the e-mails said the parks were in a deplorable state.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok also said she had received e-mail from residents in Salak South Garden, Taman Desa and Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park in Jalan Kelang Lama complaining that the grass has not been cut for months.

A resident of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) who wished to remain anonymous said the grass in the park at Jalan Athinahapan 6 had not been cut for a long time. “For as long as I can remember, City Hall has been doing a relatively good job in maintaining the public facilities here in TTDI. “However, no one has been coming to the playground to cut the grass for some months and it is almost knee-high now. “The children’s playground is busy every afternoon and there are concerns on what could be lying in the thick undergrowth. Previously, the contractors could be seen twice a month but now it’s been more than two months since the last visit,” he said. According to him, repeated calls to the DBKL Segambut office in TTDI and two separate calls to DBKL’s new hot-line had not yielded any response. A playground in Sri Hartamas was reported to be in the same state as well and a reader had written to say that the grass had not been cut for the last few months and it was now long and unsightly. “A neighbour had complained to the DBKL on numerous occasions but I have not seen any action being taken,” the reader wrote. “Previously this field was very well maintained but I guess the DBKL has some budget constraints,” the reader who wanted to be known as Low said. A visit to the park in TTDI on Tuesday showed that it was in a deplorable state. The rubbish bins were filled to the brim and garbage could be seen strewn about the ground while the badminton and basketball courts were buried by dry leaves. In Happy Garden in Seputeh, the playground at Jalan Nyaman 10 has become a meeting point for those carrying out unhealthy activities. Someone had left behind empty beer bottles and cigarettes packs on the children’s play apparatus. A similar situation was discovered in the Sri Hartamas park with rubbish scattered all over the place. The deplorable state of the parks has led to speculation on the reasons why City Hall had failed to maintain the public amenities. “I heard that they have not paid their contractors for months and, now, the contractors have refused to maintain the parks,” Teresa said.

Lim, however, alleged that due to budget constraints, the DBKL had decided to maintain the parks on its own and it could not cope with the task. Lim added that the unkempt playgrounds and parks had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “Sri Hartamas has been declared a dengue hotspot and I do not want Desa Hartamas to have the same label later on,” he said.

Meanwhile, a City Hall source denied both the MPs allegations and said that the contracts for park maintenance had expired and the authority was in the process of renewing it. “We are not out of money and we are certainly not doing it (cutting the grass) ourselves,” the source said, adding that the contracts would probably be renewed in April. DBKL’s landscaping and urban cleanliness department spends RM100mil a year to maintain its 14 public parks as well as hundreds of other parks and playgrounds in the federal capital.

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