Concerned citizens and environmentalists from Kota Kinabalu has been campaigning through beach gatherings and a signature drive to appeal to the state government and Kota Kinabalu City Hall to reconsider the recent zoning of Tanjung Aru into a commercial area for hotels and resorts.
In recently released Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) Local Plan 2020, Tanjung Aru beach has been zoned under ‘Hotels & Resorts’. As shown in the draft DBKK Local Plan, the Tanjung Aru beach covers an area size of approximately 700 acres.
The Tanjung Aru beach is the one of the most important green space in Kota Kinabalu and frequented by the locals almost everyday.
According World Wide Fund Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia), public parks and open spaces are vital for the quality of life and public health. Urban green space per capita is an important indicator for a sustainable and liveable city.
According to Papi John, who coordinated the May 25 signature campaign, the upcoming reclamation will pave way for the areas to be zoned for Hotel and Resorts, such as those described in the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) and will eventually constrict public space.
John also said the sprouting of new hotels and resorts through this reclamation will limit public spaces for people to enjoy the beach, citing the case of Sutera Harbour beach, which is not accessible to the general public.
They also feel that moving the proposed development project to Kinarut or Lok Kawi will be a much more ideal plan, as it will create a newer public attraction places, instead of focusing the investment and development on Tanjung Aru beach.
In fact, the committee also said that the development will affect the local traders and hawkers as well as locals whom frequent the beach.
Civil societies against the plan
WWF-Malaysia recognises the necessary right of the public’s enjoyment of the beach. Any development made must not interfere with the existing public access to the beach nor negatively affect the beach.
Public access should be readily available and not be overly burdensome.
WWF also urges more transparency in the development of the project as it is important to the public.
WWF-Malaysia also urged for more public briefings and consultations towards the reclamation area and zoning as well as for sustainable development of Tanjung Aru beach.
Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) described that the second and final Draft Kota Kinabalu Local Plan 2020 as going against the wishes of the people. It also said that, the plan that reduces public space and allows for sea reclamation along Tanjung Aru beach for hotels to be built is totally unacceptable.
Memorandum to the Mayor
Following this initiative, the concerned citizens called upon the Mayor of Kota Kinabalu Datuk Abidin Madingkir to reconsider the recent zoning of Tanjung Aru into a commercial area for hotels and resorts with a counter proposal that the said zone be rezoned into Landscape and Open Space for public use.
John submitted some 1,300 signatures which has been collected during the Big Beach Gathering that was held on 25 May to object the zoning Tanjung Aru beach to Hotel and Resort.
More information available on Save Tanjung Aru Beach