The Malaysian Nature Society Supports Plan For Educational Park In Wangsa Maju

Bernama 1 Nov 12;

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has lent support to a proposal by residents of Wangsa Maju Section 10 to oppose new residential development in the area and create an educational park, instead.

In a statement here Thursday, MNS Selangor branch chairman Henry Goh said the park could help children in the area to continue to enjoy fresh air, study the rich bio-diversity in the forest and live a healthier lifestyle.

The Wangsa Maju township, which covers about 400ha, was developed in the early 1980s, from the former Wardieburn Estate in Setapak.

Goh said, little patches of greenery in the Wangsa Maju Section 10 forest were surprisingly rich in biodiversity and should be used for nature-based activities such as trekking, bird-watching and nature photography.

He said MNS had recorded several unusual birds in Wangsa Maju, including the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Forest Wagtail, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and Rufescent Prinia, and they were unlikely to be found if the forest was cleared.

Goh said, open spaces should be conserved as they contained as much natural vegetation as possible, to not only satisfy the need for recreational space but also provide ecosystem services such as moderating the climate, preventing soil erosion and retaining excessive rain water.

"Man-made parks, playgrounds or sports complexes do not give the same benefits," he said.

According to the KL City Plan 2020, only 6.5 per cent of the total land area in the city had been gazetted as "open space", defined as any land reserved as "a public garden, park, sports and recreation ground, pleasure ground, walk or as a public space".

However, Goh said the National Urbanisation Policy had set a target to "provide adequate public open spaces by the adoption of a standard of two hectares per 1,000 urban population".

At present, he said Kuala Lumpur only had 0.36ha per 1,000 people and this compared poorly with cities such as London (4.0ha per 1,000 people), Melbourne (2.0ha) and Toronto (2.0ha).

"In order to attain the targeted 2.0ha per 1,000 people ratio by 2020, the coverage of open spaces will have to be increased from the current 6.5 per cent of the total area of KL to 18 per cent (taking into account the population growth projection for 2020). This target can be achieved if we reserve our remaining green areas as gazetted open spaces," he said.