WWF-Malaysia Concerns Over DBKK’s Zoning for ‘Hotel & Resorts’ in Tanjung Aru Beach

Tanjung Aru Beach

Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) is raising concern about the reclamation area and zoning for ‘Hotel & Resorts’ in Tanjung Aru Beach as shown in the Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu (DBKK) Local Plan 2020.

The zoned area under ‘Hotels & Resorts’ as shown in the draft DBKK Local Plan for the Tanjung Aru beach area covers three areas on water. According to the Local Plan, there are zoned areas of seas which are outside the gazetted boundary.

“Such zoning of the sea areas implies development involving reclamation might be allowed in the seas. WWF-Malaysia believes that coastal reclamation can affect the water table, the ground water, the salt water and freshwater interface, the inshore current systems and coastal morphology, the sea biota, the hydrodynamic of sediment transportation, and changes in oceanography which may have impacts as far out as the islands and reefs in and around Tunku Abdul Rahman Park,” said WWF-Malaysia’s Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.

The Tanjung Aru beach area in Kota Kinabalu is an important green space for the public. 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.

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.

The latest Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) plan shows that the beach is proposed to be widened to at least 50 metres (m) at high tide from the current 9m. According to TAED Executive Director Datuk Victor Paul, the beach has previously lost 60 to 70m to erosion over the past 50 years.

“It would be important to examine the evidence and record of the erosion to date to identify possible causes. If the extent of the erosion in the past is true, how would the developers ensure that erosion will not wash away the reclaimed beach in the future? Another important factor to this development is the sourced sand in the beach and possible impacts it may cause at the sand mining site.” said Dr Sharma.

“Transparency of the development is important to the public. As part of the concerned citizens of Sabah, WWF-Malaysia urges for more public briefings and consultations towards the reclamation area and zoning of Tanjung Aru beach. WWF-Malaysia strongly urges for sustainable development of the Tanjung Aru beach. Let us advocate for sustainable living and live together in harmony with nature.” added Dr Sharma.

Press Release, July 2, 2014; Image: Wikimedia