Gurney Wharf a gift for Penang

Story by Chan Lilian and Danny Ooi

IMAGINE sandy beach with lapping waves and casuarina trees. In place of the mud that one associate with Gurney Drive, a wharf like other cities in the world such as London, San Francisco and Hongkong will be the pride of Penang.

“It is going to be the best in Malaysia. It is a sincere gift to the people of Penang. To be an international city, we must have a similar wharf,” Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said during the launch of the preview of the new seafront park Gurney Wharf in Gurney Plaza on Feb 27. Together with Lim were MP for Bukit Bendera Zairil Khir Johari and exco member for Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Chow Kon Yeow.

“Gurney Drive will be maintained but there will be no more unpleasant sight and smell of the mud anymore. We have bring back the beautiful image of the Gurney Drive of the past and Gurney Wharf will add more features to it. We want the children to be proud because their parents have left them this beautiful gift of a wharf.
“Acknowledging the importance of Gurney Drive and the emotional attachment it brings forth in the hearts and minds of Penangites, the State is proud to propose a masterplan concept to create a new iconic waterfront destination for Penang, for the benefit of the people of Penang, and one that Penangites would be proud to call their own,” said Lim.

Lim commended E&O for the Group’s initiative in engaging award-winning international consultants at its own cost to prepare the proposed masterplan concept. The consultants—GDP Architects for the overall masterplan, Grant Associates for landscaping and Jerde for retail F&B—are highly acclaimed with an impressive portfolio that includes the Aga Khan-award winning Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (GDP), Gardens by the Bay in Singapore (Grant) and Roppongi Hills, Japan (Jerde).

“Drawing inspiration from some of the world’s best public spaces we aspire to create a spacious, multi-functional public park-in-the-city that is international in standard yet one hundred per cent Penang in spirit.”

Chow added that, “In creating this exemplar public park, we are adopting a people-centric approach to ensure that the outcome is more than just a well-designed physical space. It will be where Penangites can fully enjoy the island’s sea frontage, where communities gather for wholesome outdoor activities and most importantly, where pride of place and a sense of belonging is fostered.

The proposed Gurney Wharf concept masterplan encompasses four distinct character areas: Seaside Retail F&B, Water Gardens, Beach and Coastal Grove.

The Seaside Retail F&B celebrates Penang’s vibrant seafront brought to life by elements such as a waterfronting public promenade, seafront dining facilities including the island’s famed hawker fare and a pier walk.
The Water Gardens area will be defined by lush gardens, ponds and wetlands with its most distinctive feature being landscaped water gardens with innovative storm water filtration systems. Modelled after Singapore’s success with this at Gardens on the Bay, this is a pioneering system in Malaysia which is aesthetically outstanding as it is functional.

Chow said with the Beach area, Penangites would gain greater access to the waterfront area that includes a public beach as well as a public promenade. “Penangites will have access to nearly 400 meters of specially-created sandy beach which is literally, a stroll through the park,” he said.

Within the Coastal Grove, Chow said there would be a skate park for teens and youth, not far from the casuarinas lining the present Gurney Drive. Chow added, “The existing casuarinas are a signature of Gurney Drive and will be mindfully preserved.”

Please go to Page 14-16 for the FAQ and more information on this exciting project that will bring even more attraction to Penang.
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