TOUTED as the first Urban Archeological Park in country, the Sia Boey Urban Archeological Park has the potential to become more than what it is today.
”It can be a recreational space or even a spot for organising arts and culture events,” state Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said.
Wong (PH – Paya Terubong) responded to a supplementary question by Wong Yuee Harng (PH – Pengkalan Kota) during the Penang Legislative Assembly session today.
The inquiry primarily focused on the park’s functions, although it currently serves mainly as a recreational space for the public.
“In September this year, I inaugurated the Northern Traditional Theater Festival@Georgetown (FTTU 2023) at Urban Archeological Park, hosted by the Penang Island Creative Theater Arts Association (KREATER).
“The event showcased five traditional theatre performances from Penang, Kedah, and Perlis,” stated Wong in his reply.
Highlighting the park’s potential for diverse purposes, especially in promoting arts and culture in Penang, Wong cited examples like hosting the George Town Festival (GTF) programmes at Sia Boey.
Addressing a query about the possibility of using the park’s vicinity for temporary parking until the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project begins, Wong expressed his intent to discuss the matter with the Penang Development Corporation (PDC).
The state and Federal Governments, collectively, have previously proposed for an LRT station in George Town to be built near the Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park.
Separately, Wong disclosed that the Penang government allocates an annual budget of RM527,760 from 2020 to 2023 to PDC for park management.
Additionally, PDC has invested RM29,130,341 since 2019 in various upgrading works at the park. The state government is also in the process of seeking a grant from the Ministry of Economy to fund the construction of a public toilet within the park.
Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix by Alissala Thian and Siew Chia En