Penang's Gurney Drive bund turns brown waters jade green

An artist’s impression of the project along Penang island’s Gurney Drive in Penang, Malaysia.

GEORGE TOWN - People strolling along Gurney Drive are getting a respite from the muddy water that used to come up the shoreline.

A perimeter rock bund of the reclamation work going on off the coast has helped keep the murky water away, providing a jade-green seaview at high tide now.

A spokesman for Tanjung Pinang Development, which is responsible for the 53ha reclamation project, said the bund was almost 2km long.

It is 100m from shore at the nearest point and about 500m away at the furthest.

While the bund is to protect the surrounding sea during the reclamation, it has helped the shoreline.

At low tide now, tidal pools of clear water form, drawing flocks of coastal birds in search of fish.

"The bund is a temporary coastal structure to prevent erosion and keep small particles from dispersing into the sea," explained the spokesman.

She said the bund was a requirement of an environmental impact assessment that was done earlier.

Gurney Drive shoreline in Penang.
Photo: The Star Publication

The area within the bund, she said, would be filled with sand at the end of next month or early December.

This is by far the largest reclamation project in the state and some Penangites have mixed feelings about it.

Penang Citizens Awareness Chant Group lauded the development and looked forward to the 24ha seafront public park, dubbed Gurney Wharf.

Social activist Anil Noel Netto hoped future developments would benefit people at large.

He was speaking at a talk entitled Gurney Drive Past, Present and Future orga­­nised by Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) in a Gurney Drive coffeeshop on Sunday.

Also there was PHT trustee Datuk Anwar Fazal and Malaysian Nature Society adviser Datuk Dr Leong Yueh Kwong.

Gurney Wharf will feature concepts inspired by internationally-acclaimed parks and should be completed in 2020.

Among its attractions will be a waterfront promenade, hawker centre, pier, 400m sandy beach and skate park.