Tuesday, June 21, 2011

KK city youths, heritage lovers rally to support the Save Our Heritage Atkinson Clock Tower Campaign

Heritage Sabah is a group opposing the construction of a 16-storey shopping mall in the historic heart of Kota Kinabalu city where the 106 years old Atkinson Clock Tower is located.

Recently, the group received a tremendous boost of support from members of the public urging the relevant authorities to turn the historical site into a public park.

The crowd comprising mainly of Sabahan youths and heritage lovers gathered on Saturday morning, 18th June 2011 at the site of KK city’s 106-year-old wooden clock tower to show their support for heritage conservation and reiterated their call for the scrapping of the controversial 16-storey shopping mall project to be built only 6.3 metres away from the historic clock tower.

Wearing T-shirts ‘SAVE OUR HERITAGE – ATKINSON CLOCK TOWER’ and a large banner with the same slogan, the group and their supporters camped out at the base of the clock tower, took photos to commemorate the event and even shared stories about the history of Kota Kinabalu and the Atkinson Clock Tower.

Heritage Sabah group spokesperson Richard Nelson Sokial who led the campaign said that a majority of Sabahans believe that the matter has been resolved and the clock tower is safe from harm.

“The issue of the 16-storey shopping mall hotel next to the clock tower has been dragged out for such a long time to the point that many Sabahans have been misled into thinking that the Atkinson Clock Tower is now safe. However, it is not. The construction of the shopping mall has only been delayed for a judicial review. The project has not been cancelled yet.”

The 106-year-old Atkinson clock tower built in 1905, was the center of controversy last year when it was exposed through social network Facebook that a ‘silent’ project was being built on the site of KK city’s last green lung and historical site.

The project was revealed to be an enormous 16-storey commercial shopping mall hotel, a joint venture between Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (SHTDA) and developer Benteng Pulangan Sdn. Bhd.

Following the public outrage of the heritage-insensitive and poorly planned development that threatens to destroy the historical value of the entire site, the developer has allegedly shut down its website www.atkinsontower.com, casting doubts on the transparency of approving commercial developments by the Central Board.

A housewife and a social activist have filed for a judicial review of the 16-storey shopping mall project – naming DBKK, SHTDA and Central Board as the parties accountable for the controversial approval of the project.

Meanwhile, the fate of the clock tower and its surrounding green area remains in limbo.

All the best to the Save our Heritage Atkinson Clock Tower campaign.

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