Shantung erosion fears: City Hall monitoring
Published on: Wednesday, May 11, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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City Hall officers check on the drainage servicing the construction site together with the developer’s staff.
CITY HALL is monitoring the goings-on along Jalan Shantung, where some condominiums are coming up, to ensure that the hillside does not destabilise due to the ongoing development.

A spokesman for the agency’s Engineering Department said the construction site, and slopes nearby, was most recently inspected just before the Hari Raya public holidays at end of April.

“This is one of several checks which we have made since the beginning of the year,” he said.

SESB officers and the developer’s staff check on the condition of the soil around the hillside which was cleared.

“Our officers have been focused on verifying that City Hall’s requirements, especially those relating to drainage, are being met in each of these instances.” 

He said the developer was taking steps to ensure that rainwater did not pool at the base of an incline where the land had been cleared, during a downpour.

“The mitigation effort is meant to reduce the likelihood of the runoff displacing the exposed earth on the hill, thereby pre-empting the incidence of landslides.”

This action was prompted by a Penampang road-user’s observations that the land at the bottom of the slope had a tendency to become “swampy” after the trees and grass had been removed.

A Penampang motorist fears that this monopole might collapse if the erosion on this slope goes unchecked.

The motorist feared that the potential erosion might cause the electrical and telecommunications installations on the incline to topple over.

He related these misgivings in writing to City Hall, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and Telekom Malaysia ™ Bhd three months ago. 

So far, however, he has yet to receive an official response from any of these parties. The individual provided Hotline with a copy of this correspondence.

A spokesman for the developer confirmed the presence of a monopole at the section of the hillside which had been reclaimed.

“The land was cleared so that the road could be widened and to allow a SESB manhole to be installed,” he said. 

He said the company’s main contractor and a representative from its consultant – together with SESB officers – checked on the slope, shortly after becoming aware of the driver’s concerns.

“Following this inspection, it was agreed that the main contractor would continue to cover the exposed earth with some canvas.

“SESB also asked him to build an earth drain around the monopole to prevent water from ponding around this installation.”

He refuted the suggestion that the run off collecting at the lower part of Jalan Shantung, where the monopole was located, was due to improper drainage design on the developer’s part.

“This is happening because the existing drain is clogged with overgrown grass and weeds.

He said this structure had been built well before the company even began constructing the condominiums.

“The performance and efficiency of the earth drain has been compromised due to its lack of maintenance.”

The company had offered to mitigate this problem by unclogging the existing drain and constructing a new one, according to him.

He said the latter would be put in place on one side of a road in the vicinity.

TM has since cleared the creepers which have formed around some of its installation along Jalan Shangtung.

“It will facilitate the present drainage by capturing and channelling the runoff to the reinforced concrete drain nearby.”

KOO of Penampang was under the impression that the “gigantic, high voltage electricity pole” might collapse at any time, endangering road users, if the erosion on the hillside went unchecked.

He said he had noticed rainwater collecting at the base of the slope, on which the pole was erected, since January.

“The trees and bushes on the land were cleared around this time,” he said.

He said the electricity pole had never been a cause for concern until the land was reclaimed.

“Soil erosion is a process which takes place over time and can lead to many unwanted effects to the environment.” 

Koo admitted that it might be extremely difficult to relocate the huge, high tension pole.

However, this did not hold true when it came to the many leaning telephone poles around this structure, according to him.

He took aim at TM for failing to maintain its installations and allowing these poles to “trespass into the air space of residential properties” in the area.

“TM contractors fail to provide long-term solutions to this problem as the poles they deal with do not remain upright for long. This is extremely irresponsible.

“These structures tend to begin bending over months, if not weeks, afterwards. 

“The telephone wires droop within arms’ reach, as a result. Sometimes, they are so low that even children can touch them.”  

A TM spokesman said the firm’s staff did not find any telephone poles at the section of Jalan Shantung, which had been cleared, when they went to the area.

“Our personnel only found an SESB monopole on this slope,” he said.

“They noted, however, that some of our installations along the stretch were overgrown with creepers.

“Action was taken to remove this unwanted greenery after these findings came to light.”

On the suggestion that the low-hanging wires posed an electrocution hazard, the spokesman said there was no danger of this happening.

“There is no live current running through our service lines.  Nevertheless, our staff will be sent to check on the telephone poles at the neighbourhoods in the area.

“We will arrange to have any wires, which are hanging down, properly secured so that they don’t get in anyone’s way.”

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