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City Hall removes greenery
Published on: Friday, September 16, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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Landscaping staff removing a tyre which had been used as a planter from this drain reserve in Taman Bayumas.
City Hall has removed the greenery which was privately planted on the common land around four neighbourhoods as the rate-payers who did this were failing to tend to their property. 

A spokesman for the agency’s Landscaping Department said several drain reserves in these housing areas had earlier been found to be unkempt.

These observations were made during an “Ops Bersepadu Menangani Wabak Dengue (Joint Operation to Fight Dengue)” carried out by City Hall in July and August, according to him.

“There was concern that the pockets of water trapped between long grass might become a potential breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes,” he said.

“The overgrown trees were getting in the way of our efforts to maintain the drains, including the reserves, properly.”

He said many of those living near these reserves denied that this greenery was theirs. 

“Because of this, four separate teams of our personnel went back to Taman Kemajuan, Taman Nountun Juta, Taman Bayumas and Taman Kuala Manggatal in September. 

“The 32 landscaping staff involved chopped down the fruit trees and uprooted the decorative plants from the common land beside the front yard drains and those at the back.”

He said they also cleaned these structures and cut the grass at the time.

The spokesman said rate-payers, who treated the reserves as their private gardens, were obliged to maintain their greenery.

“They should look after their plants and trees. This means pruning them and making sure that they do become diseased or unsightly.

“In this way, their greenery will not become a public nuisance or danger.”

He said these plant-owners could be instructed to remove their greenery, if they did not abide by City Hall’s conditions. 

“They will be deemed to have encroached onto government land and, therefore, asked to take their plants away.”

JOUYA of Kolombong bemoaned the nuisance created by the overgrown trees on the reserve land behind Lorong Nountun Juta 1.

“They shed leaves in my compound and I am constantly having to clean up this mess,” she said.

“I saw my neighbour watering some of these plants, at one stage, and appealed to her to prune this greenery.”

After several months, when she found that her pleas had fallen on deaf ears, she turned to City Hall for help.

“By this time, the plants had become so unkempt that I feared unscrupulous parties might use them as cover to peep inside my house and stage a break-in.

“Several homes along my housing road have already been burgled over the past few months, so I was understandably concerned.

“I related my misgivings to one of the agency’s staff in January and was assured that action would be taken.”  

She was dismayed to find that her grievance had yet to be addressed when she contacted the agency last month.

Jouya said the situation had become worse in the intervening months. 

“Other parties living in the same area have taken to dumping their garden waste on the reserve.”

She decried the piles of cut branches and overgrown greenery as being a potential fire-hazard.

“The branches of the trees are so long that they are touching the power lines behind my house. If there is a stray spark, a fire might break out. 

“My house and loved ones could be put at risk because of this.” 

The spokesman refuted the complainant’s suggestion about agency’s inaction, saying that LD officers had inspected the reserve between Taman Nountun Juta and Taman Bayumas on multiple occasions since April last year.

“They noted the presence of banana and coconut trees, as well as some foreign objects, in this public space during the first inspection,” he said.

“The greenery and other structures made it difficult for our workers to clear the drains, let alone cut the grass, here.”

He said three notices had been served to rate-payers in this part of Kolombong, so far, asking them to deal with the nuisance created by their greenery. 

The most recent of these documents was issued in July, according to him.

“When our personnel returned after the Joint Operation, they were accompanied by their peers from the Solid Waste Management and Health and Environment Departments.”

“They found that common land had become a mini-jungle, with illegal structures, including water tanks and kitchen fixtures, interspersed among the overgrown greenery.

“Our Building Control Department will be apprised about these goings-on so that these illegal structures can be dealt with accordingly.”

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