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Residents reprimanded for illegally occupying area outside compounds
Published on: Thursday, September 21, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Residents reprimanded for illegally occupying area outside compounds
Water tanks, building debris and abandoned vehicles were among the objects found to be illegally occupying this verge.
RATEPAYERS in one part of Manggatal have been taken to task for illegally occupying the common area outside their compounds as their belongings are making it difficult for the local authorities to cut the grass and clean the drains on these reserves.

City Hall and the Public Works Department (PWD) personnel confirmed that several homeowners had encroached into the government land around Taman Sepanggar during a check last week.

A spokeswoman for the former agency said two inspectors with its Vector Control Division, and one of its Landscaping officers, joined seven of their peers from the PWD on a walkabout of the section of the neighbourhood which bordered Jalan KKIP B.

The various empty containers above in Taman Sepanggar could very easily become a potential breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes.

“They observed that shelters had been put up on the verge for vehicles which could not fit into the frontyard of many homes,” he said.

“Fences had been set up across some reserves, while the back walls had been extended into others.”

She said objects – like water tanks, empty containers and unwanted building material – had also been left on some road shoulders.

“A curious rectangular structure, with a specially sewn cover, had been laid over a common drain in one instance.”

The spokeswoman said the nine-man inter-agency team also noted the presence of “Roro bins” and abandoned vehicles, including a lorry, along the road.

The spokeswoman explained that the PWD looked after the verge along Jalan KKIP B, including the drains there, as the stretch fell under the Department’s jurisdiction.

The ‘curious’ structure, with a specially sown cover, is seen on one of the common drains.

She said City Hall’s Building Control and Enforcement Departments had since been informed about the illegal structures and vehicles dumped in Taman Sepanggar.

“Our Building Control Department (BCD) was well aware of these irregularities as a separate inspection of the neighbourhood had been made much earlier by its staff.

She said the BCD was gearing up to have notices served to the errant rate-payers. “They will be given a grace-period to vacate the common area near their homes.

“Further action can be taken against them if the encroachment persists after this.” She declined to elaborate on the nature of this action but did not rule out the possibility of City Hall going in to dismantle the illegal structures or confiscate the other objects.

“The homeowners could be billed for any demolition costs incurred in such instances.”

Last week’s check was prompted by feedback from the Kota Kinabalu Health Office (KKHO) about the futility of conducting fogging in Taman Sepanggar when there were so many obstructions in the common areas.

KKHO representatives pointed this out at a recent meeting on the dengue outbreak in the State Capital.

The neighbourhood is among those areas which have been identified as having a high risk for such an outbreak.

KKHO staff said it was very likely that Aedes mosquitoes might begin breeding among the various foreign objects and greenery which many homeowners had planted on the verges there.

A spokesman for City Hall’s Landscaping Department welcomed initiatives by the public to turn drain reserves into private gardens as such efforts made spaces more pleasing to the eye.

“This is permitted so long as the gardeners maintain their greenery regularly,” he said. “Our staff found that this was not being done in one part of Taman Sepanggar.”

He said the overgrown plants were deemed to be a hindrance, when it came to cleaning the common drain at the back of many homes and trimming the grass in this area. 

“Owing to this, our personnel asked the owners to deal with their greenery accordingly.

“They were urged to look after their plants and trees by pruning them and making sure that they did not become diseased or unsightly.

“In this way, this greenery would be less of a public nuisance or danger.”

The spokesman said these ratepayers could be officially instructed to remove their greenery altogether, if they failed to meet the agency’s requirements. 

“If they do not comply, then they will be deemed to have encroached onto government land and, therefore, asked to chop down their greenery from this property.”

“Notices will be issued instructing them to uproot their plants. Further action will be taken against them, if they ignore these instructions.”

He did not rule out the possibility of City Hall uprooting these trees and plants, if their owners failed to do so themselves.

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