Penang’s Heritage Square – Reclaiming Public Space For Penangites(en/cn)

SPEECH BY RT. HON. TUAN LIM GUAN ENG CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON PENANG HERITAGE SQUARE, KOMTAR PHASE 5, 31st JULY 2012

The Penang State Government and Penang Development Corporation (PDC) are planning to develop Komtar Phase 5, comprising 4.5 acres, into Penang’s new heritage enclave, named Heritage Square. This is in line with George Town’s World Heritage Listing as well as to complement PDC’s revitalisation efforts for

Komtar as the socio-civic centre and business hub of the State. This prime 4.5 acres of land in the heart of George Town will predominantly be public space, as part of giving back to city dwellers.
Heritage Square will comprise 5 major elements:
i. restoration and expansion of “Sia Boey” (Prangin Market);
ii. creation of urban spaces;
iii. creation of a Heritage Celebration Square and an iconic George Town Heritage Centre (GHC);
iv. reinstatement and adaptive reuse of heritage and old shophouses; and
v. restoration of Prangin Canal.

The Heritage Square and Centre will dedicate, consecrate and restore the cultural vibrancy of George Town by promoting the living heritage and street life in the inner city, as well as greening the city, thus ensuring a balanced development for the area.

The project which is at the planning stage, is also aimed at revitalising the Komtar Phase 5 area, and to enhance the heritage value and significance of the site by creating urban spaces and landscapes for healthy urban living.

The components of Penang’s Heritage Square comprise the following:
i) To restore and refurbish the existing “Sia Boey”
(Prangin Market) structure. This will revitalise the “Sia Boey” into a retail and tourist site, comprising among others a visitors’ centre, crafts and souvenir retail areas, flowers and food hubs. To expand the “Sia Boey”, market, PDC will build an additional adjacent market to complement the existing one for the same intended use.

The restoration and revitalisation of the “Sia Boey” is significant to Georgetown, as it marked the core zone boundary of the Georgetown UNESCO Heritage Site;

ii) As George Town requires more public space for recreation, public congregation, celebrations and cultural performances, the urban public space which include same green areas will be to promote the first of its kind in Penang healthy living. The heritage celebration square will also provide a venue for the establishment of culture, arts and traditions in George Town, thus promoting cultural vibrancy and the concept of melting pot of cultures in the inner city;

iii) To refurbish and reinstate the urban setting of the area whereby existing traditional shophouses along Maxwell Road will undergo adaptive reuse into cafes, kopitiams, tea houses, crafts and handicraft centres, mini-museums, boutiques and B&B hotels which are in line with the heritage ambience and theme of the area. To also reinstate urban setting of the area whereby Maxwell Road will now be for limited vehicles usage with emphasis on pedestrianisation;

iv) A 5-storey GHC will be created which will further add to the vibrancy of the Heritage Square. This iconic building will serve as a venue for arts, cultural, heritage, community, youth and performing activities. The GHC will be raised above street level to provide street plazas for the public; and

v) To restore the Prangin Canal with plans for hawkers street food zone and street furniture amidst well-landscaped areas.

The Heritage Square Project will complement the adjacent Komtar building which is presently undergoing a revitalization process initiated by the Penang State Government and PDC which is aimed at bringing back the glory of Komtar, as the nerve centre of Penang.

The Heritage Square is a project not just for the urban community of Penang, but for Penangites and visitors to experience the old-world charm of George Town and its cultural melting pot, is all poised for success. The Penang State Government and PDC which has been the prime mover of urban redevelopment will undertake to work closely with stakeholders and heritage organisations like George Town World Heritage and other NGOs.

In achieving maximum public participation, I have requested that an exhibition be set up in Komtar next week to allow the public to give their views on the proposed Heritage Square so that we can have public input.

The project will also enhance George Town’s position as Malaysia’s most livable city and 8th most livable city in Asia, as well as to reinforce Penang’s position as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tourism hub of the East.

—–Mandarin Version —–
槟州首席部长林冠英于2012年7月31日在光大第五期槟州古迹广场记者会上发表声明:
槟州古迹广场- 归还公共空间给槟城人

槟州政府和槟州发展机构计划发展光大第五期计划的4.5英亩地段,成为槟州新的古迹新景点,名为古迹广场。这是配合乔治市被列为世界文化遗产,也是配合槟州发展机构“复兴光大”成为社会公民及商业中心。这块位于乔治市中心的黄金地段将会成为公共空间,归还给城市居民。

古迹广场包括五大元素:
i. 社尾万山的修复及扩建;
ii. 创造城市空间;
iii. 创造古迹庆典广场及乔治市古迹中心的标志 (GHC);
iv. 古迹及老店屋的修复及重新启用;
v. 港仔墘运河(Prangin Canal)的修复。

古迹广场和中心将会通过活古迹及城市内部的街头生活提供、奉献及恢复乔治市的文化共振氛围,也同时绿化城市、确保本区的平衡发展。

这项工程还在计划阶段,也是为了复兴光大第五期计划,也加强有关地段的古迹价值及重要性,为健康城市生活创造城市空间及园景。

槟州古迹广场包括:
恢复及刷新现有的社尾万山。这将让社尾万山转为零售及旅游景点,包涵旅客中心、手工艺及纪念品特区、花卉及美食中心。在扩建社尾万山方面,槟州发展机构将会在毗邻兴建一个巴刹,以取代现有的结构。

社尾万山的修复及复兴对乔治市的意义重大,它是乔治市联合国科教文组织古迹核心区的边界。
ii) 由于乔治市需要更多公共空间用于休闲、公共聚集处、节庆及文化表演,这个包括绿色空间的城市公共空间也将成为推广槟州健康生活的先河。古迹庆典广场也为乔治市的文化、艺术及传统提供一个地点,推广文化共振及城区作为文化大融炉的概念。
iii) 修复及恢复城区的场景。 位于港仔墘一带的传统店屋将改造为咖啡馆、茶馆、手工艺中心、迷你博物馆、服装店及廉价酒店,与古迹氛围及主题相一致。上述路段也将限制交通工具使用,着重于步行街。
iv) 五层楼的乔治市古迹中心将会为古迹广场注力活动元素。这个标志性建筑物将会成为艺术、文化、古迹、社区、青年及表演活动的场所。上述古迹中心也将提供街头市场给公众;
v) 恢复墘运河为小贩美食区、街头家具及园景区。
古迹广场计划将辅助邻近的光大建筑,州政府与槟州发展机构正在光大区进行光大复兴计划,以恢复光大做为槟州中心点的繁华景色。

古迹广场不只是槟城城市社区的计划,也是槟城人、旅客体验乔治市老城区及文化大融炉的魅力。槟州政府及槟州发展机构一直是城市再发展的主要推手,一直与各位相关组织如乔治市世界遗产及其它非政府组织紧密合作。

在扩大公众参与方面,我也要求当局在下个星期于光大设立展览,让公众就古迹广场提出意见。

这项计划将会加强乔治市做为我国最宜居城市、亚洲最宜居城市第8名、槟州做为联合国科教文组织世界遗产城及东方旅游中心的地位。

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