Over the weekend, Penang residents were delighted with the opening of the Gurney Bay project, a park covering 27.70 acres with a range of amenities, including a play area, skate park and retail areas. However, just a couple of days after the opening of the multi-million ringgit park, the public noticed that the facilities were already damaged.
Penang State Legislative Assembly member Lim Guan Eng questioned the damages in a Facebook post. The politician wrote, “Damaged as soon as construction is complete? Not only was the cord on the playground set reportedly broken but the concrete structure was also reportedly cracked during the Phase 1 opening of the Gurney Bay park. Thankfully, the person in charge acted immediately after the complaint, but you have to question the quality of work.”
Lim Guan Eng also lamented that since construction for the park cost RM247 million, the resulting park should be a world-class recreational park instead of one with multiple defects. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow responded to the post, clarifying that construction for the park so far only cost RM58 million for the first phase and added that the construction company is responsible for any damages and defects on the facilities and structures.
However, the response did not sit well with netizens, who believed Chow Kon Yeow did not fully address the issue of the damaged facilities. Many agreed with Lim Guan Eng and lamented that the construction was terrible compared to the allocated budget. While many criticised the construction company for doing a subpar job, a Facebook post from photojournalist David ST Loh implies visitors are also responsible for the damage at the park.
His post shows that children are still playing in the play area despite being closed off with a visible sign and red tape. The parents in the photo also looked unconcerned with their children playing on the closed playground. The post implies that unruly visitors could have misused the facilities and caused it to damage so early into its opening, a case similar to the play area at The Exchange TRX when it opened last November.
Of course, a public space means that every visitor is responsible for taking care and not misusing the facilities provided – but who do you think should shoulder the blame for the damage? Was it the construction company or the visitors?