Saving Bukit Kiara – Here’s TRAKS
Weeks ago the BaikBike team got news of the demolition of Bukit Kiara trails along with the refurbishment of the park, then came along TRAKS, who currently endeavours to stop any further destruction of the mountain bike trails.
Bukit Kiara is one of the most prominent mountain biking spots in Kuala Lumpur, and has also bred many of our prominent biking stars today. Efforts of highlighting the importance of upkeeping the trails are ongoing with much support from TRAKS.
We had a word with the TRAKS committee, and here’s what you need to know.
BB: Who is TRAKS and what is the affinity between this association with Bukit Kiara trails?
TRAKS: Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (TRAKS) as the name suggest is an association set up by trail users to manage and develop trails in KL and Selangor. It was established in 2007 as a medium for trail user’s to voice their concerns in response to the widening of trails in Bukit Kiara by DBKL for the Equestrian Club horses. This is the first major threat to Bukit Kiara trails which saw trail users working together with TRAKS to stop any further destruction of the trails.
From there on TRAKS has continued to play a role in the upkeep of the trails in Bukit Kiara by organizing trail maintenance days and educating users on how to care for the trail. As a sign that TRAKS attention is not only limited to Bukit Kiara, the organization has also worked with local associations in the development of Kota Damansara Community Forest (KDCF) by lending its collective expertise on trail management to expand and manage the trails of the forest reserve.
Since its formation also, TRAKS has been working closely with the local community namely the Friends of Bukit Kiara (FOBK) along with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) to push for the preservation of Bukit Kiara by gazetting it as a permanent green area.
TRAKS: Recently the management of Bukit Kiara has been handed over to the National Landscape Department (JLN) from DBKL. JLN has now embarked on a program to develop Bukit Kiara as a park as how they envisioned it without properly consulting stakeholders namely FOBK, MNS and TRAKS. The two immediate concern to us is the fencing of the boundaries of Bukit Kiara and the construction of access roads to maintain the fence. This project was done in a way that is detrimental to the environment, with the mass cutting of mature trees and haphazard clearing of land which has contributed to land erosion. The work done has also introduced pollutants to the park due to the indiscriminate discarding of construction waste. The design of the park also calls for the paving of a number of existing trails for access to the fence, and also to convert some trails to paved “jogging tracks”. It is the view of TRAKS, FOBK and MNS that the park should be left as it is in its natural form instead of the construction of a concrete park.
Listed are the current issues faced:
- Constraining the movement of wildlife.
- Magic Carpet is inaccessible due to the constructed fence.
- Kampung trail is inaccessible due to the constructed fence.
- Pure Quill trail is destroyed by excavators to haul fencing material.
- IUD has been plowed, presumably so some form of premix road can be constructed.
- Lookout Point has been plowed, presumably so some form of premix road can be built.
Based on JLN’s plans which can be seen here. The following trails and much more will be affected in the near future:
- Carnival will be paved.
- Lungbuster will be paved.
- Twin Peaks will be paved.
- Chunder Junction will be paved.
- Around the Mountain will be paved.
- Shriner’s Convention will be paved.
For those familiar with Bukit Kiara, the Twin Peaks trail serves as the major backbone for the extensive trail network. The indiscriminate paving of this road is nonsensical and points to someone making decisions without having jogged/hiked/biked the trail and experiencing its natural beauty.
The Office/Overtime will make way for a 200 car park area and offices. Considering there is ample parking space at:
- Taman Rimba Kiara
- Taman Lembah Kiara
- Along Jln Changkat Abang Haji Openg
This begs the question as to the necessity of another car park. As no Master Plan is forthcoming from JLN or posted around the park for public viewing, it is difficult for the public to ascertain future plans and their potential trail damage.
Contrary to reporting in the popular media which underplay the situation with descriptions such as “vegetation on the hill has been disturbed” and “there may be some damage to flora”, the current effects seen by walkers, hikers and bikers point to the other extreme. Detailed accounts can be seen in the Malaysian Nature Society Open Letter.
Letters have been written to the following government agencies/personnel by concerned parties:
- Mayor of Kuala Lumpur
- Jabatan Landskap Negara
- Housing and Local Government
- Petition with almost 6,000 signatories has been collected, pending submission
Responses received thus far do not address our immediate concerns and instead seem to have been casually dismissed by the authorities involved.
- Writing to the authorities to voice your concerns.
- Give your support by attending events organized by FOBK, TRAKS and MNS.
- Continue using the trails in a responsible way, and promote its usage to others. By having more people appreciating the trails we will have a larger voice to back up our actions.
We believe a big picture view needs to be taken: this is not about TRAKS. The collective concern is the preservation of Bukit Kiara and the trail network (which is public land, entrusted to JLN for protection and preservation) before it is bulldozed away without a care in the world and against the public’s wishes.