BY Chris Prasad
Every Malaysian, even those with a questionable grasp on history, knows that the legendary birthplace of Kuala Lumpur lies at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers. Unfortunately, most Malaysians are also painfully aware that, despite the historical significance, these water paths (left in their natural state) are not much to look at.
Juxtaposed against the glistening metropolitan skyline we have built for ourselves, the waterways that run through the capital city are perhaps one of its last remaining eyesores.
So, when a plan was hatched to rejuvenate and beautify the rivers along their banks and surrounding areas under the Greater KL plan, it was received with much enthusiasm. However, the endeavour dubbed the “River of Life” project has been slow in the offing and marred by complexities.
Despite being first announced some years ago, the River of Life project struggled to get off the mark as it was bogged down with issues such as land acquisition and conflicts with private land owners.
To be fair, there is some visible evidence of enhancements, especially in the Masjid Jamek/Central Market vicinity, but overall, efforts seem to fall far short of the grand vision that was promised – until recently, that is.
The launch of KL River City project by Ekovest Bhd this week provides KLites with the first genuinely tangible evidence that there are better days ahead for the River of Life endeavour.
The mainboard listed development company announced that the KL River City project not only aims to rejuvenate and transform Northern KL into a world class destination, it will also see the rehabilitation and transformation a 2.2km stretch of Gombak River to provide riverfront lifestyle and serene landscape for the public to enjoy.
The project is positioned within Precinct 1 & 2 of the River of Life plan, which puts it in prime position close to major inner-city hubs such as KL Sentral, KLCC, The Golden Triangle, as well as the upcoming Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia.
In a statement to the press, Ekovest said the master plan framework will redefine Gombak River’s identity and rebuild its redevelopment strategy by transforming it into a vibrant and liveable riverfront – a world class tourist destination in northern Kuala Lumpur.
Upon completion, KL River City shall possess seamless integration with roads and urban public transportation systems DUKE Highway, mass and light rail transit lines and a water taxi system. It will also see the shaping of a serene landscape that houses self-sustaining developments.
Ekovest managing director Datuk Seri Lim Keng Cheng said a key highlights of KL River City is the GREAT System, which is a non-mechanical system that provide flood attenuation by channelling the flood water into a flood tunnel below the city (bypassing the river corridor itself).
“With this system, the upper deck of KL River City will allow water activities on the river bank throughout the year. This GREAT System will also provide an improved flood mitigation system in and around KL city center.”
Explaining further, Lim said the system fully utilises the natural element of the earth and gravity to achieve this.
“Thus, there will be no mechanical system like pumps required, and this reduces the cost and space significantly. Space for various recreational activities such as landscaping, jogging and cycling paths, as well as infrastructures will be sufficient, as the Gombak River will only occupy 10 to 15 metres width,” he said.
“With this, we believe such elements in place will definitely enhance the well-being, environment, and development surrounding the KL River City, elevating Kuala Lumpur’s image as the top 20 most liveable city in the world,” Lim added.
With the implementation of KL River City, the surrounding area covering almost 320 acres holds huge potential for future developments along the Gombak River corridor.
Being one of the many developers active in the area, Ekovest is already heavily invested in the area with projects such as EkoTitiwangsa, EkoRiverCentre, EkoGateway and EkoAvenue. These represent a combined GDV of RM6 billion.
Covering 110km in length, the River of Life endeavour is a 7-year project under the Economic Transformation Programme for Greater KL.