On the morning of March 17, 2013, group of concerned residents and Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) gathered outside Wisma Bakti as early as 7.30am to sign petitions against more development in the vicinity of Bukit Kiara. More specifically, there main reason was to garner support from everyone presence. There has been a lot of things that happened at Bukit Kiara. From the erection of haphazardly built mile-high fencing (to so-call demarcate property lines) to blatant cutting of existing trees (to plant non-ingenious trees) and even building more buildings under the pretext of “development”.
Those staying along Jalan Haji Abang Openg would know the amount of land clearing and construction work that has done right outside their home.
If you want to know more about what Berjaya Corporation Berhad is planning to do to part of Bukit Kiara that they “owned”… read this : Letter to Mr. Prime Minister
If you are too lazy to click on the link above, this is what Berjaya plans to do:
And where will this be situated? It will be right at the foothill of Bukit Kiara. Here, look at the existing condition… that is (still) green.
Existing green lung stretching from Wisma Bakti to Water Tank near Guardhouse
Now, the “Masterplan”. Note that “pink” squares denote, yes, buildings. Whatever they are there for, only Berjaya knows.
Residents along Jalan Haji Abang Openg already witness the land-clearing next to WIM and Wisma Bakti. The Spastics building is brand new. More to come soon if this doesn’t stop.
Many people that came this morning was not aware of the gathering. Some were downright pissed as the participants blocked their road to drive up to the guardhouse to park. Little did they know that if this development happen, they can kiss Bukit Kiara goodbye.
Volunteers limiting traffic to enter the road leading up to Bukit Kiara. The car owner (nice car) decided to pick a verbal fight with Col (R) Lai. Such ungentlemanly behaviour and these are the same people that has given DBKL JUSTIFICATION to building a 3-storey carpark to “cater for public”
The crowd started trickling in at 8am and a lot of them were seen buying the “Save Bukit Kiara” T-shirt for RM12. Only size L, XL and XXL were available. These were the balance of the T-shirts that were printed back in first walk last year. The charges were to cover the printing and T-shirt costs. All collection goes to the cause to “Save Bukit Kiara”.
I estimated about 2,000 people (estimated from the signed petition) showed up to support the cause. Those that showed up were there to help champion the cause - for each value what the future will hold for Bukit Kiara. Most, if not all, were aware on how Bukit Gasing has been raped (and still in the process of stripping off the greens at some portion) and the destruction that has been brought forth by greedy developers. Do we want to see this happening in Bukit Kiara?
The decision by High Court that has favoured Berjaya (wow! Rejoice!)
What they planned to do…like, seriously.
Today’s attendance at about 200 people (on my estimates) is a small number. I am not going to inflate it as it was what it was. I sure hope the number were small because the others that were aware of this had some more important errands to run and were there in spirit with the rest of us.
More behind me as they geared up for the walk
A big crowd were seen signing the petition to stop Berjaya Corporation Berhad from proceeding with their plans above. One thing i find a bit nauseating was that they also plan to “create private entrance to Kiara Trails!”.
Support by signing the petition
I was there, together with my friends and the general public to walk the short 1km uphill to show support against anymore development in Bukit Kiara. The government has promised to gazette Bukit Kiara as a Green Lung, but all we had seen were nothing and it was disappointing. Land clearing up certain trails to accommodate heavy machines has left the beautiful trails in disdain. With rain and thunderstorm happening every now and then, it is matter of time before more slopes are compromised due to the missing “natural soil anchors” aka roots that held the slopes together.
A safety briefing before the walk commence
Indeed, with the planned development that will encroach up to midway point (from the lower guardhouse), Bukit Kiara will lose at least 30% of it’s world class trails and greeneries. Why replace the nature with buildings that are “ecologically” friendly? While the idea is good, we all know that enforcement of “green building” and constructions in Malaysia are near to nil - unless some mishaps happen.
“Save Bukit Kiara” Walk against Bejaya development, March 17th 2013 @ Bukit Kiara - Pic by Phil Bee
You were a lot yesterday, thank you very much!
A lot to express your concern and opposition to seeing Berjaya developing what is the last green lung in Kuala Lumpur, with such a biodiversity (monkeys, snakes, birds, walkers, MTB riders, hikers).
No clue where to post your pictures? Here are a few suggestions:
- Berjaya Hotels & Resorts Facebook Page
- Berjaya Times Square Group Facebook Page
- “Malaysia Truly Asia” Facebook Page
- Tourism Malaysia Facebook Page
You gotta tell ‘em that they can’t live on promoting Malaysian wonders - pristine beaches, blue sea, fantastic resorts throughout the Berjaya Hotels and Resorts network - and destroy Bukit Kiara at the same time !
For those attending the ‘Save Kiara Walk’ on Sunday, 17th March, a few suggestions and logistical considerations:
Please park at:
If a member of the press asks you a question with regards to the walk, please don’t swat them away like flies.
For starters, you can say that the Landscape Department should stop pussyfooting around with the land gazette and that you are strongly opposed to development works anywhere around the vicinity of Bukit Kiara.
Lastly, please do not litter, it reflects badly on us all, better still, pick up one piece of trash and dump it in the waste bin. Last we checked, it is unlikely you will contract a fatal disease.
As you might be aware - oh no, you’re not? You’ve been living in a cave these past months or what - TRAKS is to become an official organization soon, as in”.org.my”, see?
Yep, a real one, not only a bunch of bizarre friends who gather secretly with parang and changkul for digging mountain bike tracks in the deep jungle of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor…
Registration as an official organization will give TRAKS more visibility and credibility when talking to Officials and third-parties. Hopefully.
So far here are the members who stepped up as volunteers for being line up as Committee members:
Kudos and thank you!
But we are still short of 2 Committee members, so we are calling today every Malaysian Nationals who feel concerned about preserving our trails - hikers, runners, Hashers, Bashers, bikers, whoever(s) - to volunteer! Your help would be much appreciated.
Raise your voice and join!
As of today, 15 February 2013, TRAKS is now an officially recognized club/ affiliate of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
While we have been in touch with them over the years, we will be working more closely with them to put an international spot-light on our efforts in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to preserve the environment, build more sustainable trails and educate both the people and contractors in how to build/ maintain sustainable trails.
For those of you who are unaware, IMBA has been successful in championing efforts in Australia and Hong Kong, and are starting their foray into Singapore. We hope that we can parallel those successful endeavors on our shores.
Thanks to the support from IMBA, our fellow riders in the KLMBH and members of TRAKS.
(Photo credits to Pat Brunsdon, Phillip Bee and Laurent Ane)
Sure, we have some really cool sounding names for the trails around Bukit Kiara. Too cool in fact, you might ask? All the trails earned their respective names for a good reason, take for example “Pure Quill” was named when the trail builder(s) in the form of Tony Stapleton (and company) spotted a porcupine nearby while building the trail. Yes a porcupine, who would’ve expected to see such creatures in our own backyard? The “2K” trail was named that because, well, it was originally 2kms in distance when it was first built!! Now as for trails such as “Boner” and “Clenched Sphincter”, let’s just leave it at that…
Do you know why “Wasteland” was named as such? Take a short walk with me down (an equally short) memory lane, and have a look at these:
Get the idea yet? A lot of the dead twigs sticking out of the ground in the photos above used to be the top branches of trees, just to give you an idea of how deep the valley used to be!
In 2009, when the developers started leveling the hill to build the new bungalows that now overlook Sri Hartamas, they needed to build an access road to go up the hill in order to cut it. What do they do with the excess soil? It all got conveniently dumped over the side. And I mean ALL of it. Right beneath it lays “Boulder”, which was the link between “Plan C” to “Upper Short”, and even though it was easily a 10-15 foot drop, it was completely blotted out of memory. And it didn’t stop there. The valley that lay below Boulder got completely filled up as well. This resulted in the end (or start, depending on which side you rode in from) of “Bar-A-Kuda” getting cut off as well, effectively severing 2 main trails that provided access from the Sri Hartamas side into TTDI.
And so the Penghulu jumped into action, looking for a way to reconnect the trails. First was a gallant but alas futile attempt to connect the end of “Bar-A-Kuda” directly to the broken tarmac section just below the new bungalows, but that ended up being named “Slide Zone” for a good reason. The soil took very long to settle, and was perpetually shifting, hence the Penghulu was forced to focus his efforts further down the valley, or “Wasteland” as we know it today.
The only obstacle in between the valley was a small stream crossing, which meant a bridge was needed to span across the 2 banks. This resulted in the birth of ‘Bridge V1.0’ (which was really a skinny!!).
In the following months to come, the skinny started to rot, as any normal untreated wood would in our extremely ‘mild’ weather conditions. This brought about the need for a replacement bridge. By now, the TnT fund was starting to kick off, and there was enough money to allow our Penghulu to utilize it to construct a proper bridge with good, local hard wood. Thus, ‘Bridge V2.0’ was born.
Of course, in between the years till today, the supporting columns which had been hand built with rocks and clay (all natural resources that Mother Nature has provided), had started to fall apart from heavy rains and strong river currents, and we’ve had to rebuilt/reinforce them at least a couple of times now.
Amazingly though, it is still the same wooden bridge you see on “Wasteland” today, and it was only the supporting columns and the banks that have needed some TLC, as was evident in the recent bout of wet weather.
The recent ‘mini trail day’ in early Feb 2013 was an impromptu call to get a small group to focus on rebuilding the support columns, with excellent results.
So there you have it, the beauty and history of “Wasteland” in a nutshell. What was very evident in the photos is the amount of erosion that has taken place over the years. I did not think much of it until Phil Bee pointed it out when he re-shared these old photos with some of us again.
The work crew from 2009 with the then completed skinny
The work crew from 2013, note the amount of erosion that has gone on underneath the bridge!
The main culprit is the stream that wends its way under the bridge, and we all know how much rain we get in KL, not to mention the recent bout of extremely bad weather as well. In the photos, the area under the left span of the bridge does seem to fare much better without the stream going through.
If this amount of erosion was caused solely by natural causes, can you imagine the impact of bikes on wet and muddy trails? Not forgetting riders who drag their rear brakes just because they don’t know how to control their ride?
Learn the right riding techniques, come out and do some trail work, and then you will really get to enjoy your ride!
Pat Brunsdon in Sungai, Bukit Kiara, Malaysia
1. The “Half Rule”
The trail grade (percent slope) should be no more than half the grade of the sideslope/hillside that it contours along. For example, if the hillslope the trail runs along is 16%, then the grade of the trail should be no more than 8%. If the slope exceeds this half rule, water will funnel down the trail and cause erosion.
2. Maximum Average Slope Of 10%
Trails should not have a sustained average grade of more than 10%; that is, rise or fall of no more than one metre in 10 metres. Even if a trail passes rule No 1 (the half rule), it can still fail Rule No 2. It’ll suffer from erosion because it’s too steep.
3. Maximum Peak Slope Of 15% To 20%
It’s possible to have a very steep section for short stretches. Local soil types will dictate how steep this can be. Special protection may have to be added to prevent erosion such as extra water bars, steps or rock armouring.
4. Grade Reversal
Trails should not have sections that are continuously up or down for more than 50m. Instead it should wiggle its way up or downhill with short sections where the grade is reversed (see illustration). This forms a natural water diversion so that it doesn’t build up too much velocity or volume.
Trails should be built so that the surface slopes downhill by about 5%. This allows water to flow off the trail at all points rather than flow down the trail or be allowed to form puddles on it.
6. No flat Trails
If possible, a trail should always have a slight slope, either up or down. This allows water to flow off it rather than being allowed to form puddles. A no-flat trail will be dry within minutes after it stops raining.
7. Minimal Environmental Impact
Trails should be built with minimum environmental impact — good erosion control, no cutting of trees or roots, etc. A good trail will go around trees, preferably on the uphill side to minimise potential damage to the roots. Extra soil and rock can be added to roots to protect them from wear. Special care should be taken when passing through streams and wet areas such as using bridges, rock armouring or elevating the trail, etc.
8. Maximum Interest, Fun and Sustainability
A good trail will make the most of natural features like rock outcroppings, notable trees and other features (see illustration). In general, it should be routed to maintain a trail user’s interest. It should provide maximum fun to walk, run or ride without encouraging excessive speed by careful use of natural terrain features and direction changes. An area should have a selection of trails of different levels of challenge to cater to users of different interests and ability. Trails should be routed to avoid environmentally or culturally sensitive sites.
9. Natural Construction
Trails should only be built with natural materials, preferably those occurring in the vicinity. No concrete, steel or tarmac.
A well-designed and built trail requires less maintenance. But regular maintenance such as clearing deadfall, making sure drainage is working and cutting back encroaching undergrowth is needed.