SEREMBAN, Dec 14, 2014:
For close to 15-years, the site of former heritage school SM Convent, now a lake, at the heart of Seremban town still remains an eye sore.
This is despite plans last year by the state government to turn it into a shopping complex.
The 90-year-old school was demolished to pave way for the construction of a shopping complex in the early 90’s.
The project, however, stalled during the economic recession in 1997 leading the then Negeri Sembilan government to pump water into the site to keep the building structure from collapsing.
Last year, there was talk of it being revived and turned into a shopping complex.
However, one year on, the site located next to Dataran Seremban remains the same, with the project yet to commence.
The site remains filled with three-storey deep murky water, turning it into a mosquito breeding ground according to locals here.
“Whatever plans to develop the patch of land is welcomed provided it brings benefits to the people of this beautiful town of ours,” Richard Santa Maria said to The Rakyat Post.
“Since development still is in its planning stage with no immediate work in sight, it remains a pond that has also attracted some contentious issues in the past and present.”
Casting doubts on the road congestion should the project materialise, the 48-year-old finance director urged the Seremban Municipal Council (MPS) to at least beautify the location while awaiting the project to begin.
In October last year, Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan was reported to have planned to revive the stalled project through the construction of a four-storey shopping complex with alfresco dining outlets with lots of greenery.
He also claimed that plans were already under way for the location’s make-over.
Local Sunny Wong expressed doubts over the said project due to three pertinent factors, with the first being the geographical factor and traffic congestion in the town.
“Construction was stopped 15 years ago when they accidentally struck an underground natural spring causing the flood until today.
“And if the construction were to be carried out, the surrounding buildings will be unstable.
“Then, there is the economic factor as the town, which is part of the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area initiative, already has four major shopping complexes.”
Traders’ profits, Wong said, would only be eroded due to increased overheads while the market size remained the same.
With recently constructed shopping complexes such as the Mydin Mall and Palm Mall still having empty shop lots, the 43-year-old sales manager questioned the need for another shopping complex.
Rubaendran Nagaiah, on the other hand, said the local authorities should refurbish the pond by installing a fountain, instead.
“I love the sight of the pond. A fountain will make it look better,” the 31-year-old technician said.
However, many locals still had resentment against the previous state government led by then Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, which had demolished the old school.
“I wish the government could have left it as a Heritage building,” a 48-year-old woman, who only wanted to be known as Crispina said.
The employee with a bank and a former student at the demolished school, claimed it was impossible to drain the water out from the pond — which had been dubbed as a miracle lake by some locals.
The pond also never overflowed despite the heavy rain, she said.