An old town it may be, but Pulau Tikus and its surroundings will soon be given a fresh lease of life with the opening of Gurney Wharf. Alongside this, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit has also devised a four-prong approach to further revitalise the area.
The first is to ease traffic build-up – the concentration of traffic coming down from Tanjung Bungah is usually dispersed through Gurney Drive or Jalan Burmah – by potentially relocating the famed Gurney Drive Hawker Centre onto the Wharf itself, with proper facilities in place to ensure health and safety standards.
“One of the main reasons Gurney Drive is always tremendously congested is because of the hawker centre and the lack of parking spaces; and adding to this are the Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon malls located next to it,” Lee says.
He is also encouraging the use of public transportation by building on his predecessor Yap Soo Huey’s Pulau Tikus Loop initiative. “When I took over, together with the state exco for Public Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Zairil Khir Johari, we expanded it to the Pulau Tikus-Tanjung Tokong Loop. So far, ridership has not disappointed.”
Pulau Tikusans are also promised more green spaces. “As the district grows, there will be a need for more places for people to escape to, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.” This promise will see fruition when Gurney Wharf officially opens for public enjoyment this June.
Next on Lee’s list are facility upgrades. “For the next few years, my goal is to make sure everyone, even if you are in a wheelchair or visually impaired, can get from Point A to Point B in Pulau Tikus – this is the biggest challenge yet since the infrastructure here is very old and requires large-scale doovers,” he says, citing tactile paving as an example.
“We are also working to bring more coworking spaces into the area, judging by the upward trend of remote working. I’m hoping that when more and more businesses start going online, people won’t need to be physically present in offices anymore. There is currently one coworking space in Pulau Tikus – Common Ground at Moulmein Rise Shoppes. I am trying to encourage more residents to stay on to further develop our economy; it dies when people leave,” he laments.
“I want to see Pulau Tikus standing out, and not be overshadowed by George Town per se. It has its own culture and a unique sense of identity. My vision is to create a new township where people are able to live, work and play; a green, clean and booming Pulau Tikus.”