Community park gazetted as forest reserve

The Kota Damansara Community
Forest Park

THE Kota Damansara Community Forest Park has been gazetted as a forest reserve for educational purposes. A formal announcement on this is expected sometime this week.

The state executive council gazetted the 343ha forest reserve following request from local level organisations such as Friends of Kota Damansara which has been pushing to preserve the forested area for years.

Residents fought to keep the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park, which covers 8% of the total green coverage area of Petaling Jaya, especially when there were proposals in the Petaling Draft Local Plan to allow commercial development in the area.

Prior to this, land in the area had been alienated by the former state government to Permodalan Negri Selangor Bhd, Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) and the Football Association of Selangor. Another section had been given to the Petaling Jaya City Council for a burial ground.

It is understood that there were initially plans to build an Islamic school near the site but this too had to make way for proposed commercial developments.

When contacted, Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong said approvals for development had been given by the former state administration, but the forest which at that time was gazetted as a botanical garden had not been re-gazetted for development purpose.

“It was in the midst of being re-gazetted for development by the former state government when the state administration changed hands, so now we have decided to maintain the area as a forest reserve, and have gazetted it as such,” she said.

Wong said only plans for the burial ground will go ahead. She said a considerably sized buffer zone with landscaping will separate the burial ground from the park as there have been some unease expressed over the grounds being within the park.

This forest reserve was a part of what was previously the Sungai Buloh forest reserve. As far back as 1898, the colonial government gazetted an area of 6,590ha as a forest reserve making it the oldest gazetted forest in Peninsular Malaysia.  Since its first clearing in 1988 for the construction of the North-South Highway, the forest has been slowly affected by various development projects.  In 1992, 1,600ha was given to PKNS for the Kota Damansara township development.