SMC chairman Clarence Ting said the council could lease these open spaces for commercial purposes or sell them to individuals to build houses.
SIBU (Sept 29): Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) will explore ways to make good use of open spaces within its jurisdiction to generate income.
Its chairman Clarence Ting said the council could lease these open spaces for commercial purposes or sell them to individuals to build houses.
SMC has about 500 pieces of open spaces scattered in residential areas at between three to 10 points, and their various sizes and shapes pose problems for the council to develop them, he pointed out.
“If it is a one-size-fits-all, then it is okay but these open spaces are either triangular, long or with odd shapes. But I have this idea to turn these open spaces into commercial sites or to sell them to people so that they can build houses. This is within our control.
“I think it is too costly for the council to maintain all these places. Maybe we should alienate them and lease them for commercial use to make them useful. Otherwise, if we leave them idle, these incur costs to the council,” he told the press when met after the SMC full council meeting here yesterday.
He was reacting to the call by Deputy Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil on Tuesday, for local authorities to make good use of these spaces for extra revenue.
Penguang stated this during a dialogue session here with the local authorities in the central region.
Ting explained that the open spaces were leftover land of housing projects and they were vested with the council to look after and to be responsible for the maintenance of the spaces.
“This issue is not only faced by SMC. Sarikei District Council has also expressed that they do not have the means to maintain their open spaces.
“If we can make these spaces into good use, it can generate income for the council. We are keen to learn from the Bintulu Development Authority on how they manage their open spaces,” he said.
He noted that the council will update the list of open spaces in its area for funding purposes from the federal Ministry of Housing and Local Government, adding that SMC receives RM358,000 annually from the ministry under this fund.