Apartment resident’s 10-year battle to clear out illegal car park

Cars parked along the common driveway at Taman Pekaka apartments, in Bayan Lepas. Despite repeated notices, the 100-odd lots are still in use, and are a hindrance to emergency vehicles.

GEORGE TOWN: A Bayan Lepas resident who has spent the past 10 years complaining about 100 car park bays at the driveway of his apartment building has questioned why orders to remove them have been ignored.

Dr Bala Anthony, 59, said he had written to three different authorities since 2008, who have issued orders for the removal of the car parks bays at the building in Taman Pekaka, Sungai Dua. But they have remained on the driveway.

The orders were issued by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) and the Commissioner of Buildings, he said.

Anthony questioned how the management of the apartment block at Taman Pekaka have been able to carry on, apparently with impunity.

He said the driveway of the building was clear of obstacles when it opened in 2002. In November 2008, the building management decided to demarcate 100 car park bays in the driveway area.

Dr Balavendrian Anthony showing a notice from the Fire and Rescue Department in 2011 to the management to remove all car park lots. Nothing has been done since.

He said his objections were ignored by the management, and he wrote to the authorities and Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP).

In 2011, the Bomba declared the car parks to be illegal, and ordered that they be removed. In 2016, the Bomba director-general Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim, wrote to him, confirming that the parking lots were indeed illegal and that they should be removed immediately.

He said the Commissioner of Buildings of the Penang Island City Council had also ordered the car parks to be removed.

FMT has seen the letters sent by Bomba and MBPP to Bala and has confirmed their authenticity.

He said that in 2015, rescue vehicles were unable to attend to a woman who had accidentally reversed her car off the third storey car park and and fallen on the driveway below.

The fire engine and paramedics had difficulty entering the driveway to rescue her and the firemen lugged their equipment from their engine parked outside.

A letter by the Fire and Rescue director-general in 2016 also ordering the removal of the parking lots.

“We have nearly 2,000 people living here. In an emergency, how are the ambulances or fire engines to enter the area? The authorities have ordered that the car parks be removed, yet the management seems to be able to act with impunity.”

Bala said that, as a protest, he had only paid half his monthly maintenance fees.

When asked by FMT, a man who identified himself as the building supervisor with the name “Rahman” refused to comment on the car park problem but said that Anthony’s refusal to pay the maintenance fees in full had been taken to the Housing and Strata Management Tribunal.

FMT has contacted the mayor, Yew Tung Seang, for comment.