GEORGE TOWN: The “flooding” at the upgraded promenade overlooking the sea at the Esplanade on Monday was not because of a design fault as speculated, said a city council official.
Penang Island City Council secretary Rajendran Anthony said the new seawall built at the original walkway was meant to take in seawater during high tide.
“The lower seawall was retained to preserve our heritage, which spans back to the 1780s,” he told FMT. “The lower terrace allows all to view the sea closer and what is left of the historic seawall. During high tide, the entire area would be submerged.
“We had engaged European and South African experts who have made similar designs in their cities to do the same in Penang. It is a blend of new and old materials, including original cast iron from the UK, to keep it as authentic as possible.
“We want Penangites to enjoy and appreciate nature and, at the same time, reflect on our close to two centuries of history crashing onto our seawalls.”
He said there are warning signs put up near the walkway of the lower seawall, and gates to prevent people from walking through it during high tide.
On Monday, a stretch of the walkway was temporarily closed because of high tide, leading to talk that the seawall’s design was defective.
The Esplanade at Padang Kota is believed to be the first site cleared by its modern-day founder, Francis Light, when he arrived in August 1786.
During the recent reconstruction of the promenade, workers discovered five canons and short-range mortars dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The promenade area had recently undergone a six-year makeover at a cost of RM12.9 million, fully funded by the city council. It was opened to the public last Friday following the lockdowns due to the pandemic.
The 570m walkway stretches from Medan Renong to the Resident Naval Office close to Port Swettenham.