GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) today launched the Penang Hill Upper Station upgrading project (phase 4), one of its largest hill enhancement works, at a cost of RM9.3 million.
With the aim to expand the waiting halls and facilities at the Penang Hill Upper Station, the expansion project is expected to improve visitors’ experience on the hill.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who is PHC’s chairman, assured the public that the architecture and design for the phase 4 project would be environmentally responsible and abide by the fundamental guidelines stipulated in the Penang Hill Special Area Plan (SAP) 2016 and Special Area Plan 2020.
“The main purpose of the phase 4 project is to increase the comfort of visitors and better position the hill for the future.
“It is the state government’s interest that this project achieves the Green Building Index (GBI) Gold rating,” he said when officiating the phase 4 ground-breaking ceremony today.
Elaborating, Chow said the architect and consultants of the project would incorporate state-of-the-art technology and innovative sustainable methods in the building design, construction and site management.
“There will be solar panels on the roof, a rain water harvesting system and energy saving fittings installed.
“We intend to keep the existing green elements such as trees around the site to preserve the natural aesthetic and heritage appeal of the summit area,” he added.
The building design will also be friendly for the elderly and physically challenged as they can now have better access to vantage points through elevators and escalators.
PHC general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said the upgrading works would take about 18 months to complete.
According to him, in view of the fact that ancillary works are carried out on a small footprint of the hill, whilst the site remains active with its daily operations, the ticketing counter at the Upper Station and existing waiting areas will be temporarily moved.
Similar to the Lower Station, a smart queue management system (JustQ 2.0), developed in-house, will be implemented at the Upper Station to provide visitors a hassle-free queuing experience where they can now wait in comfort.
They are only required to get to the station once their batch number is called.
Visitors are able to retrieve the batch number through the ticket counter and queue status from display panels or QR code displayed at major public facilities on the hill.
“Although this is a major project and there are constraints due to the terrain of the summit area, we will try our best to minimise inconvenience to the community on the hill.
“Hence, we would like to appeal to all our visitors and business partners for their understanding and patience during this period.
“In order to smoothen the entire process of the expansion work at the Upper Station, we will provide regular updates on our official social media platforms and on our website. We believe that the outcome of this project will outweigh the temporary inconvenience,” Cheok said.
Penang Hill, located about 830m above sea level, was the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia.
The most popular way to the hilltop is via the Penang Hill funicular train.