Residents' agony prolonged by delay

By Sheila Sri Priya

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The demolition work on the former Jaya supermarket Petaling Jaya 24/05/10  Follow up story on Jaya Supermarket at petaling Jaya.   is supposed to be completed by next month. — Picture by P. C.  Lim

The demolition work on the former Jaya supermarket Petaling Jaya 24/05/10 Follow up story on Jaya Supermarket at petaling Jaya. is supposed to be completed by next month. Picture by P. C. Lim

PETALING JAYA: Come Friday it will be a year since the former Jaya Supermarket in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, collapsed and killed seven Indonesian workers involved in the demolition work.

During a recent visit by Streets, the demolition work was still in progress and phase three (the collapsed part) and parts of phase two (centre portion) of the building had been torn down.

But residents and business owners in the vicinity were unhappy about the delay in the completion of the demolition work and clearing of debris.

Business operators complained that their businesses were affected by the worsening traffic problem since the collapse and that the demolition work was causing noise and air pollution.

Businessmen also claimed shortage of parking space had led to a drop in customers.

"My customers complain that they can't find a parking space with the shut down of Jaya Supermarket. Closure of parts of the roads because of the demolition work has led to slower traffic flow and congestion.

"The city council parking lot nearby looks dingy, which discourages customers, especially the ladies, from parking there.

"Therefore, they postpone their visits to my shop and sometimes they cancel their appointments," said Jenny Chong, 65, a tailor who has been in the area for over 20 years.

She added that she has had to clean her shop more often because of the dust raised by the demolition work.

Another shop owner said the lack of parking space has led to double parking in the area.

"Customers complain that they spend RM20 to shop but have to pay RM100 for the summons they receive for double parking," said the shop owner.

Beautician Suzanne Liau said her clients were hesitant about driving to the area because of the traffic jams.

She hoped the demolition work would be completed soon as the loud noise also causes her client to feel tense during their beauty treatment.

A resident who did not wish to be named said the noise bothered the residents and business operators and hoped the demolition work would end soon.

"Children cannot have their afternoon naps after school. They can't focus while they are doing their schoolwork because of the loud noise.

"I understand that it is unavoidable but it will be helpful if something is done to ease our discomfort," said the resident. He also hoped that there would be no sky scrapers built there.

"If a tall building was to be built in the neighbourhood, some of the houses would be deprived of sunlight.

"We don't mind another shopping complex like Jaya Supermarket but nothing too high," he said.

He also hoped the city council would place more signs to direct motorists to the right routes since part of Lorong 14/17 is closed.

Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee said the clearing and demolition work are agonising to the residents, who have been patient.

"Life hasn't been the same for the residents because they now have to live with the noise and the traffic problem," said Lee.

He hoped the city council would explain the delay in the completion of the demolition work.

PJ City Council building control department senior assistant director Siti Azurah Ghazali said 55 per cent of the building has been demolished.

She said the demolition work could go on until October.

"The original date of completion was next month but the contractors are very careful this time around. They want to make sure they are extra careful at each step of the demolition work," she added.

She said a seven-storey shopping complex with a four-storey car park would be built at the location.

However, she said the council's focus was to ensure that the building was safely torn down.

Jaya Shopping Centre, popularly known as Jaya Supermarket, was one of the city's earliest shopping malls.

The "blue" landmark at Section 14's bustling commercial centre was established in 1974 as a lifestyle shopping centre.

It was one of Petaling Jaya's longest-standing icons, which became a popular shopping destination and the hangout spot of teenagers in the mid-1980s and early 1990s.

On Feb 7, 2008 the shopping complex was shut down to be redeveloped.

On May 28, 2009, at 5pm, the phase three of Jaya Supermarket collapsed.

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