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BMSPA 2021: Going all out to engage the community - Elmina Central Park

Editor’s Choice Malaysia’s Exemplary Sustainable Community Park 2021 + EdgeProp-ILAM Malaysia’s Sustainable Landscape Awards 2021 —Landscape Planning (Gold)

Elmina Central Park

Many have flocked to Elmina Central Park, drawn by its Insta-quality. Its colourful Rainbow Bridge and Iconic Bridge, for instance, sparked a social media buzz in 2020 and have continued to lure visitors to the park. The park has also been a source of creative inspiration for landscape photographers as well as wedding and product photo shoots.

This vast 300-acre park of the 6,500-acre City of Elmina township development along the Guthrie Corridor in Shah Alam, Selangor is certainly not an ordinary park. At EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2021, Elmina Central Park was crowned a Gold winner of the EdgeProp-ILAM Malaysia’s Sustainable Landscape Awards in the Landscape Planning category. In addition, the park also bagged the EdgeProp Malaysia Editor’s Choice Award as Malaysia’s Exemplary Sustainable Community Park 2021.

City of Elmina is made up of several smaller developments including Denai Alam, Bukit Subang, Elmina East, Elmina West and Elmina Business Park. It is expected to be fully developed by 2040. Its current population stands at 45,000 and it will eventually serve about 150,000 people. The development area used to be a palm oil plantation known as Elmina Estate, the name which developer Sime Darby Property has retained in homage to its past.

The Elmina Central Park is made up of several smaller parks, namely the Sport Park, Urban Park, Community Park and Art & Cultural Park, which can be enjoyed by both City of Elmina residents and the public. There is also a Forest Park bordering the 2,700-acre Subang Forest Reserve.

Because of how large the central park is, the Iconic Bridge and Rainbow Bridge were built to link the smaller parks and to bridge the residential areas to the commercial hub.

Led by Sime Darby Property deputy chief operating officer, township development Appollo Leong, Elmina Central Park has been holistically planned, designed and implemented, making it unlike any other in the country. 

The design of the park and its facilities reflect the eight pillars of wellness that make up the City of Elmina's core DNA – community, emotional, physical, occupational, family, intellectual, environment and mental. Hence, you can find here the UNICEF Inclusive Playground, the Elmina Community Farm, and the Elmina Rainforest Knowledge Centre (ERKC). 

As the park lies adjacent to the Subang Forest Reserve, the developer saw this as an opportunity to collaborate with the Tropical Rainforest Conservation Research Centre (TRCRC) to create an off-site conservation area, thus extending the forest into Central Park.

To achieve that, a nine-acre Elmina Living Collection Nursery (ELCN) was established in Oct 2020 on the fringes of the forest reserve, with its main function to germinate seeds from endangered, rare and threatened (ERT) native tree species found in the forest reserve. Meanwhile, the ERKC was set up for visitors to learn about the tree planting programme as well as other sustainability activities.

“This is an initiative by the team at Elmina to educate the community on the importance of conserving our natural heritage and biodiversity,” says Sime Darby Property group managing director, Datuk Azmir Merican Azmi Merican.

Catering to all aspects

Meanwhile, the 36-acre Community Park, also called “the park next door”, is a park designed strategically at a walking distance to the residential areas to encourage people to get outdoors and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

“At the same time, the Community Park serves to nurture a strongly-knit and all-inclusive community through facilities like the UNICEF Inclusive Playground,” Azmir highlights.

The UNICEF Inclusive Playground was completed in Nov 2020 in a joint collaboration with UNICEF. The playground features balancing logs, stepping stones, sensory poles and swings which are designed for children of all abilities.

Running and maintaining the vast central park is no easy feat. Leong says the challenge lies in two main areas – maintenance and community engagement.

“It is all about putting in the necessary substance and activities to activate the park,” Leong says. To do that, they have engaged with organisations that have the expertise in community building, wellness and the environment such as TRCRC to ensure the water and forest tree species planted in the park receive proper maintenance.

Another sustainability initiative in the park is the Elmina Community Farm. The edible gardening and urban farming programme was established in Jan 2019 to promote sustainable living.

The farm has brought together a community that shares a common interest in gardening, not just to tend to the farm, but to even cook and share with each other what they have harvested.

“The team at Elmina is constantly exploring ways to utilise the ample space at the Elmina Central Park, such as to transform the park into an event space to bring fun and excitement for the residents and public,” says Azmir.

“The team is also regularly brainstorming new, innovative ideas and adopting the latest market trends to meet the community’s lifestyle needs. As we grow and broaden our views to a more holistic sustainability approach, we will focus our efforts on areas that matter most to our stakeholders,” he adds.

Check out the microsite for Edgeprop’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2021 here

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my E-weekly on April 9, 2021. You can access back issues here.

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