Think City gives out 18 grants for George Town heritage programme

GEORGE TOWN: Think City, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, has approved 18 grants worth RM1.84 million under the George Town Grants Programme (GTGP) after the first round of approvals.

The GTGP is designed to stimulate urban regeneration and rejuvenation in the George Town World Heritage Site by encouraging projects that promote inclusiveness and a shared understanding of George Town’s Outstanding Universal Values among residents, businesses and visitors.

It is hoped that such efforts would enhance the city’s livability and build social capital over time. Think City has been allocated RM20 million, via Khazanah, for the GTGP and the programme will be implemented over a period of two years.

In a statement, Think City said out of the 18 grants, 11 were for physical conservation projects, of which seven are located in the core zone of the World Heritage Site, while four are in the buffer zone.

"The remaining seven approved grants are for documentation projects related to physical conservation and urban rejuvenation within the George Town World Heritage Site," it stated.

GTGP received a healthy response from Penangites, with 44 applications received by the closing date of Jan 15 this year.

The board is scheduled to meet again in May to decide on applications that have been kept-in-view owing to a lack of information and proper documentation.

The approved applications were chosen based on six key parameters:

• projects must be catalytic;

• build capacity via partnerships;

• developmental element;

• inclusiveness to promote cohesiveness amongst communities;

• projects must be socially and economically sustainable; and

• applicants must show creativity and innovation

Additionally, all physical conservation projects were reviewed by Think City's Technical Advisory Panel of subject experts.

Grantees will be required to prepare conservation reports and other relevant documentation as the projects are being implemented.

The five George Town World Heritage office documentation projects that have received the green light include a homeowner’s manual, booklets on building materials, posters and brochures on heritage shophouses, cataloguing of F.W. Kelly Maps and the building of an interpretive model of the World Heritage Site.

There are three rounds of grant applications for this year. The second round will begin from April 26, 2010, and all interested parties should submit their applications by May 20, 2010.

Think City, in cooperation with the Penang Island Municipal Council, is also organising a workshop for the grantees on April 24, 2010, to ensure that all physical restoration and conservation works comply with local building regulations. The George Town World Heritage office will also be consulted.

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