Ensure Green Jewel’s uniqueness stays intact

James Kon

Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar yesterday urged that further development of Temburong District should be carried out in a planned and integrated manner, without having to change the original identity of the district, which is unique, compared to the other districts.

He said this in his capacity as guest of honour at the World Town Planning Day (WTPD) celebration at the Bertabur Hall of the Ministry of Development (MoD).

The Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge “is the main landmark of the country that can link Temburong District with the Brunei-Muara, Tutong and Belait districts. It is hoped the bridge will become a catalyst in opening up various economic opportunities, especially in contributing to rise in the economy and quality of life in the country”, he said.

“However, in balancing this with maintaining Temburong District’s identity as the ‘green jewel’ of Brunei, land use management and development priorities need to be coordinated in a planned and integrated manner, with the parties involved in the district’s development. This includes optimising the use of land for development as well as taking into account the role and development opportunities at the mukim and village levels, without having to change its original identity,” he said.

In addition to the aspect of land use planning to create quality development and environment, the minister highlighted the importance of regulations and its enforcement.

“It is important to pay attention to consistency in the development regulations found in other agencies. Agencies need to ensure regulations in use will continue to be relevant and comprehensive in addressing current and future development issues. This includes efforts to implement enforcement jointly and take action on developments that have gone against the law, to avoid any confusion in the public because of the overlap of jurisdictions found in each respective relevant party,” he said.

Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar delivers his speech. PHOTO: Salawati Haji Yahya

By 2021, the Department of Town and Country Planning will enforce the issuance of a compound on developments that violate the rules, in accordance with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning Association Regulations, Composition of Offences, 2018.

Violations that can be compounded are offences under Section 23 of Town and Country Planning Order, 2015 whereby each offence can be levied a fine of no more than BND500.

The minister also touched on the launch of the two Planning Guidelines – (1) Planning Guideline for Strata Subdivision and Consolidation, and (2) Planning Guideline for the Development of Schools and Childcare Centres; and one Supplementary Planning Guideline – Supplementary Planning Guideline for Strata Development (Residential).

He said, “Each of the planning guidelines aims to act as guidance and reference to assist government agencies, private practitioners, professionals and land owners in the submission of applications to the department, to ensure the planning of such developments are done in a more organised and holistic manner. In addition, the supplementary guideline lists three planning incentives for new residential developments that land owners can apply for in meeting the criteria explained in the supplementary guideline. The preparation of these guidelines is among the contributions of urban planning, especially to open development opportunities and create a conducive development environment, towards achieving the three strategic goals of the Brunei Vision 2035.”

“This year’s theme, ‘Quality Environment Through Planned and Integrated Development’ is of utmost significance, even more so in addressing the phenomenon of climate change.

“The effects of climate change can be felt by every country. Among them are changes in weather patterns and the rising sea water level. If not controlled and mitigated effectively, it will affect our lives in ways such as frequent flash floods, landslides and others. The priority is to ensure quality and safe environment by emphasising on planned and integrated development,” he said.

The publication of the guidelines and planning guideline for Strata Subdivision and Consolidation is an initiative by the MoD (through the Department of Town and Country Planning) towards achieving the strategic objectives of the National Land Use Planning Council to optimise the use of land and the development of areas by opening up opportunities for strata ownership.

The publication of the Planning Guideline for the Development of Schools and Childcare Centres is a joint effort of the MoD, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in contributing to creating a safe and systematic learning environment.

“It is also hoped the guideline will become a reference for developer, school and child care centre operators to ensure the standard of development are of quality and safe,” the minister added.