Work begins on BSB growth masterplan

National 2 minutes, 44 seconds


A NEW canvas will be painted to portray the future image of Bandar Seri Begawan, said the newly-appointed project director Steven Townsend of the capital's development masterplan.

Townsend will be leading an international team of consultants entrusted with the palette to fuse Brunei's colourful culture, heritage and nature into the makings of a modern city.

At an agreement signing between the government and principal consultant HOK Planning Group at the Empire Hotel & Country Club, the project director described how he and the team of consultants would "find a new future that is befitting" of the emerging capital city.

"We are embarking on a great journey, a journey of discovery," the HOK Planning Group Regional Director said. "We will paint a new canvas for BSB".

Representing the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in the endeavour was the BSB Municipal Department, where the agreement was signed by BSB Municipal Board Chairman Pg Hj Mohd Ali Pg Hj Othman and Ministry of Home Affairs' Permanent Secretary Dato Paduka Serbini Hj Ali. The Minister, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof was on hand to witness the signing.

In his remarks at the event, the BSB Municipal Board Chairman spoke on the necessity of having the BSB Development Masterplan to cement solid and clear development strategies that will serve as a guide or reference for future development in the capital.

Apart from maintaining BSB's past achievement of becoming one of the top 10 most livable places in Asia, the masterplan also aims to ensure orderly development so as to make BSB a safe, friendly and livable place as well as to prepare immediate, medium and long-term development policies and strategies for BSB until the year 2035 and beyond.

Due to be completed within nine working months with an allocated budget of $7.3 million, the masterplan will also be based on 10 strategic objectives stipulated within the previous BSB Strategic Planning and Action Plan. These include the upgrading of the capital to city status, promoting BSB as an attractive tourist destination with its unique characteristics of culture and heritage, focusing on the "City in a Garden" concept and implementing an efficient communication and transportation system.

Stakeholders comprising not only relevant ministries and government agencies but also the private sector, non-government organisations and particularly, the residents of BSB itself, would also play a key role in the masterplan, which is expected to be formulated by July 2010.

"It is critically important that members of the public take the opportunity to provide their views and feedback in the public participation process of drafting and the preparation of the BSB Development Master Plan," Pg Hj Mohd Ali stressed. "This is to ensure that the plan is sustainable socially, economically and environmentally".

"I am confident that with the support and cooperation of everyone, Insyallah, we can produce a visionary and sustainable (plan) that will guide (BSB's) growth and development up to the year 2035 and beyond," the chairman added.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us," said Townsend. "We are excited to start today and move forward".

The Brunei Times