Proposal to gazette Canada Hill gets backing

Overlooking Miri city from a point at the top of Canada Hill.

MIRI: Sarawak Assistant Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting has welcomed the recent statement by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan to gazette abandoned oil wells at Canada Hill under the Public Park and Green Ordinance 1994.

“Canada Hill plays an important part as a green lung and carbon sink for Miri City. It’s important for us to protect the ecosystem and environment there.

“Furthermore, I believe that the improvement and enhancement at Canada Hill will turn it into an excellent tourist site,” Ting, who is also the Piasau assemblyman, said Wednesday (Sept 29).

He added that conserving historical places of value would benefit university students doing their degrees and thesis, tourists and most importantly, Miri residents as they could appreciate and know about the history of Miri — from a tiny fishing village to an oil city with the first oil well established back in 1910.

On Tuesday (Sept 28), Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources II, attended a briefing on the abandoned oil wells.

The briefing was held in Kuching, attended also by Assistant Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh, Sarawak Legal Counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong and Datu Sr Zaidi Mahdi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources.

During the briefing, a special task force, which was formed following the incident of gas bubbling at one of the abandoned oil wells on Sept 16 last year, presented its findings and recommendations.

The special task force recommended that a proper plugging of the wells be done and the site be gazetted.

The Mineral and Geoscience Department categorised most parts of Canada Hill as high to very high susceptibility to landslide occurrence, rendering the site unsuitable for any commercial or residential development.

Records also showed that a series of landslides had occurred at Canada Hill, latest in 2019.