SM City Baguio’s expansion at full speed
Seen to help ease car parking problems
BAGUIO CITY August 25 – SM City Baguio’s mall expansion, The Sky Park, is now ongoing in earnest following the Supreme Court’s clarification, dated April 19, 2016 and received recently, that it is not covered by the temporary restraining order earlier issued.
What is the project about and the benefits to the public and precautions undertaken to protect the environment? For these, SM City Baguio’s management was sought.
This will “pave the way for a bigger, better, and more beautiful SM City Baguio,” and that “before the project, SM has secured the final approval and necessary permits from pertinent government agencies. Inputs from different meaningful advocacy and community groups were gathered and considered to put the project together.
“The project was designed with sustainable benefits for Baguio City residents, and to make the mall more enjoyable and relaxing for families. The Sky Park, which features green walls consisting of live plants will not only improve air quality, but will help bring concrete solutions to the continuing soil erosion in Luneta Hill.”
It will not only allow the mall to further serve its customers in the city as it will also bring in more business and employment opportunities, especially for qualified local residents. For others it can be an added attraction as its design is described as ‘green architecture.’
Underneath the structure will be a catchment tank that will redirect floodwaters from surrounding areas, helping ease flashfloods and landslides. The excess space of the catchment tank will also provide many additional parking spaces that will help decongest traffic along Session Road.
Part of the green architecture will be ‘green facilities’ to help absorb the impact of climate change such as a state-of-the-art sewerage treatment plant (STP), and an underground rainwater catchment tank having a capacity of 7,432.54 cubic meters of water which could be used in the mall’s operations.
The STP will be constructed below basement 3 of the mall expansion and it will have a capacity of at least 1,200 cubic meters daily in accordance with the amended environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to accommodate future waste water discharge of the existing mall and the expansion project. Sewer and waste water will be treated in the STP and will thereafter be recycled for non-potable uses.
Furthermore, “green walls’ consisting of live plants will help improve the air quality in the area, making the mall both relaxing and enjoyable. In certain parts of the mall, natural lighting will be used for energy efficiency.
There will also be ‘green foliage and water features’ to help mitigate heat island effect and absorb rain water. It is a landscape area, park and viewdeck with ‘green space’ located in the third floor of the existing mall. It will have an area of approximately 4,333 square meters designed as an elevated garden, which contain up to 53 species of trees and plants not merely potted plants with canopied walkways, ponds and waterscapes.
The project will add a total of 68,123.75 square meters to the original 106,939.35 existing mall bringing the total mall area to around 176,073.26 square meters.
Many observers’ concern is how the project will affect the city’s parking problems. It will generate a total of 652 additional parking slots bringing the total parking slots within the mall to around 1,419. Additional pedestrian and vehicle entrances along Gov. Pack Road will be provided in order to help decongest traffic along Session Road.
Eco-friendly LED lights and park finders will also be used in the existing and additional parking spaces to help minimize the mall’s carbon footprint. It would be easier to find available parking spaces thus contributing more to wards this end.
SM was already able to plant around 60,301 assorted tree saplings in the different parts of Baguio and nearby towns of Tuba and La Trinidad, Benguet in compliance with the permit requiring the mall to plant at least 100 assorted seedlings as replacement for every tree cut to pave the way for the project to push through. Moreover, SM committed to plant 500,000 assorted tree seedlings in various parts of Baguio and Benguet in coordination with the DENR and concerned local governments in the next five years as part of the mall’s commitment to assist the government in preserving and protecting the city’s environment.**