Initial plan for the 10-hectare land along Marcos Highway gets council approval

The Baguio City Council, last Monday, approved in principle the initial concept plan for the proposed development of the land along the Aspiras-Palispis Highway (formerly known and still referred to as Marcos Highway).

The initial plan was presented by City Planning and Development Coordinator Arch. Donna Tabangin includes the construction of an intermodal bus terminal, a sub-fire station as requested by the Bureau of Fire Protection-CAR, a modernized waste transfer station of the city; and the relocation of the city’s abattoir/slaughterhouse and the ATAB District Health Center.

The eight-hectare land was ceded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to the city government through a usufruct agreement for efficient waste-handling management and other city land needs.

Tabangin explained that the city government is currently requesting the DA-CAR for the expansion of the said land covered by the usufruct agreement into 10 hectares to be able to accommodate all the proposed projects in the area. 

The said area is an ideal location for an intermodal bus terminal since it is situated along with one of the major transportation corridors in the city, Tabangin stated.

She added that the construction of the intermodal bus terminal on the outskirts of the city is considered as one of the long-term solutions to the traffic congestion experienced in the central business district.

She sought the revision of the city’s local public transport route plan (LPTRP) to include a special route connecting the proposed bus terminal to the existing public transport routes. A map of the area showed that the proposed bus terminal is 1.1 kilometers away from the Dontogan-Sto.Tomas public transport line route.

Earlier, the city government announced its plan to partner with a private firm for the putting up of a four-hectare integrated terminal complex within the land covered by the usufruct agreement. South-bound buses formerly occupying Governor Pack Road will be relocated to the proposed integrated bus terminal.

 A portion of the land eyed for the proposed bus terminal is currently occupied by the city’s waste transfer station. In the initial concept plan, the transfer station will be relocated to the far eastern part of the property in order to meet the land requirements of the proposed bus terminal.

Along with its relocation, the waste transfer station will be upgraded with better technologies. Tabangin said the modernized transfer station will continue to operate until the city government is able to realize its own waste-to-energy system, one of its flagship projects.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, however, expressed reservations on the relocation of the transfer station as the identified relocation area is dangerous due to its steep slopes. This entails additional expenses on the part of the city government to ensure the safety and security of the site, Tabanda said.

Tabangin explained that the city government is exploring other options to maximize the use of the land to be developed. One of the options is to negotiate with the proponent of the proposed bus terminal to adjust or reconfigure its project proposal so that the transfer station will not have to be relocated.

The city planner underscored that the city council’s approval of the initial concept plan will lead to the conduct of a feasibility study to assess/identify the proposed development’s social acceptability, financial viability, and potential traffic problems and environmental risks it may cause in the area, among others.

Tabangin assured that the development plan for the land ceded to the city government will be harmonized with the DA-CAR’s environmental management plan in which the areas adjacent to the development site will be maintained as forest buffers.

The city council clarified that the approved initial plan is subject to revision as may be dictated by the results of the feasibility study. A master development plan will be finalized by the City Planning and Development Office and will go through the city council’s review for approval. –Jordan G. Habbiling