Singapore

Columbarium news irks future residents of Sengkang flats

Columbarium news irks future residents of Sengkang flats
The dialogue yesterday was organised by the Sengkang West Citizens’ Consultative Committee and involved representatives from the HDB, URA and the company developing the temple. Photo: Sengkang West Citizens’ Consultative Committee
Published: 4:02 AM, January 5, 2015
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SINGAPORE — News that a columbarium would be located close to their future homes has riled some would-be Fernvale Lea residents so much that they are asking the Housing and Development Board (HDB) for a refund on their flat.

The request was made by some among the 400 who turned up at a closed-door dialogue called by Sengkang West Member of Parliament (MP) Lam Pin Min yesterday, although they were assured that the Chinese temple housing the columbarium would not be providing cremation or funeral services,as had been said by articles circulating on social media.

After news broke last week of the coming columbarium, some current and would-be residents around Fernvale Link started an online petition to stop the development, which is expected to be completed by 2016. It has garnered more than 800 signatures.

In response to TODAY’s queries, the HDB said it would look into the residents’ request for a refund.

Petitions started by residents who are unhappy with the siting of facilities — the so-called Not In My Backyard syndrome — are not new.

For example, in 2012, residents in Woodlands Street 83 petitioned against the setting up of an eldercare centre at the void decks of Blocks 860 and 861, while some Toh Yi residents opposed the building of studio apartments for the elderly in their estate.

After the dialogue yesterday, which was organised by the Sengkang West Citizens’ Consultative Committee and involved representatives from the HDB, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the company developing the temple, dozens of future Fernvale Lea residents queued up to give their names and contact details for updates on the possibility of a refund.

Brochures for potential buyers of Fernvale Lea flats had indicated that the nearby Chinese temple might include ancillary services, such as a columbarium.

However, some residents who attended yesterday’s dialogue, which became heated at times during its three-hour span, argued that the possibility should have been made clearer, with some raising their concerns about traffic congestion and the resale value of their property, among others.

Speaking to TODAY about the reactions from the residents over the columbarium, Dr Lam said: “Although it was indicated in the brochures, some of them might have missed it and felt that because they weren’t given prior notice, they could not make an informed decision. I believe most of the unhappiness is because they felt there was a lack of information given to them to make such a decision.”

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