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Pulau Ubin residents to pay subsidised rent for first 5 years

SINGAPORE — Apologising for the anxiety caused to some Pulau Ubin residents — who received last month what had appeared to be eviction notices — the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) yesterday reiterated that these 22 households can continue to stay in their homes.

Pulau Ubin residents to pay subsidised rent for first 5 years

The SLA and the HDB have apologised for the confusion over the Notice of Census Survey served to 22 households on Pulau Ubin. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Apologising for the anxiety caused to some Pulau Ubin residents — who received last month what had appeared to be eviction notices — the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) yesterday reiterated that these 22 households can continue to stay in their homes.

The authorities also disclosed the details of the rent — which would be subsidised for the first five years — that these families now have to pay.

In a joint press statement, the SLA and the HDB acknowledged that the notification “could have been more carefully worded and the language updated to reflect the eventual development”. The notice of census survey that the HDB served on the residents — which carried a header referring to a “clearance scheme” for the “development of adventure park” — was in reference to the “past planning intent, which was originally described in 1993 as the development of an adventure park”, they added.

The SLA and the HDB reiterated the current planning intention was to keep Pulau Ubin “in its rustic state for as long as possible, to serve as an outdoor playground for Singaporeans”.

In 1993, the land on Pulau Ubin had been acquired by the State to build recreational and expand facilities, such as the National Police Cadet Corps’ camping facilities and Outward Bound School training grounds.

With the recent completion of the planned developments, the authorities had conducted a review and discovered that the 22 households had not claimed resettlement benefits entitled to them.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, the SLA and the National Parks Board said: “When SLA recently took stock of the situation in Pulau Ubin, we found that some households had not claimed their resettlement benefits, and that was why we decided to conduct a census survey to determine their eligibility for resettlement benefits. Once we have established that, households who are not eligible for HDB’s resettlement benefits but wish to continue their stay at Ubin will be issued a Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL).”

The census survey started on April 3 and will be completed by June. The SLA and the HDB said their staff were deployed last month to explain to the residents the purpose and intent of the exercise. “They also explained to the households that there was no plan for eviction. In addition, a contact was provided for residents who needed further clarification,” the agencies added. The rent — which will be subsidised initially to help residents adjust — would be gradually increased to full rate over five years.

In the first year, the monthly rent is between S$6 and S$35, with 90 per cent paying less than S$20 a month. From the sixth year onwards, residents will have to pay between S$31 and S$205 monthly, with 90 per cent paying less than S$120 per month. Rent rates are calculated based on the gross area and the land area occupied.

Eventually — after five years — 10 out of the 22 households will pay between S$30 and S$60, seven will pay between S$61 and S$90 and three will pay between S$91 and S$120.

Only two households will pay rent above S$120.

The SLA and the HDB said they would continue to “engage and explain” to residents about resettlement benefits and TOL arrangements. “Most of the residents have, in fact, contacted HDB for a site appointment,” they added.

Residents need only pay rent if they decide to stay on after the census survey’s completion and a TOL is issued to them.

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2008, a large portion of Pulau Ubin, including parts of the land acquired in 1993, is zoned as Open Space and designated as a Nature Area in the Parks and Waterbodies Plan. Under the Land Use Plan for 2030 and beyond — which was recently released — Pulau Ubin was reflected as “Open Space” and “Reserve Site”.

TODAY understands that there are currently about 50 households living on the island which are paying rent under the TOL arrangements.

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