Friday, February 20, 2009

Serangoon Gardens dorm could open in August

THE foreign worker dormitory proposed for Serangoon Gardens, which sparked outrage among residents before it was announced, could begin operations in August.

Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament Lim Hwee Hua, in a letter to residents posted on the GRC's website, also provided updates on the tender process, which closed in mid-December last year.

The contract to build the dorm at a disused school is likely to be awarded by early next month and work can start in May.

An access road, which will allow the dorm residents to come and go without passing through the estate, is likely be completed by the end of July, she added.

Residents of the ageing estate of landed properties kicked up a ruckus last September when they got wind of the Government's plan to site a foreign worker dorm in their neighbourhood.

More than a thousand residents put their signatures on a petition against the dorm and gave this to National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan.

The key concerns they raised included traffic congestion, security and safety, and competition for the use of common facilities.

Last October, the Ministry of National Development said that it would go ahead and convert the disused school there into the dorm, but the residents' concerns would be considered.

For example, the dorm would accommodate 600 workers at most for a start, and they would be those working in manufacturing and services only; the dorm would also be given its own facilities, such as a provision shop.

The access road was included among the measures to reassure Serangoon Gardens residents that their estate would not be overrun by foreign workers.

Mr E.T. Mohan Dass, a 60-year-old resident, when asked whether he was still concerned about these foreigners being there, said he was 'okay' with it if the access road is in place.

'It's not that we don't like them, the estate is just too small,' he said.

Source: Straits Times, 20 Feb 2009

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