Sunday, March 22, 2009

$6m neighbourhood makeover launched in Bukit Panjang

SINGAPORE: Bukit Panjang will be among the first few places to kick off the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme aimed at upgrading older HDB estates.

S$6 million has been set aside to rejuvenate the Cashew division in the area. Nearly 1,700 homes in the Cashew division will benefit from the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.

In the pipeline are more cycling and jogging tracks, covered linkways and residents' corners.

Thusara Dharmapala, chairman of Cashew Residents' Committee Zone, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said: "A lot of people wanted more car parks and that is something that we are looking at right now. Some other issues included more facilities like barbeque pits."

Although the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme is free, residents will still have to cast their vote for it. And the constituency will not proceed with the programme unless it gets a 75 per cent approval from the residents.

The government also wants residents to take ownership and responsibility of the programme.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said: "Some of the problems are really to do with the fact that after the facility is being built, it was abused and misused and actually ended up making residents unhappy.

"So this is something we are trying to avoid in the future by making sure that it is not just an architect's grand idea or ideas from the residents committee.

"These are ideas which bubble up from the ground. The last thing I want is to create a white elephant or worse create something that unwittingly inconveniences or creates disamenities."

Ideas gathered from house visits and dialogue sessions will be incorporated into the plans before they are presented to residents for their final vote.

Source: Channel News Asia, 22 Mar 2009

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