Monday, March 23, 2009

Bukit Panjang zone to get upgrade

BUKIT Panjang will be among the first few estates to benefit from the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, which is aimed at upgrading older HDB estates.

About $6 million has been set aside to spruce up the Cashew division in the area and about 1,700 homes will benefit from the upgrade.

More cycling and jogging tracks, covered linkways and residents' corners are also being planned.

About three months ago, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said the Housing Board and his ministry would consider bringing forward programmes, such as lift upgrading and the Home Improvement and Neighbourhood Renewal programmes, as part of the Government's efforts to increase spending and boost the economy.

The nationwide Neighbourhood Renewal Programme was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech in 2007 and its aim is to enhance the value of homes and neighbourhoods through upgrading and estate renewal projects.

The programme is free but the residents still have to vote for it. A 75 per cent vote is needed before the constituency will proceed with the programme.

Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Vivian Balakrishnan, who is also the Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister, said residents are encouraged to take ownership and responsibility of the programme.

Rather than work on something that was an architect's 'grand idea' or from the residents' committee, the minister wants 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.'

The chairman of one of Cashew's residents' committees, Mr Thusara Dharmapala, said many residents had asked for more carparks and other facilities such as barbecue pits.

Source: Straits Times, 23 Mar 2009

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