Nine estates to benefit from facelift

Nine private estates will get a S$20 million sprucing-up — in the form of better footpath lighting, for instance — under the Estate Upgrading Programme (EUP).

The estates are the ninth batch slated for the EUP since it began in 2000 and are: Clover Estate; Lentor Estate; Thomson Faber Island Gardens; Toh Tuck Estate; Meng Suan/Springleaf Estates; Happy Gardens; Sea Breeze Garden; Toh Estate; and Jalan Merbok, Jalan Layang-Layang, Jalan Kakatua, Jalan Selating, Jalan Rajawali and Shamah Terrace Estate.

Announcing the list of estates yesterday, the Ministry of National Development said the Neighbourhood Committees or the Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCC) will survey and/or have dialogues with the residents to gather their views and ideas on the upgrading, which is expected to be completed in three to four years. The CCC will then set up a working committee to decide how the budget for upgrading will be disbursed. More than 4,800 households are set to benefit.

Chairman of the EUP committee and Minister of State (National Development and Defence) Mohamad Maliki Osman said: “This is truly a collaborative effort, with residents taking ownership and playing an active role in deciding what improvements they hope to see in their estates to make the living environment better for all.”

Improvements in previous EUP projects include covering drains to create footpaths so residents need not walk on the road, and constructing ramps for wheelchair users.

Private estates, which are not managed by town councils as Housing and Development Board estates are, have long lacked the resources to improve public amenities. They are usually considered for EUP under nomination by their CCC advisers — the area’s Member of Parliament (MP) — and the estate’s age and physical condition are factors for evaluation by the ministry. The nine selected estates were developed more than 30 years ago.

Poor lighting was one of the most common concerns that residents in these nine private estates raised.

Mrs Sarah Nair, who lives in an old condominium in Toh Tuck Estate, said her daughter was once followed by a stranger at night. Better lighting would make the estate safer, she said.

One resident of Toh Estate, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chia, said narrow pavements are obstructed by trees planted in the middle, forcing residents to walk on the road. “One of the things they can do is to ensure there is no speeding within the estate. A lot of people are using the estate to bypass traffic jams to get to Loyang Avenue,” he added.

While there are no particular problems in Thomson Faber Island Gardens, the estate’s CCC adviser MP (Bishan-Toa Payoh) Hri Kumar Nair, said: “The upgrading will have a certain budget and how the budget will be used will be up to the residents, but I would imagine one of the things people would hope to do is to spruce up the park. The park right now has a small children’s playground and is basically quite empty.”

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