A Boon Lay for everyone?

Young and old, local and foreign, the vision includes all

SOME 100,000 plants will be introduced. The neighbourhood park will be transformed into a theme park for both young and old. Boon Lay Shopping Centre will be revamped.

The vision is to transform Boon Lay into a tranquil suburban residential enclave with a distinctive identity, and it’s not just to cater to the district’s aging population.

By rejuvenating the estate with upgraded facilities, this will also hopefully attract younger families to live in Boon Lay, said Madam Ho Geok Choo, Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC, at a briefing on plans for the estate.

The WellnessCentre@BoonLay, which provides healthcare services to the elderly, will partner Alexandra Hospital to provide step-down care at affordable rates for elderly residents discharged after a hospital stay.

Also to be launched is an e-Learning Lab, set up by the Boon Lay Youth Executive Committee to provide computer facilities and Internet access to underprivileged students. Certified instructors will conduct computer courses.

Would the large number of foreign workers in Boon Lay, however, affect the estate’s image and younger families’ decisions to move into the estate?

Said Mdm Ho: “Boon Lay residents have learnt to accept the foreign workers, although the challenge remains how to assure the younger ones who want to set up homes in Boon Lay that the issue is not something to be worried about.”

Indeed, Boon Lay could become an example for a more tolerant nation, she said. “Perhaps Boon Lay can be the first constituency that will demonstrate that, despite the big proportion of foreign workers in the estate, we still have the young flocking to live here because we have got our fundamentals right.”

Citing examples of how foreign workers are included in community events in Boon Lay, Mdm Ho said the grassroots leaders have invited these workers to the community visit by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports on Nov 23.

On the economic crisis, she said more residents have been coming to her for financial help.

“I use to see about 60 people or so, but in recent weeks, the number has grown to around 80 … They mainly come because they are laid off or they can’t afford to pay for their utilities. Some cannot even find enough money to pay for their transportation to school and their workplaces.”

Mdm Ho hopes to raise $1 million for community development in Boon Lay by end-January.

The fund-raising activities include a charity dinner at which a new cookbook with residents’ recipes will be auctioned off.

Source : Today – 12 Nov 2008

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