Lucky Plaza to build flood barriers

Lucky Plaza – which was hit by flooding again last Friday – is in the process of installing flood barriers.

Its management told Channel NewsAsia it is in discussion with national water agency PUB and the relevant authorities.

It is unable to reveal further details.

Channel NewsAsia understands the project has been in the works since last year, when Singapore experienced one of its worst flooding in history.

But difficulties with building approval, caused delays.

Rain water gushed into Lucky Plaza’s basement during last Friday’s floods.

Shopkeepers scrambled to save their goods, and spent hours cleaning up the mess.

They also received a nasty surprise – a manhole was opened to allow the water to drain away, but sewage came bubbling up instead.

One person said: “The sewage started to overflow. It was stinking, it was real stinky, real stinky.The sight was really bad. It’s just like the sewage from the toilet.”

Another said: “The drainage got stuck, some stuff like that, that’s why the water overflowing.”

This is the third time in less than two years that Lucky Plaza’s basement has been hit by flooding.

The building’s management said it is exploring the idea of flood barriers to prevent surface runoff from entering the basement.

But before that is built, tenants said they hope to receive early warnings, so that they too, can take the necessary precautions.

Channel NewsAsia understands an earlier proposal to build flood barriers at a nearby bus stop was turned down.

It is believed approval was eventually granted for barriers to be built along the walkway, just outside the building.

A handover in project management caused further delays.

It is understood the project is now managed by Bruce James Building Surveyors, who took over from Ong and Ong Architects in March this year.

A tender has also yet to be called.

It is understood the barriers, which could stretch up to 100 metres to protect the facade of the building, could cost more than S$300,000 to install.

A permanent structure is also unlikely along the busy walkway, with a pop-up barrier the likely choice.

In the meantime, shopkeepers said they are using makeshift items, such as newspapers and plywood, to prevent water from entering their shops.

Liat Towers too, was not spared.

Although its flood gates were activated, its basement was still flooded.

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, a spokesperson for the building’s management said it has spent more than S$250,000 installing pumps and flood barriers, and improving the drainage system.

She added the problem appears to be “something more fundamental”, and claimed to have seen parts of Stamford Canal overflowing on Friday, which may have backed up the drainage at Liat Towers.

PUB, however, said Stamford Canal did not overflow.

It added the huge volume of rainwater could have exceeded the building’s pumping capacity.

PUB said it is studying the idea of building a detention pond and diversion canal for the Stamford catchment.

The study started in August this year, and will be done by May next year.

Until that happens, Orchard Road retailers are keeping their fingers crossed that a heavy rain doesn’t hit them again.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 27 Dec 2011

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