Upgrading of private estates with S$46m MND fund

The National Development Ministry has set aside S$46 million over the next three years to upgrade private estates in Singapore.

This will be carried out via two programmes – the Estate Upgrading Programme and the Interim Estate Upgrading Programme.

Six estates have been selected for the seventh batch of the Estate Upgrading Programme at an estimated cost of S$21 million. They are: Beng Wan, Moonstone Lane and St.Michael’s Estate, Cambridge Estate, Faber Hills Estate, Lucky Heights Estate, Roxy Estate and Jalan Mata Ayer Estate.

The Estate Upgrading Programme is targeted at older private estates and works include the upgrading of parks and playgrounds.

More than 5,000 households will benefit from the improved facilities.

National Development Minister, Mah Bow Tan, said that the age and physical condition of an estate are among the criteria used to select a site for upgrading.

“The third criteria would be the potential, what can we do, what can the other agencies do, like PUB looks at drainage, LTA for surfacing of roads, for lights. NParks for the parks. So we talk to other agencies as well. Because there’s such high demand, we also look at the overall geographical spread. We don’t want to have all the upgrading done in one area.”

Mr Mah noted that opposition-held wards will also get a slice of the private estate upgrading pie.

“We’ve already selected Potong Pasir, I don’t see any reason why we can’t select Hougang. But the main thing is, do they satisfy this criteria.”

Sennett Estate in Potong Pasir was selected for the Estate Upgrading Programme in 2003, and works completed in 2006.

Mr Mah was speaking to reporters after touring Hillview Garden Estate, which recently completed its upgrading works.

Costing some S$2 million, the nearly 500 homes now enjoy new parks, upgraded playgrounds and a community garden.

The estate’s neighbourhood committee chairman, Joseph Chen, said the improvements have helped strengthen community bonding.

“Residents are pleased because we have added in a lot of amenities. For example, we converted a piece of unused land into a park with a basketball court. And it’s through all these sports activities and gardening that residents bond together.”

The estate’s MP, Ang Mong Seng, said that since the upgrading, property prices in the area have increased by 20 to 30 per cent.

29,000 households in 38 estates have benefitted from the Estate Upgrading Programme to date, at a cost of S$117 million.

To complement the Estate Upgrading Programme, the Interim Estate Upgrading Programme allows private estates to carry out small-scale improvements such as the building of ramps and footpaths.

A total of S$25 million has been set aside and MND said that close to S$3 million worth of works has been approved.

The money was award to 49 Citizens’ Consultative Committees, who had to submit proposals for improvement works.

Some 200,000 households will be able to enjoy new facilities by the second quarter of next year.

In addition, MND is collaborating with national water agency, PUB,to integrate Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) design features into the overall design of the EUP upgrading plans as part of the ABC Waters Programme.

MND and PUB have selected Windsor Park Estate for the pilot project, and are in the process of selecting a second estate that could see features such as rain gardens, bio-retention swales and wetlands with plants and soil that help to treat rain water so that cleaner waters flow into drains and canals, and eventually Singapore’s water reservoir.

HDB projects such as Skyville@Dawson, Skyterrace@Dawson,the Punggol Waterway and Greenwood Sanctuary, a neighbourhood park at Woodlands also boast ABC Waters design features.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 2 Dec 2010

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