Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

August 7, 2008

Chinatown Complex: Make it accessible to all

Filed under: Commercial,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:40 am

I REFER to the reply, ‘NEA working to improve ventilation in hawker centre’ (June 2). I am heartened to learn that the National Environment Agency (NEA) is taking steps to improve the poor air quality in that section of the upgraded wet market in Chinatown Complex.

I understand the NEA, the manager of this project, can begin construction work only when the proposed building plans have been approved by the authorities, especially the Singapore Civil Defence Force fire-safety department.

After incorporating any requirements into the plans and once they are finally cleared, NEA starts construction. I understand the constraints NEA faces, for example, working within the budget and meeting the completion deadline.

May I offer my humble suggestions to avoid problems like those in the wet market? It costs much more to retrofit a completed job than do it from scratch. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money and resources, and causes inconvenience to occupants.

After the building plans are cleared, the project team should do a final evaluation of whether requirements imposed by other authorities will affect the environment (especially air quality), accessibility and so on. If the answer is yes, take pre-emptive measures at the planning stage to solve the problem.

I live in Chinatown Complex and my mother is wheelchair-bound. There are many elderly and infirm folk in my block. Some are also wheelchair-bound.

I urge the planning committee and our MPs to take a personal interest in this upgrading so that accessibility for the physically challenged is not compromised.

I salute NEA for an excellent job incorporating numerous accessibility features in the upgraded Chinatown Complex. Going around in a wheelchair is now a breeze.

However, the old folk in my block await with trepidation the completion of the enclosed lift lobby on the ground floor. For more than 20 years, we have enjoyed an open-concept lift lobby. Old folk, some with weak limbs or in wheelchairs, can reach the lifts effortlessly.

To follow fire-safety rules, walls have been built around the lift lobby on the ground floor of the two apartment blocks and heavy doors are fixed at all staircases. Access to the lifts is now via two heavy fire doors – supposedly to be kept closed at all times.

Many old folk fear such imposing features will curtail their independence. Not to mention the wheelchair-bound who need someone to wheel them. If there is no one to hold the door open, they will be stranded.

Source : Straits Times – 12 Jun 2008

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