Bird woes swoop down on retailers
Crows and mynahs displaced by Somerset redevelopment are noisy and leave droppings. -myp
by Kenny Chee
BIRDS at Orchard Road have become more of a nuisance to some retailers along Singapore's premier shopping belt, following redevelopment of the area.
'Since the redevelopment of the car park beside the Somerset train station, more birds and their droppings have been sighted at The Heeren Shops' outdoor food-and-beverage area and nearby pedestrian walkways,' saidMr Roland Lim, marcoms manager of Swee Cheng Management, The Heeren Shops' landlord.
Mr Lim told my paper that many locals, expatriates and tourists found the situation 'ugly and unhealthy', adding that the mall's customer-service desk had received negative feedback.
my paper understands that The Heeren Shops is one retail mall which has complained to the Orchard Road Business Association.
It is believed that, after the Somerset car park was redeveloped and trees at the site were removed, the birds that roosted there moved to areas around the Orchard Road and Grange Road junction, and beyond.
When my paper approached Mr Steven Goh of the association's secretariat, he painted a similar picture.
'Retailers have complained to us about about the smelly bird droppings and noise from the birds in Orchard Road,' he said.
He added that the large flocks of birds and bird droppings on pedestrian walkways are not in line with the image of Orchard Road.
Mr Lim agreed: 'Orchard Road has, most often, been touted to be (the equivalent of) New York's Fifth Avenue. Imagine reactions when people see the bird droppings.'
Business on Orchard Road has been slow in past weeks due to the financial turmoil, falling tourist numbers and rising Eletronic Road Pricing charges, according to media reports. Some people also think buskers, touts and sales promoters have caused Orchard Road to lose some of its lustre.
Employees in the area also felt that the birds may affect business.
A waiter at a cafe near Orchard Building told my paper: 'Black birds would disturb customers every afternoon and sometimes steal their food, so we have to replace the orders.'
The Orchard Road Business Association has informed the National Environment Agency (NEA).
An NEA spokesman told my paper that 300 crows and 1,500 mynahs roost along Orchard Road.
The agency will be stepping up its crow-culling operations in the surrounding areas of Orchard Road to reduce its numbers.
NEA and the respective landowners will also carry out periodic washing of the respective areas in Orchard Road affected by bird droppings, as part of their cleansing programmes.
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