Fund for national monuments gets $7m boost

Fund for national monuments gets $7m boost

A GOVERNMENT scheme that co-funds restoration and maintenance work for national monuments has received a $7 million boost.

Over the next five years, 31 religious and non-profit national monuments can tap $12 million from the National Monuments Fund - more than double the first tranche of $5 million provided when the scheme was introduced in 2008.

The fund will also include a new maintenance component, which non-profit monument owners can apply for to alleviate some of the costs of upkeep and prevent deterioration, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said in Parliament yesterday.

The maintenance component can be used to fund preventive measures to preserve monuments and potentially curb expensive restoration costs in the long run.

For instance, it can be used to fund regular checks for termites and water penetration problems.

The funding cap per application has been raised from $1 million to $1.5 million.

During the ministry's budget debate, Mr David Ong (Jurong GRC) asked what was being done to preserve the country's heritage, such as its heritage sites and national monuments.

Professor James Boss, chairman of St Joseph's Church's restoration committee, welcomed the ministry's move to inject more funds into this area, especially for maintenance.

The church, which was gazetted a national monument in 2005, recently completed a $1 million restoration of its century-old stained glass windows.

Prof Boss noted that soil movement from developments could considerably damage the structures of some old buildings in Singapore.

"Along the way, work can be done on these structures to upkeep and maintain their appearance," he said.

This article was first published on Mar 13, 2015.
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