Let Tanglin Halt market move with us: Residents

Let Tanglin Halt market move with us: Residents
The petition started by neighbours Shirley Soh (left) and Alice Lee has garnered more than 100 signatures so far. It will be submitted to MP Chia Shi-Lu after 500 signatures are obtained.

SINGAPORE - More than 100 Queenstown residents have signed a petition calling for a popular wet market in Tanglin Halt to move with them to their new estate in 2020.

They are among some 3,480 households in 31 blocks along Tanglin Halt and Commonwealth Drive affected by the latest Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers).

Long-time residents, housewives Shirley Soh and Alice Lee, both 66, started the petition, which they will present to Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Chia Shi-Lu after obtaining 500 signatures.

Residents will be offered new flats at five sites in Dawson estate along Margaret Drive, Dawson Road and Strathmore Avenue. But the 157 market and hawker stalls at Tanglin Halt Market at Block 48A will not move with them. Instead, they will be rehoused at Commonwealth Drive - more than 20 minutes away from Dawson estate on foot.

The Commonwealth Drive site is currently occupied by a food centre that will eventually move to Margaret Drive and serve Dawson estate residents, who will also get a supermarket, said HDB.

However, the Commonwealth food centre lacks a wet market, unlike the one at Tanglin Halt.

Ms Soh said older residents would rather patronise a wet market. "It is a pity that the planners situated it so far away from us. As older folk, it will be difficult to walk and carry groceries back."

Ms Lee said wet markets offer fresh food at lower prices.

Tanglin Halt Market butcher Loh Tong Kwan, 63, predicts that business will be affected by the move to Commonwealth, as the bulk of his long-time customers will be moving to Dawson estate.

Said Mr Loh: "It would be better if we are relocated to the Dawson estate where we can serve the older folk at their doorstep."

But fellow butcher Goo Ah Kin, 70, said stallkeepers cannot afford to depend on older residents alone. "Customers do come from other estates. The new market could revitalise the area and attract even more people from surrounding neighbourhoods."

Ultimately, Ms Lee and Ms Soh hope the petition will help call attention to the needs of seniors in the neighbourhood. For instance, it is also asking for a POSB bank branch to be built in their new estate as some elderly residents do not know how to use ATMs.

Dr Chia, the estate's MP, said the supermarket in Dawson could have a wet section. "There are space constraints to think of at the new site. However, we are prepared to explore the possibility of having a wet market and will put it out to HDB to consider."

This article was first published on August 12, 2014.
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