Town council taken to court over unlicensed CNY fair

Town council taken to court over unlicensed CNY fair

SINGAPORE - A town council is set to appear in court on Feb 18 for holding a Chinese New Year fair in Hougang Central from Jan 9 to 30 without a licence.

Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) said in a statement on Thursday that it received the summons from the National Environment Agency (NEA) earlier in the day.

The statement also said the Workers' Party-run town council had "initiated communications with the NEA over its intention to run the event since Dec 20 last year, with the nature of the community fair and the benefit to residents clearly stated".

"As the case against the (town council) is already fixed for court mention... it would not be appropriate to comment further on the matter at this time," it added.

Last month, a fair approved by the same town council had to cease operations as its organiser failed to get a relevant licence from NEA.

On Wednesday, the agency said it had sent AHPETC repeated formal reminders not to operate the fair at Hougang Central Hub without a licence.

Town councils are not allowed to engage in commercial activities, including the organisation and operation of fairs, as these are not related to their statutory function of management and maintenance of common property, said an NEA spokesman.

"All temporary fairs, regardless of organiser, must be licensed in order to protect the welfare of residents, secure public hygiene and reduce disamenities in public areas that do not have the infrastructure for prolonged commercial activities," he added. "AHPETC has continued to blatantly break the law and wilfully exposed their tenants to legal action."

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