9 in 10 residents oppose eldercare centre

Residents in a block in Woodlands are up in arms over the proposed construction of an eldercare day centre in the neighbourhood.

Out of the 60 five-room units in Block 861 at Woodlands Street 83, 53 opposed the move and have sent a petition to their Member of Parliament.

They fear the centre will cause their property prices to drop, and take up space in the void deck which is used for weddings and wakes, among other reasons.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is planning for the centre to be set up at the void decks of Blocks 860 and 861 at Woodlands Street 83.

The first of its kind in Woodlands, the 570 sq m centre is to be run by the Sree Narayana Mission.

But nearly nine in 10 residents in Block 861 are against the idea.

Ms Ellen Lee, MP for Sembawang GRC.

They submitted a petition to Ms Ellen Lee, MP for Sembawang GRC, last month.

TNP understands that the opposition against the centre is not as strong in Block 860.

Many of the Block 861 residents attended a meeting with her and Mr Michael Foo, chief executive of the Sree Narayana Mission, on Tuesday at the Woodlands Community Club.

During the two-hour meeting, the residents gave eight reasons for not wanting the centre in their void deck.

Madam Ainun Mohd Lahab, in her 40s, told TNP yesterday that very few of the residents have elderly parents living with them.

Said the preschool supervisor: "Most of the people living here are in their 30s. I applaud the mission for its work, but it should find a better space.

"There are larger vacant lots, with more greenery, elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Those would be more conducive for an eldercare centre."

Sales manager Jenny Chan, 45, said: "I'm concerned there will be more accidents happening here because of the traffic bringing elderly people in and out of the centre.

"There will also be very little space for weddings and wakes in the void decks if the centre were built here."

Said storeman Chua Yong Ngee, 50: "It could affect the price of our flats. If you were looking to buy a flat, would you choose one with an eldercare centre below or one without?"

Retiree Cheong Peng Kiat, 55, said: "I'm most upset that we were not consulted before the authorities decided where to build the centre."

(From left) Sales manager Jenny Chan, storeman Chua Yong Ngee, Retiree Cheong Peng Kiat.

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