SINGAPORE - Hougang residents will soon be able to watch a play, see a doctor and tuck in at a hawker centre, all within the same community club.
The one-stop facility is believed to be the first in Singapore and will be completed by early 2015, according to Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Yeo Guat Kwang, who oversees the club's location in Hougang Avenue 9.
Asked whether the project would serve as a model for future community clubs, he replied that it had not been decided. "But if we make it a success, then definitely we may see more."
The Government had said in April that the new Tampines Town Hub to be ready in 2015 will have a football field, swimming pool, library and even a performing arts centre.
But Hougang is believed to be the first neighbourhood to house town facilities and a hawker centre within one community club.
Mr Yeo said putting the amenities under one roof would allow the club to become a "natural focal point" for the community.
"It also makes it easier for residents to get all of the things they need in one area," he added.
He said the plan came about after several government agencies realised they were all looking for sites for projects in Hougang.
The National Environment Agency wanted to build a new hawker centre there as part of the Government's pledge to have 10 new ones by 2017, he said.
The Ministry of Health also planned to set up a primary health-care centre for the elderly.
The one-stop centre - which will include a 500-capacity arts centre - follows experts' recommendations to the Government on how to improve hawker centres.
In a report last year by a panel appointed by the authorities, the experts said: "Vibrancy in hawker centres could be further promoted through activities and programmes, such as co-locating them with tuition centres for poor families.
"A good mix of retail and household services such as locksmiths and cobblers next to the food stalls would also be convenient for shoppers."
Besides the Hougang club, Nee Soon Central also announced last week that its new community club will be housed in a shopping mall.
It will be completed by 2018.
Hougang residents said they hoped siting the amenities together would lower costs and lead to cheaper prices for them.
"The new club will definitely be more convenient for us, but we don't want to have to pay too much money to use these new facilities," said 60-year-old taxi driver Chng Ah Sang.
"A large number of the people who live in this estate are old and have no income. So as long as they're cheap and good, I'll welcome the new facilities at the community club."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.