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Leaks and millipedes dropping from roof: Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre stallholders upset over building's structure

Leaks and millipedes dropping from roof: Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre stallholders upset over building's structure
A temporary protective cover has been placed on the roof over the Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre, said a spokesperson from Sport Singapore.
PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

The new eco-friendly Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre in Sembawang may be designed with a beautiful rooftop garden, but not all are happy with the building's green structure.

At least four hawkers at the 800-seat food centre, which opened last December, have complained about rainwater leaks and even bugs dropping from the ceiling, reported Lianhe Zaobao.

One stallholder, surnamed Luo, told Zaobao that as a result of the ceiling's "poor design", water would "seep through the gaps" whenever it rained.

"When there's a downpour, it looks like a waterfall," she complained. 

In preparation for rainy days, the 47-year-old owner of Pangkor Island Nasi Lemak shared that she would always open two umbrellas and place them upside down on the structural beam above the stall to "catch" the rainwater.

But this method doesn't always work, especially during a heavy downpour, said Luo.

Luo, who used to run an online business, told Zaobao that she took a $40,000 loan to set up the stall due to the proximity of the hawker centre, but she never expected to encounter such issues.

She shared how a heavy downpour last week during the wee hours of April 17 had soaked her stall, despite her best efforts.

The rain had also previously damaged her cash register and electric cooker. One time, she even had to throw away 5kg of cooked nasi lemak.

The damages, in addition to the times where she was unable to open the stall as a result of the water seepage, has caused her to suffer significant financial losses.

Besides enduring leaks about three or four times on average a month, Luo added that whenever the rooftop irrigation system is activated or when workers are doing repairs on the roof, drops of water, dirt or even millipedes would fall.

She shared how one time, water from the ceiling dripped into a pot of hot oil causing its contents to splatter, which had both her and her husband running for cover.

To mitigate the issue, Luo is now considering buying a tarp to cover the roof of their stall. "I've given feedback to the authorities but have not seen much improvement. I intend to complain to the MP," said Luo.

Reinforcement works ongoing: SportSG 

Other stallholders too, echoed Luo's complaints, reported Zaobao.

The stallholder of Yu Kee Braised Duck shared how rainwater had once dripped onto the fluorescent light tubes, causing a short circuit.

The proprietor of Granny's Thunder Tea too, shared of instances where water from the ceiling had dripped onto customers' food at the counter. For hygiene purposes, they had no choice but to prepare a fresh bowl.

Another stall owner who did not wish to be named shared how he had to throw away ingredients contaminated by rain water on three occasions since the hawker centre opened.


The losses each time it happened amounted to about $300, he shared.

"There was some improvement after workers conducted some repair works on the rooftop, hopefully it won't happen again," he added.

In response to queries by Zaobao, a spokesperson from Sport Singapore (SportSG) shared that they are aware of the issue and apologised to the affected stallholders and customers.

The spokesperson stated that they had informed hawkers on March 27 that the ongoing roof reinforcement works to prevent water seepage will be completed by end-July.

They added that protective coverings have been placed on the roof as a temporary measure, and care has been taken that they do not become dislodged during heavy rain.

In addition, measures have also been taken to rein in the millipede situation.

The spokesperson emphasised that the SportSG's main concern is in alleviating the inconveniences caused to the affected stallholders.

It also sought the understanding and patience of the hawkers, assuring them that it is taking the necessary measures to prevent such disruptions in the future.

ALSO READ: Some stalls at new Sembawang hawker centre charging up to 80 cents for takeaway containers. Here's why

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