'Unfair to residents': Homeowners in Mandai divided over proposed columbarium complex, impact on property prices

'Unfair to residents': Homeowners in Mandai divided over proposed columbarium complex, impact on property prices
Springside View is just under a kilometre away from the proposed columbarium's location.
PHOTO: Google Maps

Mandai's no ghost town - but perhaps it may be in the future.

Some residents there have aired their grievances after the government announced a proposal to build a new columbarium complex in Mandai, Today reported on Monday (Dec 25).

The announcement was made by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Dec 18, highlighting a proposal to construct a columbarium complex at the intersection of Mandai Avenue and Sembawang Road.

But some residents there haven't been too happy with this suggested development due to the effect it could have on their property prices.

Speaking with Today, Hong Heng Mansions resident Koh felt that this could impede the sales of properties in the area.

"If this columbarium plan comes true, it would further dampen our chances of having a collective sale," he said.

Hong Heng Mansions was put up for collective sale by tender for $133 million in February but no buyer has been found as yet, The Business Times reported that month.

Some residents also told Today that the columbarium complex would be bad for the feng shui of the area and posited that NEA could construct the columbarium complex elsewhere.

Resident Toh, who lives in a landed property in the area, felt that a columbaria and other sensitive construction projects ought to take place as far away from residential areas as possible.


"I think there’s a lot more land towards Upper Seletar Reservoir they can choose from." Toh told Today. "It doesn’t have to be this particular location."

Adding that he's been a resident of the area for over two decades, Toh said: "When we bought the property back then, we decided on it because the area here is very breezy and peaceful. But now they (the Government) suddenly want to build another columbarium, it’s not fair to residents here."

According to NEA, this site was selected following consultations with agencies and took into consideration multiple factors including the impact on surrounding traffic and developments in the area. 

An environmental impact assessment and feasibility study will also take place prior to the finalisation of development plans.

Despite the displeasure expressed by many residents, some have also shared their support for the construction of the columbarium complex.

"We live around columbariums, there's no concern," a resident who chose to remain anonymous told Today.

Another resident, surnamed Poh, argued that this is unavoidable in a land-scarce Singapore, and that a small place to pay respects to loved ones is acceptable.

"I hope we can influence Singaporeans to be a bit less self-centred, more civic-minded, and to think more logically."

Not in my backyard

This isn't the first time residents have voiced concerns regarding the construction of a columbarium complex in their area.

In 2015, residents of the Fernvale Lea BTO were upset by the planned construction of a Chinese temple-cum-columbarium in the vicinity of their HDB flats, The Straits Times reported.

Many residents attended a dialogue with former Sengkang West SMC MP Dr Lam Pin Min, also asking for refunds on their BTO purchase from the Housing Development Board.

The plug was eventually pulled on the development of the columbarium but the plans for a Chinese temple went ahead.

In October that year, the non-profit voluntary welfare organisation Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society won the bid for the plot of land, constructing a temple which opened to the public in May 2019, according to The Straits Times.

The temple, which reportedly houses a library with books on various religions and hosts religious talks, also consists a "hall of filial piety" which holds ancestral tablets inscribed with names of the dead.

ALSO READ: HDB resident complains about loud funeral music but netizens urge for 'give and take'


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