Future Sengkang residents are furious that a columbarium will be built near their homes come 2016. They are especially angry at Singapore’s Housing Development Board, and accuse it of masking information of the development.
Owners of the Fernvale Link Build-to-Order flats are especially anxious. Many claim they were not told of this columbarium development when they chose to buy their flats. They said it wasn’t mentioned on the HDB’s website, and in the BTO sales booklet.
Many also said that if they had known about this earlier, they wouldn’t have chose to live there as it would be “living too close to the dead”, and the existence of a columbarium might bring down the value of their HDB flats.
The HDB, and Urban Redevelopment Authority have dismissed the mounting public anger and concern. They say the town map and site plan which viewers were issued
The columbarium will be built by Life Corporation, an Australian funeral services company, and integrated with a Chinese temple in the area.
Redwire Checks – No mention!
A check on the HDB website shows that a Chinese temple was designated to be built near Fernvale Link. There’s no mention of any columbarium on the map, or in any written information on the Fernvale Link BTO.
However, in the fine print, it does state that places of worship might include a columbarium. This picture was magnified by 4 times on a 24inch monitor before the text could be seen clearly.
Besides complaints received by Redwire, many future homeowners have also complained to state media outlets such as the Straits Times that they were not made aware of the colombarium:
“If the plan was to have a columbarium there, then it should be written properly in the booklet,” human resources executive Josephine Soh, 28, told The Straits Times. She would be moving into Fernvale Lea next year.
Singaporeans, Learn NOT to Trust the HDB So Easily
For now, the issue isn’t about potential housing prices, or whether a densely-packed housing estate should also house a place for the dead. Rather, it’s about the responsibility of the HDB to give homeowners full information, so they can make the best decision for their families.
It appears to be a sneaky move, given the timing of the columbarium development. It’s even going to be built up faster than the first BTO’s in the area! Surely, the HDB must have had this planned, no?
Of course, homeowners should have scrutinised the fine print. But the fine print released by the HDB is so fine, so vague, and so ambiguous that it begs suspicion.
Even 4 NUS graduates which Redwire showed this to didn’t expect that a columbarium would be built. What about others who aren’t as skilled in the English language? It’s just not stated upfront that “And yes, homeowners, expect a columbarium to be coming your way”.
Transparency on the HDB’s part is dead where this issue is concerned. And our forefathers who inked the value of fairness in our Singapore pledge must be turning in their graves at such an injustice, or plain insensitivity on the part of the HDB.