March 4, 2007


Coming first to Queenstown: 'Housing in a park'

Construction of new HDB estate at Dawson area expected to begin in 3 to 4 years

By Li Xueying

BOUNDED BY MARGARET DRIVE AND ALEXANDRA CANAL, the new estate will include gymnasium areas, childcare centres in void decks as well as underground carparks. It is part of a $1 billion government programme to make over old estates into 'new-generation public housing'.

OPEN your windows to sky gardens in the next block.

And imagine streams in gardens along void decks.

These are no longer just the stuff of dreams for Housing Board (HDB) flat-dwellers.

They will become reality. And the first to enjoy them will be residents of the Dawson area in Queenstown.

Minister of State (National Development) Grace Fu said yesterday that construction of the estate is expected to start within three to four years.

It will be built on plots of vacant land cleared following the demolition of rental flats in the 1980s and the Selective Enbloc Redevelopment Scheme since the 1990s.

Bounded by Margaret Drive and Alexandra Canal, the estate will include underground carparks, childcare centres in void decks and gymnasium areas.

No other details are available yet, but an HDB spokesman said that an exhibition of the plans will be held later this year.

This concept of 'housing in a park' - mirroring the national vision of Singapore as a 'city in a garden' - is part of a $1 billion programme to make over old estates into 'new-generation public housing'.

Said Ms Fu: 'With some of our flats reaching 40 to 50 years old over the coming years, it is timely for us to carry out total redevelopment of some of our HDB heartlands.'

These will also include environmentally friendly features such as centralised chutes to facilitate recycling. Integrated covered linkways will also make for a barrier-free environment.

Ms Fu said the features will not compromise the ministry's commitment to affordable public housing.

She added that the new estates will encourage community participation.

Dawson residents are hopeful about what the new- generation estates mean for them.

Said store coordinator Mohan K. Velayupham, 45, who lives in Strathmore Avenue: 'The prices of these flats will probably be higher and we may not be able to afford them.

'But our next generation will have the chance to live in them. Also, it will probably boost the valuation of our flats as more people will want to move into our area.'

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