Sunday, 8 July 2012

Community Dialogue Day - Sengkang West to Grow 80% by 2015

As a Grassroots Leader, one of the highlights of the year, is the annual Community Dialogue Day. Aside from the regular local 'meet the people' sessions with Dr Lam Pin Min, the Dialogue Day offers the opportunity for residents to share their observations or concerns, ask questions and feedback on issues that affect the community as a whole.



Along with the local MP, Dr Lam, Mr Raymond Chua, BBM(L) (Chairman of the CCC) and Mr Benny Thio, PBM (Chairman of the CCMC - of which I am a member), the group of panelists also included representatives from LTA (Ms Margarita Loh) and the AMK Town Council (Mr Chris Goh).



The morning began on Sunday, 8th July at 9am, at which time breakfast was served and residents and Grassroots representatives from the various Sengkang West zones were offered the chance to network and engage informally.

By around 10am, the Anchorvale Community Club Multi-Purpose Hall was quite full, and the dialogue session commenced.

Dr Lam began with a short presentation of the various activities and events that have taken place over the previous 12-months, along with insights into the significant number of improvements, constructions and beneficial changes that have occurred, are currently being undertaken or are slated to begin, looking out through this year, into to 2013 and out to 2015 and even 2018.

Although I consider myself well versed and knowledgable in what 'has', 'is', and 'will be' taking place in my local community, I must say I was nothing less than amazed at the various things covered off in this presentation of which I was not aware.

For example, I have always described Sengkang West to friends, colleagues and readers of my blog, as 'one of the fastest growing communities in Singapore'. If only I had truly understood the speed at which we are growing!!

I learned today, that Sengkang West will grow in size (population) by a staggering 80% by the year 2015!! That is a huge increase by anyone's standards.

Of course, I have seen the new estates and blocks pop up over the last three years, have been aware of the massive improvements in public transport, increases in covered walkways, and witnessed the many upgrading activities. But not until today, did I understand how much was still yet to come.

The following is a listing of the HDB estates being built just in Fernvale (the west side of Sengkang West, and where our home is).



This does not include those opening up in Anchorvale, the H2O residences (first private condo in the constituency), the upcoming EC in Fernvale Lane (opposite our block on the Fernvale side and opposite Greenwich V on the YCK Road side) and of course, the new schools on the way in 2013, the hospital that will be completed by around 2018, the new shopping mall being built on the vacant block next door to Fernvale Point (which will be 2/3 the size of Compass Point), and to accomodate all of this, the further planned improvements to public transport, and even new roads being built - including the current construction to move traffic off Jalan Kayu and on to a parallel 'feeder' to the TPE direct from Yio Chu Kang Road.

GET YOUR HEAD AROUND ALL OF THAT, MY FRIENDS!!



At the outset of the dialogue, it was made clear to all that the day would be better framed as a 'sharing and feedback' session than straight 'dialogue'. Residents were encouraged to pose questions to the panel and to share their observations openly and candidly.

All credit to everyone in attendance... the 'sharing' and 'openness' was in fact just that! It lasted until around 12:30pm in the afternoon, at which time lunch was served.

It is fair to say, that it would be easy for such a session to easily turn out to be an opportunity for concerned or dissatisifed residents to air any grievances in perhaps a not so 'healthy manner'... once again all kudos to those in attendance for civility and contructiveness!

Among the issues raised and the questions posed, were concerns of a (new to SW) 'working mother' with child care opportunities in the area, school enrolments and inefficiency of transportation.

Also, a non-working mother asking about subsidies; Residents seeking clarification on the GST credit program; questions surrounding CCTV in elevators and how to curb bicycle theft in particular estates; how one local high school will be cutting Tamil and Malay classes in 2013 and another local primary school leaving the exhaust fans on in their kitchen areas late at night causing enough noise that some residents have lost valuable sleep - All of which were answered well by Dr Lam and the panel and with an intimate amount of knowledge. For a couple of items, clarification will be sought by the appropriate departments / functions and the residents will be advised of the response and actions.



A couple of common themes surrounded transportation (notably the 163 bus service), and how the operators will cope with the huge increase in population by 2015, and health services (the three 'M's).

Nearer the end of the session, one gentleman hailing originally from Beijing and now a 10-year citizen of Singapore, put forward his concerns over many issues from over-crowded transportation and taxation thresholds to importing of foreign talent. All points were noted and very well answered and dealt with by the panel.

As well as gaining personal value and insights from the entire session, I was very glad to meet up and have some 1-on-1 time with residents that I already knew (surpringly, quite a large number), as well as quite a few I was meeting for the very first time.



Also encouraging, was the large number of attendees (in a non-election year) - it goes to show you how passionate this community of Sengkang West is. We may be growing at a huge rate of knots, but with the input and feedback of the people on the ground, Sengkang West will be able to pre-empt the waves before they hit the shore.

It is quite clear to me, that the constituency is already way ahead of the curve, and it makes me proud (as I have always said) to shout the catch phrase out loud - "Sengkang West - Our Home"!

Click here to view more photos from the Community Dialogue Day

No comments: