Fernvale columbarium: Sengkang West MP says residents will resist no matter what is planned

Over 400 future residents of Fernvale Lea and residents of Fernvale link turned up for  dialogue session called by Dr Lam Pin in, MP of Seng Kang West SMC after concerns from the residents came up to him about the planned Chinese temple and columbarium at Fernvale Link.

The dialogue session also had representatives of the Life Corporation Pte Ltd, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing Development Board (HDB).

Many of the Fernvale Lea’s future residents were alarmed to know from news that their estate or soon-to-be-completed homes are to be situated next to a Chinese temple, which would house a columbarium within its premises.

In the above video posted online, Dr Lam Pin Min, MP for Sengkang west tries to convince the residents that there will be no funeral parlour at the planned Chinese temple and that the residents should have seen the fine prints on the brochure that the ancillary services listed for the Chinese temple allows columbarium to be operated within the premises.

He further added that residents would complain no matter what is being proposed to be built at the estate, whether is it childcare or etc.

A resident by the name of John Tan countered his claims and disagreed that the residents would object to any other facilities built at their estate.

Read the full report of the dialogue session here.

Below is the transcript of the video for the second half of the video. (Read the first part here)


Dr. Lam: That is beside the point. I think what is important is that you know.. as the MP of Sengkang West. My duty is to address your concern, to speak up for my residents and to protect our interest. Alright?

Take for example, if let say..err.. URA or HDB were to say, lets change this particular site that has been tendered for Chinese temple and change it to a crematorium. You think I will let it? Obviously I would not. I would be the first one to make noise and say how can you put up a crematorium in the middle of a residential estate? So that is also in my interest to protect because I have to answer to my residents.

John Tan: Yes, I understand that, that is your duty. But let’s look at it this way. How many of us know that there is going to be columbarium next to our flat, anybody saw the small print or fine print? No?

(Residents say no in unision)

Everyone know it as a Chinese temple. ok?

Now, what is the projected earning for the next five years for your company? Because you are telling me you don’t want to run it for profit and all that. Hey, you are a listed company you know? You are always making money, how can you say that you are not making money? What is the projected income for the next five years? (Residents applause)

Dr. Lam: Err.. shall we just bring back to our discussion. Just now as I was asking alright, after this dialog, we want to make a few things very clear, alright?

This piece of land has been tendered out for a Chinese Temple, alright? There will be no funeral services as far as I am aware for the next thirty years, this land has been tendered out. There will not be funeral services. Ok? This is one thing I want to clarify.

Secondly, there will be no cremation services. As far as I am aware. ok? I cannot tell you things that I don’t know but as far I am aware I am not here to blast or anything like that. As far I am aware there will not be funeral services, there will not be cremation services. ok?

Thirdly, this piece of land has been tendered off for a Chinese Temple, a place of worship, ok? ok?

And in the brochure, alright? and also in the URA guidelines, I have also just flashed it out alright in places of worship there are ancillary uses ok?

And one of the ancillary uses is a columbarium with not more than 20% of GFA (Gross Floor Area). Ok? This are facts that are in the URA, it is in the brochure. We are not here to hide or bluff. Ok? Alright?

I mean those of you who brought the Fernvale here, you have the brochure it is written there. We are not hiding anything.

Of course we have the resident’s feedback, oh why can’t you have a site plan where the picture is, put there Chinese temple stroke (/) columbarium blah blah blah that kind of thing.

Alright? Err…I mean if you look at the approved ancillary uses. Alright? It can be for conference room, library, kindergarten, childcare centre services, blah blah blah. ok?

Then of course the next question, are we supposed to put all of these into the site map? Alright? Because to be honest with you, although we are sitting now discuss about ancillary service for columbarium. alright?

If let say for example, in my past experience. Alright?

When we build a childcare centre or a kindergarten, I face resistance from residents. it is not just columburium.

When I say we are going to put a childcare centre or a kindergarten in this place i have faced resistance from residents

Resident shout: “I think that is beside the point already”

Dr. Lam: No wait wait let me finish first.

John: if you are talking about no put on the site plan, are you telling me that the site plan is so small, you cannot put all these words in? You can’t put it inside there? You can!

There is only a chinese temple, there is so much space left. Why must you hide it in fine print? Let us all know that you are going to have a stroke (/) columbarium stroke (/) childcare stroke (/) whatever we can always make up our mind after that right?

Why put it in fine print? it is the same as the Sim Lim Trader like that what.
You are cheating us (Residents applause)

Dr Lam: I mean, Of course we can put every single uses, let say there is 1000,we will put 1000 and it will become a fine print ok? We will not argue that. So what i am trying to say is that Because one of the questions is that is HDB trying to hide. Of course it is not

John: Obviously it is. If you put it out, do you think how many of us will apply for the flat here. How many?

(Loud applause from residents)

Dr. Lam: Ok let me finish. Because like I said, you know, even childcare centre or kindergarten alright? We have faced resistance also and one of the reasons that i often receive, “my child has grown, I don’t need a childcare centre”, as simple as that ok? Because to the resident she doesn’t need it.

John: As I said, if you build a childcare centre now, all of us will shout yes! (residents applause)

Dr. Lam: Of course some people will want some people will not.

John: Or you can put as a kindergarten we also say yes!

(Resident shout wet market)

Oh yes, wet market dry market, hawker centre, we all say yes!

Another resident cuts in with his question and Dr. Lam did not reply to John’s comment.