Fernvale columbarium: Dr Lam says residents must understand , accept and move off else no discussion

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, a resident retorts Dr Lam Pin Min, MP for Sengkang West’s comment of URA guidelines allow a columbarium at the estate, by saying that “Why are civil servants not taking in account of our sensitivity?”

Dr. Lam goes on to say that the residents have to accept the fact that the site has been earmarked for Chinese temple and it is allowed to have up to 20% of the gross floor area as columbarium and that they “must understand , accept and move off.” else “there is really no discussion.”

Read the full report of the dialogue session here.

Below is the transcript of the video


View the earlier part of the video here

Dr. Lam: Ok, wait. So the first big issue that we talk about is that this piece of land, Chinese temple plus minus columbarium service. right?

Resident John Tan: Plus childcare plus kindergarten

Dr. Lam: Plus childcare plus kindergarten ok, plus ancillary services there are so many uses huh. ok?

So the general consensus I wouldn’t say everybody would agree that we can have, we should have columbarium service in Chinese temple but I would say that you know?

For the first issue, if there is a chinese temple alright? With columbarium service of not more than 20% of the GFA (Gross Floor Area) this is a acceptable norm. Any doubts about that?

Ok. (resident interrupts) now wait wait. ok?

The big issue is that Chinese temple plus minus twenty percent columbarium used

John Tan: Childcare centre used

Dr. Lam: Ok, plus others lar huh. Because according to URA guidelines lar. Ten percent childcare centre, others blah. This is acceptable. It is in the URA guidelines. We cannot refute it. ok?

(Video start) Resident: So even there is guidelines, even there is guidelines, why is such services inside. That is the crux of the issue here.

Dr. Lam: So we are going back to the argument… Now we go back to the argument

Resident: Look at the plan you showed me, that is another Chinese temple across the road.

fernvale leu two temples
Two proposed Chinese temple in Fernvale

Dr. Lam: So we go…

Resident: Why are civil servants not taking in account of our sensitivity?

That and hiding all these under disclaimers as small print. We are not worried about having a Chinese temple or columbarium, that is not the real issue. The issue is the location of it.

You see, what people have said that it will lose its value and the value will come down and all these. These are all boiling up but why such services at this place? Why not across the road?

Across the road at Fernvale. There is no more development there, I know that, I have been there many many times.

Dr. Lam: Ya but when there is a BTO there.

Resident: But..why.. No, as our representative, what are you going to do about it?

Dr. Lam: Ok, wait huh. So now we boil down to the same issue why there, why have. So we go down to that argument huh, then there is really no resolution.

Because like I said everything that we build there, there will always be people who would say why there, why not this, why not that. Like I brought up an example of a childcare centre. ok?

Another resident off screen: But are there [inaudible] or hawkercentre?

Dr. Lam: Because people don’t want a childcentre. (in an exasperated tone)

(This caused the residents to go into an outroar)

Another moderator from the panel interrupts and said, “Mister, can I ask that you allow Mr Lam to finish his answer because you all are asking a lot of questions. Let him finish please?

John Tan: If you run Chinese temple with childcare, are you making more money than you are running this? Or the other way round? Obviously is the other way around right? There is why you are building a Chinese temple with a columbarium. Why not you build a Chinese temple with childcare centre? Why you don’t make money? Why you don’t make money?

Dr. Lam: So we go down to the first issue lar. ok?

What I am trying to clarify or to make everybody understand is that, you know?

The fact that this site has been earmarked for Chinese temple and it is allowed to have up to 20% and I mean this is something that is a fact, you know?

It has been practiced all along. Some temples we have, some do not have , it depends on the temple who is running the place. So if you go down back to the article, why even have temple, why even have columbarium, then we really arel not advancing the discussion.

I mean to be honest, I am not trying to defend or anything so we just want to clarify that yes there is a Chinese temple allocated, the Chinese temple whoever bid for it will use up to 20% for columbarium, 10% for kindergarten, blah blah blah blah blah all these. ok?

Whether they make money or not it is not up to me to decide ok? Whether the religious organisation make money or not ok? So this is the first big issue that all of us must understand , accept and move off.

Ok? because if not there is really no discussion. Because if we boil down to the first issue , why even have temple then I can’t answer you that. Sorry about that.