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Tampines resident questions Town Council on decision to limit access to garden

A Tampines resident wrote an email to The Online Citizen (TOC) earlier in August about a garden which she cannot access due to it being locked. The garden in mention is located near Block 136, just beside the Tampines Town Council Building.

She wrote, “I came across a very nice garden built and maintained apparently by the Town Council, but when I tried to enter the gate, it was locked. When I approached the staff, they said it is for Town Council personnel use and the kindergarten usage only.”

“I found it quite disturbing because if the garden was built, maintained and solely for the private enjoyment of Town Council members and the kindergarten, using public funds, is this very fair?”

So to clarify the matter, TOC contacted the Town Council on the same day and managed to have a phone interview on the following day.

The Town Council explained that the garden is a small garden and has been locked ever since the Town Council was started. The Town Council uses the garden for its events and is not used by grassroots for their events.

The Town Council also states that it uses the garden to test out new gardening methods and for training its landscape workers.

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Indeed, if one were to look outside of the garden, there is a sign that writes, "Tampines Town Council Garden".

However, after explaining this to the resident, the resident replied, “I had gone into the garden which was unlocked usually over the weekends for months already, as it was pleasantly upkept.”

“Suddenly, last weekend, the two entrances to the garden was locked,” she said. “When we approached the staff at the counter, they said it was for town council use as well as the kindergarten private operator use only.”

“We have not seen any events being held at that garden, nor was it used by the kindergarten during my walk usually in the mornings of weekends. Our concern is that why must it be locked when there are no events nor in use by the landscape people?”

“Why deprive the public to use the garden which is funded by public money?” asked the resident. She goes on to comment, “We, the public can fully understand that if there are any private events or in use by the kindergarten, it can be temporarily restricted, but why block the public to enjoy the garden 24/7?”

She commented further, “If the garden is maintained using public funds, why restricted to only a few to enjoy the garden?"

After forwarding the resident's response to the Town Council, the management wanted to contact the resident to clarify the matter. TOC then forwarded the email of the resident to the Town Council after seeking permission from the resident.

However, till today, after the Town Council received the email, the resident said that she has not been contacted by the Town Council and neither has TOC heard from the Town Council since.