In light of the Government’s imposition of stricter measures amid the COVID-19 in Singapore, Parc Emily Condominium had suspended some of its facilities and implemented social distancing measures with immediate effect.
On 25 March, the condominium management circulated a notice of information to its residents, stating that the 11th Council of Parc Emily has unanimously decided to implement several measures in the condominium, including immediate suspension on booking of the function halls, barbeque pits, KTV, gymnasium, as well as reducing suntan loungers to advocate social distancing.
“These measures are by far the least extreme and may be revised depending on the global pandemic situation and government action plans,” said the condo manager, Michael Chia in the circular.
However, Mr Chia also noted that there are no plans to restrict the use of tennis courts and swimming pools at the moment.
“We would also like to advise that you exercise prudence individually on social distancing. To avoid unnecessary group gatherings in the common area, playgroup gatherings by toddlers/babies with their respective minders,” he asserted.
The condominium management also urged the residents who are issued with the stay-at-home quarantine order to comply strictly with the requirement.
Following that, one of the residents in Parc Emily Condominium wrote to TOC on 26 March to voice out concerns and stated that the Council of Parc Emily has voted to “lockdown” the condominium ‘until further notice’ without any polls nor discussion with the residents beforehand.
“There was no polling of residents, no discussion, no warning or advisory. The eight members of the council decided what to do and proceeded to put it into action,” the resident said.
The resident further noted that there was no council meeting on deciding the implementation of the measures and residents were not able to vote on it as it was made “behind close doors”.
“Residents are quite capable of exercising their own judgment on what is responsible and safe behavior based on official government guidelines – that is what the task force was set up to do – we do not need despot management councils making up their own errant rules which oppose those of the authorities,” the resident explained.
The resident had also asked the condo manager to open for a discussion between residents and the committee but the request was declined.
“The other residents I have spoken to are also surprised and upset. I am starting a petition this weekend to challenge the decisions and hope to gain many signatures,” the resident added.
Although the management’s decision was of good intention, the resident pointed out the contradictions of the measures being taken and the issues that may happen. For instance, residents are unable to use the condo’s facilities but outsiders are still able to access the condo, such as the cleaning and gardening workers who turn up to work every day.
“Maids of residents – and I daresay of the council members too – are free to congregate downstairs in groups or in the park behind the condo. Groups of children are playing together in makeshift kindergartens around the pool areas every day. Residents are still having pool parties,” the resident stated.
It added, “Thus, rather than direct their efforts to some of the real issues, such as asking the government to halt the import of covid-19 cases into Singapore from overseas or locking down Singapore completely (the malls and mrt would be a good start) the management council of Parc Emily are flexing their muscle in their own little fiefdom instead.”
The resident also questioned the council’s authorisation on the measures being implemented in the condo.
“The government has not yet issued any decision to close public gymnasiums or BBQ areas, nor is it is enforcing social distancing which remains an advisory, which means the Parc Emily condo council is enforcing rules beyond those of the nation,” the resident remarked.
Additionally, the resident suggested enforcing a consistent policy for all housing developments by the relevant authorities, instead of letting independent management councils who are not qualified to make such decisions.
“I think condo managements making their own draconian rules such as locking down developments under the umbrella of a “corporate entity” outside of official government rules is a very bad precedent,” the resident stated.
The resident has also brought the matter to the Strata Titles Board, the Building and Construction Association (BCA), the Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, Minister Gan Kim Yong, and Minister Ng Chee Meng.
“I tried to put some letters up at the condo to ask residents to consider the key points but the condo management swiftly took those down,” the resident noted.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health has responded to the resident’s queries and said that it has requested the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to look into the matter.