SINGAPORE — Residents in HDB Block 639, Jurong West Street 61 have been waiting for over two years for the completion of a “residents’ corner” on the ground floor of the building.
Mr Lu, a 78-year-old resident, expressed his disappointment to Shin Min Daily News, stating that the construction has been ongoing since the end of 2020 but has yet to be finished.
According to Mr Lu, the area under construction was meant to be a place for elderly residents to sit and chat.
When they first heard about the construction of a “residents’ corner” in the public housing block, everyone was excited. However, they have been waiting for the past three Lunar New Years for it to be completed.
However, due to the suspension of work, the stone chairs and tables have been left exposed, and soil from the construction site is causing the ground to become dirty during the rainy season.
“The corner has been under construction for a long time, and it suddenly stopped around October last year. I heard that the contractor was changed, and no further construction has been carried out since then.”
Mr Lu, who has been residing in this public housing block for over a decade, shared that he has built friendly relations with his neighbours.
“In the mornings, over 10 of us gather downstairs to chat,” he said.
However, upon observation, there are only a few benches and a couple of chairs available downstairs in the public housing block.
Despite the delays, Mr Lu has taken it upon himself to provide seating for his neighbours. However, his purchased plastic chairs were stolen, leaving residents to bring them downstairs.
WCTC said “residents’ corner” expected to be completed in third quarter of 2023
One of the residents said the Town Council has posted notices in the elevator lobby.
The notice was issued on 23 March, stating that due to the restructuring of the contractor company, the goal of completing the “residents’ corner” is in the third quarter of 2023.
The TC has suggested that the contractor take measures to minimize the inconvenience caused to residents, particularly during the construction period.
When questioned by the newspaper, the West Coast Town Council (WCTC) expressed apologies for the inconvenience caused to residents and attributed the delay to the contractor’s cash flow difficulties during the pandemic, which has made it challenging for them to obtain the necessary materials and manpower.
“To solve this problem, the town council and the contractor are working closely together and expect to resume work at the end of this month.”
They hope that residents will be patient while waiting for the completion of the project.
It is worth noting that the HDB block falls under the supervision of Patrick Tay, Member of Parliament for Pioneer SMC, who also serves as the Chairman of WCTC himself.
Netizens ridicule the need to “pray to temple” for timely completion
Some other netizens have also commented on Lianhe Zaobao’s Facebook post, expressed their disappointment with the delay and shared their own experiences with lapses in their own constituencies in the comments section of Lianhe Zaobao’s Facebook post.
A netizen who lives in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, said while most residents can accept delays in upgrading or renovation projects during the pandemic, it has now been quite some time since restrictions have eased.
“However, progress on the work has still been very slow, with constant delays. I really feel puzzled and don’t understand where the problem lies.”
Another noted that when it comes to the renovation of HDB flats, contractors would assure that everything would go smoothly, “once the sand and gravel have been delivered, workers would disappear for three to several days without any explanation. ”
“When you follow up with them on the expected completion date, they would provide a plethora of excuses. It feels like the only way to ensure that the work is done on time is to pray at the temple on an auspicious date.”
A comment also pointed out that this kind of ‘delay’ culture is deeply ingrained, and attributed that the main reason is the lack of supervision from higher-ups to ensure that things are done properly.
“Moreover, this culture has a characteristic where if no one complains, it is considered problem-free and everyone takes credit for a job well done.”
The netizen shared his own experience when following up with officials s about a complaint that had been unresolved for months, “shockingly, the officials claimed that the issue had been resolved because no one had complained for several months, but it had not actually been resolved.”
“Residents assumed the officials were handling it and didn’t follow up, only to find out later that the issue had not been resolved. Furthermore, residents often have trouble finding relevant authorities to report issues to, and even when they leave messages requesting a response, they are often ignored, ” the netizen claimed.
One netizen wrote, “The gazebo in my area has also been under renovation for two years and is still not completed. Sometimes there are no workers for long periods of time.”
Another netizen replied, “The town council is responsible for half of the management. If even the elderly have dementia and forget that there is still work to be done in a residential area, should residents have to constantly complain as a reminder?”