Singapore is a metropolitan concrete jungle: it has high-rise buildings everywhere built in meticulously planned grids, sheltered walkways, interspaced by rows of trees and shrubbery, as well as recreational spaces and parks.
Besides Pinnacle@Duxton which has cemented its reputation as the tallest HDB residential building, SkyVille@Dawson has come in as a close second for its interconnected walkway and terrace three buildings and its panoramic view.
Except SkyVille’s rooftop garden was meant for its local community, not a tourist attraction.
Trouble at SkyVille Dawson
On Tuesday (8 Nov), Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Ms Joan Pereia brought up that the residents at Henderson-Dawson ward have been giving feedback about dirty lifts, overflowing dustbins, littering, abandoned cigarette butts and loud partying at the rooftop gardens.
It is highly disruptive— residents have trouble sleeping due to the noise, cleaners are forced to deal with cigarette remains and alcohol bottles that are strewn all over the sky gardens, adding that these nuisances were incurring extra costs for the town council.
See, the difference between SkyVille and Pinnacle is that the latter has a registration fee of $6 for non-residents via a turnstile gantry, and visitors are limited to 200 per day.
Hence, she hopes that similar measures can be implemented to ensure the “orderly management” of public access across all HDB sky gardens in the country.
Although there are volunteers patrolling the sky gardens after 10pm to reduce the ruckus and ask visitors to leave so residents can rest, Ms Pereira reasons that it is unsustainable to make volunteers do daily patrols, as it can be exhausting.
Ms Pereira acknowledges the effort that the Housing Development Board, town council, residents’ committees, the National Environment Agency, the police and other government agencies have put in to reduce the disamenities.
Nevertheless, she believes more can be done.
“Our current measures are insufficient and not working. I hop we can move on and try new measures. My residents and I are mindful that these are public spaces. But public access is not a licence to abuse the space or behave inconsiderately and irresponsibly,” said Ms Pereira.
Response From Ministry of National Development
Towards this, Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann said the HDB cannot treat rooftop gardens as exclusive enclosed spaces.
However, she agrees that the residents are confronted with crowds in lifts and at lift lobbies when there are visitors.
Then Ms Sim brings up the current measures in place:
For instance, the SkyVille SkyTerrace Taskforce was set up in 2016 to control the crowds at the rooftop gardens on the eve of festivities.
When the crowds showed no signs of abating but increased in size instead on New Year’s Eve in 2020, the task force ramped up surveillance and regulation by stepping up patrols, which now includes Friday and Saturday nights.
Closed-circuit television cameras have also been installed to deter errant behaviour.
Furthermore, the sky gardens have been closed from 10pm onwards since New Year’s Eve in 2021.
It should be noted that while these existing measures help to minimise the disamenities, it still does not fully address Ms Pereira’s call for additional measures, especially during the normal weekdays where there may be late-night visitors.
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