Housing is always a sensitive issue. People do not seem to like to stay near nursing homes.
And they most definitely do not like to stay near a bin centre where the stench of waste permeates the air.
For some residents in a condo located in Yishun, the idea of foul odours emitting from the bin facility of a nearby Build-to-Order (BTO) site was so bad that they signed a petition to shift the bin facility.
Here is what happened.
Residents in Yishun Condo Plagued by The Idea of Odours From Bin Facility
Some residents in a condo located in Yishun found out that a BTO housing area was going to be built near them.
What caused them the most alarm was that the bin centre of the flats was going to be exceedingly close to their condo, just separated from them by a road and a tennis court.
The blueprints indicated that trash from close to 1,330 units would be sent to the bin facility to be processed in a central location. The rubbish was planned to be automatically processed once delivered to the facility (it was a pneumatic waste conveyance system).
The condo in question was Skies Miltonia, a condo which was built in 2016. The back of the condo faced a forest, and the environment around that area is known to be peaceful and quiet.
The forested area was previously designated for housing purposes, with plans to construct more housing on that land (called Miltonia Breeze). The estimated completion date of this new project was 2029.
While residents had expected more crowding or human density with the increase in housing, they did not expect to be faced with rubbish in the comfort of their own homes.
66 Residents Signed A Petition Against Bin Facility Placement
As the residents of Skies Miltonia were worried about the stench from the bins, which could affect their quality of life, 66 residents signed a petition which they submitted to the Housing Development Board (HDB).
The petition requested for the bin facility to be located on the opposite side of where it was planned to be located. The proposed site was further away from the condo, and therefore, residents would not be bothered by the smells emitting from the bin centre.
According to one resident Ms Lai (Hanyu pinyin), who spoke to Shin Min, the concerns raised by the residents were reasonable and legitimate. She also shared that there was time for reconsidering the placement of the bin facility since construction had not yet commenced.
Ms Lai is a 52-year-old consultant.
Another Skies Miltonia resident who did not wish to be named said that she started staying in the condo the moment it was completed and chose the location for its peaceful and serene qualities. While she understands the importance of building new housing facilities, she thought it was unnecessary for the bin facility to be directly facing the condo.
HDB Takes Action in Response to Petition
Upon receiving the petition (or should we say complaint), the HDB reviewed it thoroughly and eventually decided to make changes to the blueprint plan.
One of the key changes was changing the orientation of the bin centre. Instead of facing the condo, the bin facility would be moved to the opposite side of the BTO site so that the stench had a lower chance of affecting the residents.
This was not the only change that HDB had up their sleeves. An HDB spokesperson also shared the slew of measures which would be implemented to assuage the condo residents’ worries.
A new lane would be created to allow the garbage trucks to pass through the housing estate so that they did not need to go through the car park. This additional road access would be via Yishun Avenue 1.
Furthermore, the HDB shared that the pipes used in the garbage processing facility would be longer and ensure that the discharge point of any gases produced would be further away from the condo.
There were also plans to use greenery and landscaping to reduce any discomfort experienced by the residents. For example, there were suggestions to plant more trees to shield the bin centre from the condo and act as a noise barrier to ensure the residents would not be disturbed.
Having more greenery also had the benefit of obstructing the unglamorous view of the bin facility from the view of the condo residents staying on higher floors.
All these measures sound pretty good and show how serious the HDB is when it comes to designing housing in Singapore. They were even willing to increase the construction costs by extending exhaust pipes and creating new roads.
What, though, were the thoughts of residents about these concessions?
It seems that opinion is still divided on the matter.
The HDB spokesperson shared that a large number of the condo residents were relieved to hear the proposed changes and were supportive of the suggested measures.
However, in the typical picky Singaporean style, some residents were still unsatisfied. They continued to request for the bin centre and separate garbage-heavy driveway to be removed entirely.
The HDB is still in talks with these finicky residents.
What do you think about the measures proposed by the residents? Are they insufficient to address legitimate concerns harboured by residents, or are these individuals just being difficult or entitled?
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