Potential gains for residents along skirting alignment

Losing one's cherished home is never easy ("Cross Island Line sparks residents' fears"; Sunday).

Residents living along the proposed alternative Cross Island Line alignment skirting the Central Catchment Nature Reserve have understandably raised concerns that they may lose their residence or suffer disturbance if the MRT line is rerouted through their estate.

Balancing the painful individual loss of some against the common gain of many requires sensitivity and careful consideration.

This issue raises questions about whether a comparatively limited group of residents should be able to decide what is in our national interest.

After all, Singapore's natural heritage and our green lungs belong to all Singaporeans, and not just to estate owners along the alternative skirting alignment.

New MRT lines usually result in a 10 per cent to 15 per cent increase in housing prices, so most residents along the skirting alignment could stand to gain, not just monetarily, but also in getting easy access to public transport.

In addition, we must ponder why we are concerned only about residents potentially affected along the skirting alignment.

What about other residents who may be affected along the entire length of the line?

The Land Transport Authority has extensive experience building MRT lines through populated areas over the years, and I trust it will apply its best efforts to minimise loss and impact.

Not everyone along the skirting alignment will need to be uprooted.

A fair segment of the line will pass through spaces that are unpopulated.

Considering that new MRT lines usually result in a 10 per cent to 15 per cent increase in housing prices, most residents along the skirting alignment could stand to gain, not just monetarily, but also in getting easy access to public transport.

Conserving our green umbrella, which is our last bastion to fight the serious impact of climate change, such as rising temperatures, is a priceless gain for now and the future.

Teresa Teo Guttensohn (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2016, with the headline 'Potential gains for residents along skirting alignment'. Print Edition | Subscribe