'Unstructured' use of void decks can create problems

The report on residents putting furniture, refrigerators and food in communal spaces in Clementi West and Tampines gave a positive view to what is actually the haphazard depositing of such items (Filling a void deck with neighbourliness; Nov 9).

The accumulated furniture and other contributions are fire hazards. There is also a hygiene issue if donated perishable food - such as the proposed fish catch - is not properly stored or disposed of.

The call for the Government to study the creation of common spaces for "unstructured, informal interaction" leaves me puzzled, as there are already community clubs, residents' committee (RC) spaces, RC gardens, parks, fitness corners and numerous coffee shops and foodcourts within easy reach.

If the use of void decks and lift lobbies is to become "unstructured", like the ones in Clementi West and Tampines, what is to prevent residents from discarding their unwanted beds, TV sets and other bulky items in such areas in the name of community sharing?

Who will have the final say on what may be deposited in the common spaces?

One person may see his contribution as a nice piece of decoration, but another may think it is just junk.

While the wish to build up neighbourliness is laudable, it cannot be done in an unstructured way. Expand RC spaces in Housing Board estates to cater for chats and coffee corners, so that there is still some degree of oversight as to what residents can contribute.

If we allow use of such common spaces to proceed in an unregulated way, void decks and lift lobbies will sprout little "Sungei Roads" or, worse, the spaces will be monopolised by only a handful of residents and their possessions, to the exclusion of other residents.

Agnes Sng Hwee Lee (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline ''Unstructured' use of void decks can create problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe