Former Dakota Crescent residents get warm welcome to Cassia Crescent

Residents from Blk 52 Cassia Crescent were thrilled to get up close with the dancing lion alongside Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan.
Residents from Blk 52 Cassia Crescent were thrilled to get up close with the dancing lion alongside Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Former Dakota Crescent residents were on Saturday (Jan 7) thrown a housewarming party by Mountbatten grassroots organisations and Marine Parade Town Council, as they settled into their new flats at nearby Cassia Crescent.

But some residents are adjusting to smaller living spaces.

Madam Tan Ai Kim, 95, used to live in a three-room rental flat in Dakota Crescent but now lives in a one-room rental flat in Cassia Crescent.

"More than 60 of us could fit in the previous house for the Chinese New Year reunion dinner, but now we can't. We have to find another arrangement," said her daughter Chong Siew Hong, 58, a retiree.

Some 400 households had to vacate Dakota Crescent due to a Housing Board plan to rejuvenate the estate. Block 52, Cassia Crescent, which has 588 units, will be able to accommodate all of them.

On Saturday, armed with their identity cards, they collected their housewarming gift, an electric slow cooker at the housewarming event.

They were also able to get calligraphy artist Lim Rui Lin, 70, from China to write them greetings for Chinese New Year.

Residents received a book called Dakota Treasures as well, which features some of the most familiar sights of Dakota Crescent like its playground, the canal through which the Geylang River flows, and the residents themselves.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan - MP for Mountbatten SMC, where Cassia Crescent is located - acknowledged that residents are still adjusting to their new but smaller homes. Even so, residents like the new lifts, which stop at every floor, unlike the Dakota Crescent ones, he said.

"We will continue to do our best to help those who need help, and see what we can do to make you feel that Mountbatten is a home for all of us," he told residents in a speech.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Lim said a conservation report has been put up to the authorities, and he hopes at least three or four blocks in Dakota Crescent will be conserved. But what happens if they do get conserved is something that is currently up in the air.

"There were some suggestions in the conservation report, like using these blocks for a social cause, or (turning them) into an arts centre, or keeping them for residential use.What we don't want is to destroy the very nature of this place," he said.