Fumes from New Ubin Seafood draw ire of Parc Palais residents

New Ubin Seafood at Lam Soon Industrial Building in Hillview Avenue has installed exhaust filters and put up deodorising UV lamps to try to reduce cooking fumes.
New Ubin Seafood at Lam Soon Industrial Building in Hillview Avenue has installed exhaust filters and put up deodorising UV lamps to try to reduce cooking fumes. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

That and noise of diners are subject of petition, despite New Ubin Seafood taking measures

The management committee (MC) of Parc Palais in Hume Avenue has circulated a petition to get a popular restaurant to address residents' concerns about fumes and noise from the restaurant, which is located near the estate.

The petition, which was seen by The Straits Times, follows complaints filed by three residents with the National Environment Agency (NEA) last November. Even though NEA has verified that their concerns have been addressed by the restaurant, the condo's MC said the issues remained.

The MC said fumes from the zi char restaurant have been blowing into the homes of those living in two blocks which are adjacent to the restaurant.

New Ubin Seafood is located on the sixth level of an industrial building at 63 Hillview Avenue. The petition also noted the residents' complaints about the noise from diners.

The MC called for residents to sign the petition to get the restaurant to take follow-up action and said if the issues are not addressed, the value of their property may be affected. In response to media queries, the NEA confirmed that three residents had complained to it about the smell and noise from the restaurant after it moved from Sin Ming Industrial Estate to the Lam Soon Industrial Building canteen in November. Following the complaints, the NEA said improvement works were carried out after it conducted an inspection in December.

Ms Joline Lim, 32, a manager at New Ubin Seafood, said that on top of installing exhaust filters, it has put up deodorising UV lamps and attempted to identify and reduce the use of cooking methods that contributed to the fumes and smells.

SMELLS STILL A PROBLEM

I can smell it on my clothes, and even now it is still a problem.

HOUSEWIFE KIM YEON JIN, noting that smells still waft into her home during lunch time, and in the evenings.

Further inspections in late February and earlier this month found that the exhaust system was "functioning well". NEA said the restaurant is complying with regulations for the use of the premises.

Earlier this month, Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Low Yen Ling facilitated a dialogue session that involved New Ubin's operators as well as the condo management. She told The Straits Times that both parties are working "amicably" towards resolving the concerns raised. "The meeting ended on a conciliatory note as all parties agreed to allow for the (mitigating) measures to take effect and to keep communication open between all parties," added Ms Low.

Several residents, particularly those who live on the lower floors next to the restaurant, told The Straits Times on Monday that they still faced some issues. South Korean housewife Kim Yeon Jin, 42, said that exhaust smells still waft into her home during lunch time, and in the evenings. "I can smell it on my clothes, and even now it is still a problem. Something needs to be done," said Ms Kim, who signed the petition in February.

CONSTANT MONITORING

We are trying to be good neighbours and have kept in close contact with the residents. We will constantly check to see if the steps we have taken are effective.

MS JOLINE LIM, a manager at New Ubin Seafood

Another resident in his 60s, who declined to be named, said that noise is less of a problem now."(The noise) no longer bothers me, but you can still smell the oil and smoke, mostly in the evenings," he said.

Ms Lim said the restaurant will continue to work with residents to address the concerns about the fumes. She also said that while the actions taken were not in response to any violation of legislation, it has done so as a matter of goodwill.

"We are trying to be good neighbours and have kept in close contact with the residents. We will constantly check to see if the steps we have taken are effective."

The NEA said that it is "monitoring the situation closely" and will continue to engage New Ubin about the feedback that it has received.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'Fumes draw ire of condo residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe