Rochor spirit colours new HDB project

HDB project Kallang Trivista (top), completed in June, houses most of the residents from the iconic Rochor Centre (above), which will soon be demolished.
HDB project Kallang Trivista.ST PHOTOS: NIVASH JOYVIN, LIM YAOHUI
HDB project Kallang Trivista (top), completed in June, houses most of the residents from the iconic Rochor Centre (above), which will soon be demolished.
HDB project Kallang Trivista, completed in June, houses most of the residents from the iconic Rochor Centre (above), which will soon be demolished.ST PHOTOS:NIVASH JOYVIN, LIM YAOHUI

Ex-Rochor Centre residents keep community spirit alive at Kallang blocks where most have moved to

Rochor Centre, with its iconic yellow, green, red and blue hues, may soon be gone but its community spirit lives on in Kallang Trivista.

The Upper Boon Keng Road development, which was fully completed in June, is now home to most of the residents from Rochor Centre, an HDB development with a mix of businesses and residences.

Of the 567 households at the centre, 504 chose to move to Kallang Trivista. This means residents from three out of five units at the new Kallang blocks used to live at Rochor Centre.

The Straits Times reported last Thursday that most have already collected their keys and moved into the 808-unit HDB project, though a few households still remain at Rochor Centre, which will soon be demolished for redevelopment.

Although the white and blue exteriors of the Kallang development seem drab compared to the multicoloured Rochor Centre, resident Catherine Quik, 56, said keeping the Rochor community spirit intact is more important than the colour of the paint. "Every so often, I will bump into my old neighbours at the lift lobby and we'll greet each other and chat. Of course we still miss our old homes, but we are all slowly adapting to the change," she said.

The clinic manager upgraded from a three-room flat to a four-room flat. She collected her keys in July and moved into her new unit in September.

Another resident, who gave her name only as Madam Pang, 65, recounted a recent community potluck at the void deck: "The people here all know one another. It feels like old times."

It also helps that Kallang Trivista was built with community features in mind, she told The Straits Times.

Trivista features two large roof gardens - equivalent to the size of 12 tennis courts - on the sixth and seventh storeys of the multi-storey carpark.

The roof gardens have yet to open but there are plenty of resting spots, an auditorium and a community plaza on the ground level where residents can hold activities and interact.

An activity centre for seniors has opened at Kallang Trivista and a minimart will soon open too.

At a site visit last Tuesday, HDB's deputy director of landscape implementation, Miss Tay Bee Choo, said efforts were taken to enhance the biodiversity of the area and attract birds and butterflies so that residents can feel close to nature.

Ninety-one species of tropical plants add a green ambience to the development. Said Miss Tay: "We tried to bring back the tropical plants that used to grow in the 70s and the 80s."

HDB has built 175 carparks with rooftop gardens in recent years.

Another 126 multi-storey carparks with rooftop greenery are under construction, its spokesman said.

Madam J.J. Ong, 70, said she looks forward to growing guava trees at the community garden as some residents at Rochor Centre used to trade guava leaves, using them as a herbal treatment. The retiree said: "It is good that there are these areas for us. There's less air pollution and the greenery is nice."

Despite having lived at Rochor Centre since it was completed in 1977, she will not be revisiting her old home before it is demolished. "There's no point going back to see Rochor Centre now. It is a memory. Now I just want to look forward," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 25, 2016, with the headline 'Rochor spirit colours new HDB project'. Print Edition | Subscribe