Upset over columbarium plans, Fernvale Lea's future residents want a refund from HDB

An artist's impression of Fernvale Lea in Sengkang. Upset about an upcoming columbarium close to their future flats, some would-be residents of Fernvale Lea have asked the Housing Board for a refund. -- PHOTO: HDB
An artist's impression of Fernvale Lea in Sengkang. Upset about an upcoming columbarium close to their future flats, some would-be residents of Fernvale Lea have asked the Housing Board for a refund. -- PHOTO: HDB
Residents leave the Anchorvale Community Club's multi-purpose hall after the dialogue session on Jan 4, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Residents leave the Anchorvale Community Club's multi-purpose hall after the dialogue session on Jan 4, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Chief executive of Life Corp Simon Hoo (centre) speaks to residents after the dialogue session. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Chief executive of Life Corp Simon Hoo (centre) speaks to residents after the dialogue session. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Members of the public seen during the dialogue session held at Anchorvale Community Club's multi-purpose hall on Jan 4, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Members of the public seen during the dialogue session held at Anchorvale Community Club's multi-purpose hall on Jan 4, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Affected residents write down their names and contact information to express their interest in a full refund for their flat. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Affected residents write down their names and contact information to express their interest in a full refund for their flat. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Member of Parliament for Sengkang West Dr Lam Pin Min addresses members of the media after the dialogue session. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Member of Parliament for Sengkang West Dr Lam Pin Min addresses members of the media after the dialogue session. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Member of Parliament for Sengkang West Dr Lam Pin Min (second from right) and chief executive of Life Corp Simon Hoo (second from left) seen during the dialogue session. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Member of Parliament for Sengkang West Dr Lam Pin Min (second from right) and chief executive of Life Corp Simon Hoo (second from left) seen during the dialogue session. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Residents speak to a HDB representative after the dialogue session held at Anchorvale Community Club's multi-purpose hall on Jan 4. 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Residents speak to a HDB representative after the dialogue session held at Anchorvale Community Club's multi-purpose hall on Jan 4. 2015. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - Upset about an upcoming columbarium close to their future flats, some would-be residents of Fernvale Lea have asked the Housing Board for a refund.

Their request came even after Dr Lam Pin Min, MP for Sengkang West, held a dialogue with residents on Sunday and said that there would not be a crematorium or funeral parlour services at the Chinese temple where the columbarium would be housed.

Some residents stood in line to leave their contact details with the HDB after a three-hour closed-door dialogue with Dr Lam and representatives from Life Corp, the company developing the temple.

Residents at the dialogue said the HDB should have been more upfront about the Chinese temple housing a columbarium.

News of the columbarium, which is expected to be completed by 2016, had surprised many residents when it was reported last week. An online petition started on Tuesday to stop the development of the columbarium had garnered more than 800 signatures.

Speaking on the sidelines of the dialogue, Dr Lam said the authorities had been upfront, noting that it was indicated in the Fernvale Lea brochure for the new flats that the temple may include a columbarium allowed under the guidelines of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). "There is really nothing to hide," he added.

Some residents had also asked why the Chinese temple is being developed by a private company.

Dr Lam said current regulations did not restrict the type of company that can develop a place of worship and he understood from the URA and HDB that it has been done before. But he said he has raised the issue up with the authorities since several residents provided strong views against it.