WP town council prepared to review Hougang trade fair schedule for next year: Sylvia Lim

The Workers' Party-run town council has responded to complaints by shopkeepers in Hougang Central Hub that frequent trade fairs in the area have hurt their business. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Workers' Party-run town council has responded to complaints by shopkeepers in Hougang Central Hub that frequent trade fairs in the area have hurt their business. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The Workers' Party-run town council has responded to complaints by shopkeepers in Hougang Central Hub that frequent trade fairs in the area have hurt their business.

Replying to The Straits Times on Thursday, Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) chairman Sylvia Lim said that while it has already committed to the year-end festive activities, it is "prepared to review the schedule and events for next year" after assessing the concerns.

Ms Lim, who is also WP chairman, confirmed she had received a petition submitted to the town council by 31 shopkeepers from 25 units on Tuesday.

In the petition, the shopkeepers said the trade fairs are affecting business as the stalls sell similar products at lower prices. They asked the town council, which leases the space to trade fair organisers, to reconsider the frequency and duration of the fairs and the mix of stalls.

Ms Lim said on Thursday that the town council has been looking into the shopkeepers' concerns and requests.

"We have spoken to some of them directly, and this is still ongoing," she said, adding that the town council "will need to balance the interests of all businesses".

WP chief Low Thia Khiang, who is the ward's MP, made the same point in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao published on Thursday

He said the town council would have to balance the concerns of shopkeepers who did not sign the petition, and also those who wish for more trade fairs to bring in the crowds and boost business.

Noting that he had not heard from the shopkeepers about their difficulties before getting the petition from the town council, Mr Low invited them to approach him directly if they faced problems.

"It is the duty of the town council to balance the interests of all the businesses. We also hope that businesses (in Hougang Central) will do well and make money," he said.