Forum: Private bookings make access to public stadium difficult

Our public sports facilities no longer seem easily accessible to members of the public.

In recent months, I have turned up on several occasions at Bukit Gombak Stadium, only to be turned away because it was closed for an "exclusive booking".

More recently, I showed up at the facility on a Sunday afternoon, only to find it closed yet again for another private booking.

Bukit Gombak Stadium is open every day from 7am to 9.30pm. According to information online, the facility is now closed for bookings on Sundays from 7am to 11.30am, and 3pm to 5pm.

That amounts to almost half of the day's opening hours.

As it is, I believe the maximum number of people allowed in sports facilities is 50 at any one time, under social distancing rules.

On Sundays now, with such extended closures, members of the public are left with only the hottest time of the day, in the mid-afternoon, and the most crowded, in the evening, to use the facility, and only in restricted numbers.

I have seen long queues in the evenings at the stadium, which may only grow worse now. In fact, on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, which are popular recreational and exercise times for the elderly and families, the stadium is closed for bookings.

We all take a certain measure of risk when venturing out into public spaces at a time when

the Covid-19 virus is still a threat. Now, with these closures and exclusive bookings, one either has to be vigilant about keeping up with the constantly changing hours when these public facilities are actually open to the public, or take the risk and show up in the hope that they are not shut for exclusive use.

At a time when public health is still a big concern, and resources are limited, is this the best way that the public good is being served?

Louis Ho Hwei Ming