Forum: Rejuvenation funds better spent on improving ageing Toa Payoh facilities

I refer to the report on the proposed Toa Payoh Integrated Development (New sports centre, polyclinic, library and town park in Toa Payoh to be ready by 2030, Feb 26).

While my family applaud the Government’s effort to look into the rejuvenation of Toa Payoh estate, we are wondering about the relevance of this plan.

Toa Payoh is one of Singapore’s earliest public housing estates, and many facilities within the estate are ageing and need upgrading urgently. These include the bus interchange, which went through only minor upgrading works years ago, and the amphitheatre in front of Toa Payoh Library, which often has water ponding issues.

With many new HDB developments, existing amenities within the town centre are often crowded and insufficient to meet the increasing needs of residents. For example, the sheltered walkways at HDB Hub and Toa Payoh Central, parts of which are used for commercial purposes, are narrow and cramped, and not always handicap-friendly. The FairPrice supermarket at Toa Payoh HDB Hub is usually very crowded, as it offers more variety than other supermarkets within Toa Payoh Central.

Providing residents with good sporting facilities is important. However, having the proposed national training centres for aquatics, netball and table tennis at the new centre raises the question of how much the integrated development plan will really improve the overall liveability of Toa Payoh estate.

The integrated development also shows sporting facilities being built as low-rise buildings. This runs counter to Singapore’s careful use of limited land spaces.

In thinking of rejuvenating an estate, money would be considered well-spent if it went towards improvements that met the needs of the residents, rather than to sporting facilities for national training.

One suggestion is to build a multi-storey development that integrates different uses such as sports, recreation, education, retail and food outlets, which will allow better use of the space while also meeting residents’ needs.

Chng Swee Lan

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