While upgrading efforts such as lifts and sheltered walkways can improve lives, it is also important for residents to continue building strong bonds with their neighbours, said Marine Parade GRC MP Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday.
Mr Tan, who is also Speaker of Parliament, was speaking at a carnival to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Marine Parade Town Council, which was formed in 1989 to get MPs and residents to work together in managing their estate.
"When you talk about nation-building, it sounds really big. But it starts at the grassroots level. For those who are disadvantaged or need a bit of help, because of the outreach, we pick up issues early. We are also able to intervene early," said Mr Tan, who was joined at the event by fellow Marine Parade GRC MPs Goh Chok Tong and Seah Kian Peng and Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan. "That is the story of not just Marine Parade, but also across the island."
Besides mingling with residents at the carnival, held at the open areas near Block 78 Marine Drive, the MPs also unveiled a plaque for the official reopening of the Block 84 Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre. The centre resumed business earlier this month after it was closed in March last year for renovation works.
Mr Tan said physical upgrades make an estate more accessible, especially as residents get older.
"While we try to continue to physically improve the estate and environment, I do hope that all of us can take a step forward to connect with the people around," he added.
"To truly build a home that we can be proud of is something totally achievable, and it doesn't need to cost us a single cent."
The town council also launched a photo project which allows members of the public to send in their photos on various themes. Selected photos will be exhibited at upcoming carnivals this year.
Resident Janet Chan, 64, who works in a hotel and has been living in the area for more than 30 years, said there have been many activities held over the years to get residents to bond. "The community here has grown closer and we look out for one another," she added.