SINGAPORE - The Sembawang Town Council (SBTC) will be undertaking a $33 million exercise to replace 280 lifts at Housing Board blocks in the estate, in a programme to benefit 12,600 households.
By June 2020, lifts in 135 HDB blocks in the older neighbourhoods in Sembawang GRC, including Woodlands and Admiralty, will be replaced.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin, both Sembawang GRC MPs, launched the programme on Thursday (Aug 9) at a National Day event held at Kampung Admiralty.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Mr Amrin said the decision to replace the lifts was made after receiving feedback from residents who had complained about various problems in their lifts, adding that it was more "economical" to replace them.
Said Mr Amrin: "It is costly to maintain. So after doing the calculations, we took a very deliberate decision to replace the lifts ahead of its schedule."
The lifts that will be replaced have been in operation for between 21 and 24 years, and are ahead of the lift replacement cycle of 28 years.
Student Ong Jia Hui, 24, was cheered by the news. For the last three years, he said he has been uneasy taking one of the two lifts at Block 677 Woodlands Avenue 6 to his ninth floor flat. His block is among those to have their lifts replaced.
Mr Ong said the lift would jerk frequently and make "loud noises" as it moves.
"Hopefully with this lift replacement programme, the situation will get better for all of us living in this neighbourhood," he said.
In a press statement, SBTC said that the lifts that are being replaced suffer from inconsistent performance and frequent breakdowns.
The other lifts not involved in this programme will be replaced progressively according to HDB's schedule, said Mr Amrin.
The 280 new and faster lifts will be bigger to accommodate more people and ease access for residents in wheelchairs, said SBTC.
They will be installed with the latest guidelines from the Building and Construction Authority.
Said Mr Amrin: "This is one of the biggest expenditures we have taken for lifts. It is an important initiative for lifts and it is an important initiative for our residents.
"They need them to go up and especially now with more people in wheelchairs, we require bigger lifts."
Resident Kamsani Hanuari, who lives on the ninth floor of Block 678 Woodlands Avenue 6 said the two lifts at his block have doors that close too quickly.
The 51-year-old security officer said this happened over the last year, adding he worries it may be dangerous for children and residents who are older, or wheelchair-bound.
"For safety reasons, I am glad that they will replace the lifts because it can be quite dangerous and I am looking forward to using the new lifts," he said.