Rochor Centre community to live on in Kallang with most residents moving to new flats there

The recently completed BTO Kallang Trivista, where most of the Rochor Centre residents will be relocated to. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

SINGAPORE - The iconic Rochor Centre may soon be gone, but some its old community spirit lives on in Kallang Trivista.

The Upper Boon Keng Road development, which was fully completed in June, is now home to most of the residents from the Rochor Centre, which stood out its yellow, green, red and blue hues.

Out of the 567 households at the centre, 504 chose to move to Kallang Trivista.

This means residents of three out of five units in the new blocks used to live in Rochor Centre, which was a Housing Board development with a mix of businesses and residences.

Most have already collected the keys and moved into the 808-unit HDB project, though a few households still remain in Rochor, which will soon be demolished for redevelopment, The Straits Times reported on Thursday (Dec 22).

Although the white and blue Kallang setting seems drab compared to the multicoloured Rochor Centre, residents like Madam Catherine Quik, 56, said keeping the Rochor community spirit intact is more important than the colour of the paint.

Said Madam Quik: "Ever so often, I will bump into my old neighbours at the lift lobby and we'll greet each other and chat."

"Of course we still miss our old homes, but we are all slowly adapting to the change."

The clinic manager has upgraded from a three-room flat to a four-room flat. She collected her keys in July and moved into her new unit in September.

Another resident, who gave her name only as Madam Pang, 65, recounted a recent community potluck at the void deck: "The people here all know each other. It feels like old times."

It also helps that Kallang Trivista was built with community features in mind, she told The Straits Times.

Central to Trivista's design are two large roof gardens - equivalent to the size of 12 tennis courts - on the sixth and seventh storey of the multi-storey car park (MSCP).

While the roof gardens have yet to be opened to the public, there are plenty of resting spots, and an auditorium and a community plaza on the ground level where residents can interact and hold activities.

A seniors activity centre has already opened within Kallang Trivista and a minimart will soon begin operation, too.

At a site visit on Tuesday, HDB's deputy director of landscape implementation Miss Tay Bee Choo said that effort was taken to enhance the biodiversity and attract birds and butterflies to the area so that residents can feel close to nature.

Ninety-one species of tropical plants add a green ambience to the development.

Said Miss Tay: "We tried to bring back the tropical plants that used to grow in the 1970s and the 1980s. Residents can see them as they stroll through the roof garden and young children can also get to learn what they are."

To-date, HDB has built 175 new rooftop car parks with greenery.

Another 126 new MSCPs with rooftop greenery are under construction, its spokesman said.

Retiree Madam J.J. Ong, 70, said she looks forward to growing guava trees at the community garden when it opens, as some residents at Rochor Centre used to trade guava leaves as a herbal treatment.

Said Madam Ong: "It is good that there are these areas for us. There's less air pollution and the greenery is nice."

Despite having lived at Rochor Centre ever since it was completed in 1977, she will not be revisiting her old home before the wrecking crew comes.

"There's no point going back to see Rochor Centre now. It is a memory. Now I just want to look forward," she said.

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