Rubbish discarded by residents clogging the corridors of Pearl Bank Apartments

Old cabinets and other unwanted household items clogging the stairwells of Pearl Bank Apartments on April 9, 2019.
Old cabinets and other unwanted household items clogging the stairwells of Pearl Bank Apartments on April 9, 2019.ST PHOTOS: JOY PANG

SINGAPORE - Pearl Bank Apartments, the iconic horse-shoe shaped residential block located in Outram Park, has been turned into a dumping ground for defunct electrical goods like refrigerators, and old furniture such as mattresses and broken wooden cabinets.

Residents had discarded them while they were moving out, following the collective sale of the property to CapitaLand for $728 million in February last year.

It has 288 units and all residents have to vacate the apartments by April 30 this year.

Meanwhile, items such as clothes, pillows, umbrellas and plastic bags filled with discards can be seen clogging the corridors of the 37-storey building and blocking the entryways.

Mr Edward Ong, 57, who was moving out on Tuesday (April 9), told The Straits Times: "Most of the junk was left behind by residents, many of whom have been living here for decades.

"Some of my elderly neighbours don't have the ability to carry heavy items to the bins, so they just leave all their unwanted stuff outside the flat."

Mr Ong and his wife, also 57, had moved into Pearl Bank in 1980, four years after the building was completed.

He said he had to struggle to get his belongings out of his flat. "I couldn't take three steps without bumping into rubbish. I was trying to carry one of my old chairs to the lift and hit one of the discarded cabinets, which caused the chair leg to break off."

Mr Jevon Tay, managing agent for Pearl Bank Apartments, said notices have been put up urging residents to dispose of their unwanted items responsibly at designated refuse collection areas.

 
 
 
 

He has also hired more workers to remove unwanted items left in the common areas, he added.

When The Straits Times visited the block on Tuesday evening, discarded household items were seen lining several corridors leading to lift landings and blocking the base of a number of stairwells.

Retiree Micheal Wong said he had seen karung guni men pick through the rubbish for usable items, such as clothes and electrical fans.

"I was quite surprised to see even good quality refrigerators get dumped. One of my neighbours took one of them when he saw no one was coming back for it," said the 65-year-old, who is planning to move soon with his wife Cara, 64, to stay temporarily with one of their children, who lives in River Valley.

A CapitaLand spokesman told The Straits Times the issue is currently being handled by the managing agent.

"It saddens me deeply to see such disorderly behaviour in a building conceived and designed for high-rise strata living," said Pearl Bank Apartments architect Tan Cheng Siong.

"Pearl Bank represents the values of a society that goes beyond the mundane and the ordinary. It's painful to see such a architectural and cultural icon suffer such abuse and neglect."