Sembawang GRC to get 280 new lifts

$33m scheme to replace old lifts set to benefit 12,600 households in 135 HDB blocks

Sembawang GRC MPs Khaw Boon Wan (in red shirt) and Amrin Amin (in white shirt) at a National Day event held at Kampung Admiralty yesterday to launch the lift-replacement programme.
Sembawang GRC MPs Khaw Boon Wan (in red shirt) and Amrin Amin (in white shirt) at a National Day event held at Kampung Admiralty yesterday to launch the lift-replacement programme.PHOTO: SEMBAWANG TOWN COUNCIL

Residents in the Sembawang GRC area can look forward to new lifts in the coming years, as 280 lifts in 135 HDB blocks will be replaced.

These lifts are in some of the older neighbourhoods in the area, including Woodlands and Admiralty, and will be replaced by June 2020 - benefiting 12,600 households.

Residents will not have to pay for the new lifts. The Sembawang Town Council will be undertaking the $33 million cost.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin, both Sembawang GRC Members of Parliament, launched the programme yesterday 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 of various problems with their lifts. He added 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 schedule."

The lifts that will be replaced have been in operation for between 21 and 24 years, and the exercise is 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 that will 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 release, the town council said 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 the town council.

They will be installed following the latest guidelines from the Building and Construction Authority.

Said Mr Amrin: "This is one of the biggest expenditures we have (undertaken) for lifts. It is an important initiative for our residents.

"Especially now with more people in wheelchairs, we require bigger lifts."

Resident Kamsani Hanuari, who lives on the ninth floor of Block 678 in Woodlands Avenue 6, said the lifts at his block have doors that close too quickly.

The 51-year-old security officer said this happened over the last year, adding that he is worried it may be dangerous for children and residents who are older, or are in wheelchairs.

"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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'Sembawang GRC to get 280 new lifts'. Subscribe