Tender for Woodlands funeral parlour complex launched as Singapore manages an ageing population

The 5,002.8 sq m parcel at Woodlands Industrial Park E8. PHOTO: NEA

SINGAPORE - The tender for a new funeral parlour complex in Woodlands was launched on Tuesday (July 28) by the Housing Board as Singapore prepares for an expected increase in resident deaths in the near future.

It is the first of four funeral parlour complex sites that the National Environment Agency (NEA) will roll out over the next decade to cope with the ageing population.

The 5,002.8 sq m parcel at Woodlands Industrial Park E8 will contain 10 to 14 wake halls, embalming facilities, as well as florists, a food and beverage outlet, and shops selling funerary goods and paraphernalia.

The tender will close at noon on Nov 5 and the site is expected to be operational about four years after the award.

"As a small and densely populated city state, there will always be competing requirements for space to meet Singapore's various development needs," the NEA said on Tuesday.

"After-death facilities are important public infrastructure that accord dignity to the deceased, as well as comfort to bereaved families and their visitors, in accordance with religious and cultural practices and preferences."

NEA also emphasised that it will minimise disruption to residents living nearby through sensitive designs and a design review process.

For instance, no open air burning will be permitted and there will be parking spots in the facility to prevent potential traffic jams.

Funerary activities will also be kept within the facility and be appropriately screened to keep them discreet.

NEA said it will continue to work with agencies to meet the long-term demand for funeral spaces and ensure that they are ready ahead of demand, with resident deaths in Singapore projected to double to 40,000 annually by 2040.

The other three complexes that have been planned are in Mandai Road, the industrial area in Bukit Batok Street 23, and Ang Mo Kio Street 63 near the SBS Transit bus depot.

In June, the NEA, which is the lead planning agency for after-death facilities and services in Singapore, also announced a 12-month study of the funeral industry so that it has a ready pool of competent workers to uphold the dignity of the deceased.

The agency seeks to ensure that standards offered match the best practices in other countries.

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