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Patbabeth
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:38 pm    Post subject: Punggol 21's not quite come of age Reply with quote

Punggol 21's not quite come of age

Easier to get around, but township's still waiting for the buzz

Tuesday • December 6, 2005

Christie Loh
christie@newstoday.com.sg

THE streets of Punggol reveal nothing of its pig-farm past.

Clean and modern, the township boasts HDB blocks with hues and architectural details distinct from most public housing. The bay windows, for instance, stretch from floor to ceiling like a condominium's. And linking each cluster of flats are landscaped footpaths known as "green connectors".

Such features were what won over Mr Chua Koek Beng, 65, a retiree who applied for a Punggol flat upon learning of the Government's grandiose plan.

"They said it would be a new-generation estate. But having lived here for a year, I'm disappointed," he said.

Mr Chua had expected to see the estate buzzing with people, with fun and food by the water and amenities typical of a mature town.

Watersport centres, seafood villages, Safra (Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association) clubs and libraries were the selling points of the Punggol 21 plan, spelt out just months before the 1997 General Election (GE) — none of which have materialised so far.

Instead "it's really nice and quiet," said Mr Thanabalan, 25, an entrepreneur who has lived in the area for the past three years.

When contacted, a Housing Development Board (HDB) spokesperson said that the economic downturn in recent years has led to lower demand for new flats, and "hence the pace of development in Punggol Town has slowed down".

But the economy has showed rosy headline growth of late. And, in the last two months, the Government has unveiled multi-million dollar renewal plans for the Town Councils of Sembawang, East Coast, Tampines and Aljunied. With murmurings of a GE growing louder, will the cheer soon spread to the People's Action Party-controlled (PAP) ward of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC?

Perhaps, but there's a catch: According to HDB's annual report, Punggol 21's population was 51,600 as of end-March — small compared to, say, 30-year-old Tampines with its 226,000 people.

That is one reason why Punggol has yet to bloom fully, the ward's MP Penny Low told Today: "The commercial vendors have to make their own calculations. We will certainly represent the residents in pushing for more amenities."

Added an HDB spokesperson: "Facilities will be introduced progressively as the town grows."

But why has there been no word about supposed tenders for the establishment of a seafood village, plant nurseries and a sea-sports centre at the northern tip of Punggol Road? Ms Low would only say that the town's caretakers "are on track in the quest for more activity space within the community".

An Urban Redevelopment Authority spokesperson added that the agency is currently working with several parties to implement some of the ideas in the Punggol 21 blueprint.

But recreational spots are not all that residents are seeking.

Housewife Mahedah Abdul Manaf, 47, said she wanted to see more public service offices, such as CPF branches, commonly found in big towns including Bishan and Woodlands.

Mr Lim Teck Hut, 50, a book deliveryman, feels there are too few shops.

"If shopkeepers raise prices now, residents would be helpless," he said, noting that groceries in the new town cost substantially more than they do elsewhere.

In other areas, things are looking up. When he moved in four years ago, retired accountant Foo Ah Chye, 62, had to jostle to board the town's sole bus service, taking more than an hour to reach his Orchard Road workplace. Today, the MRT train gets him to the shopping belt in 20 minutes.

"The bus used to be so full it couldn't move. However, since January, we've had the LRT — very convenient," he said.

Similarly, the number of bus services plying the area has grown to eight.

Coffeeshops, grocery stores and malls have also been springing up, pointed out MP Low, while admiting there is room for improvement.

But will the Punggol 21 concept be an election issue again?

The sleepy town's development hung in the balance during the 1997 GE, in which the PAP fought the Workers' Party for control of Cheng San GRC, which at the time included the town of Punggol.

However, Ms Low said the Punggol 21 concept is unlikely to be a "sour issue" in the upcoming GE.

"Many residents and grassroots leaders have expressed appreciation of the estate's improvements in terms of transport and amenities in the last few years," she said.

As for the opposition parties, residents said they have not seen them making their rounds in their neighbourhood.

The last time the Workers' Party visited the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC was in Dec 2003 at Pasir Ris Drive 6, according to its website.

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Winwin
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Punggol 21's not quite come of age Reply with quote

Patrickpang wrote:

Watersport centres, seafood villages, Safra (Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association) clubs and libraries were the selling points of the Punggol 21 plan, spelt out just months before the 1997 General Election (GE) — none of which have materialised so far.



That reminds me of a NUS competition which I took part back in 1997 (called Best Business Idea Competition)... The Punggol 21 plan was a big thing then that my pals and I decided to come up with a business plan on a kelong-themed seafood restaurant call "Somethin' Fishy"... The idea won us the 2nd prize (Think the prize then was SGD1000?? to be shared between 5 of us... which was good for poor students like me then)...

Unfortunately... think itz not the time to carry out my "Fishy" plan yet... Smile
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Patbabeth
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:00 am    Post subject: Re: Punggol 21's not quite come of age Reply with quote

Winwin wrote:
Patrickpang wrote:

Watersport centres, seafood villages, Safra (Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association) clubs and libraries were the selling points of the Punggol 21 plan, spelt out just months before the 1997 General Election (GE) — none of which have materialised so far.



That reminds me of a NUS competition which I took part back in 1997 (called Best Business Idea Competition)... The Punggol 21 plan was a big thing then that my pals and I decided to come up with a business plan on a kelong-themed seafood restaurant call "Somethin' Fishy"... The idea won us the 2nd prize (Think the prize then was SGD1000?? to be shared between 5 of us... which was good for poor students like me then)...

Unfortunately... think itz not the time to carry out my "Fishy" plan yet... Smile


seriously speaking, i think the development will take time, and maybe a long long time... looking at the rate of development... with 2 bto projects that are under construction, and 1 more which had not commence yet, it will still be another 5 to 10 years before punggol will reach the first 100000 residents... not too sure why some residents are making the fuss, but for me, at the current moment, with shops and lrt and mrt stations, i am contented with that...

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zing
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i also dun mind the way it is now really. hehe... :lol:

unless i wanna sell my house in future, then they better come up with more ammenities to push up the sales price :P

but frankly speaking...from 1997-current, it is indeed very disappointing.
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Solonavi
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drove pass Punggol Central last weekend and was asking my wife, "Why HDB/URA so funny one? Nvr develop ard Punggol Central instead developed those area at the far end.

Anyone know the answer?

Cheers
JC

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Patbabeth
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solonavi wrote:
Drove pass Punggol Central last weekend and was asking my wife, "Why HDB/URA so funny one? Nvr develop ard Punggol Central instead developed those area at the far end.

Anyone know the answer?

Cheers
JC


don't know the answer... but one possibility is that the flats that are developed at the far end will be easier to sell in this instance... if they were to build flats in the developed area, then the chances of them selling, will be lesser...

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Ares
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really wonder why they build the MRT at the far end of Punggol...

Anyway the Punggol MRT station is the best looking and one of the biggest I ever seen....

Anyway....whenever I take the last MRT train back to Seng Kang... I dare not sleep.... as I am afraid that I overslept to Punggol station ....

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Winwin
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ya... development has been slow...
but i suppose it would be really good in future for residents there? (of coz it is not in the near future thru...)
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Patbabeth
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Winwin wrote:
ya... development has been slow...
but i suppose it would be really good in future for residents there? (of coz it is not in the near future thru...)


totally agree... it took 8 years for sengkang to have its own stadium (considering the construction taking place this year), 6 years to have a bus interchange and shopping mall... so i suppose it will be another 5 years before we can see any major development in punggol...

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