Anger over requested removal of resident rooftop gardens at Bukit Batok

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bukit batok residents to remove gardening plants

Expect to be greeted with an assortment of over 2000 potted plants ranging from edibles to ornamental plants upon visiting what residents dub as their “rooftop garden” for nearly two decades.

However, due to alleged complaints by unknown sources regarding safety concerns over the site which can serve as potential breeding grounds for dengue mosquitoes, authorities swiftly swooped in to take action and requested for the complete removal of potted plants at the MSCP rooftop of Goodview Gardens of Bukit Batok West.

17 years too late?

According to an online petition, the Multi-storey Carpark at Blk 395A Bukit Batok West Ave 5 is relatively unused and the space has remained empty most of the time. As such, residents have begun placing their potted plants along the top level of the MSCP, allowing for their plants to receive maximum unobstructed sunlight. It was noted in the petition that these plants have been present for nearly two decades and has only recently received notices from the Town Council pertaining to its request of removal by 12 September 2021.

“We feel that this is an important area for residents since many young children and old folks like to stroll and exercise along this area, and these plants are definitely much better than cars!” Said Michael Wan in the petition.

Perhaps, it is time we relooked at some of our rather staunch stances pertaining to such similar issues given the government’s increasingly positive stand on promoting the culture of gardening and self-sufficiency of food supplies.

The contradiction

Image Credits: Nparks

In March this year, NParks gave out 3,000 seed packets to avid gardeners who registered their interests to grow their own edibles. Such seeds include cauliflower, radish, pumpkins, and cherry tomatoes.

Prior to the overturn in decision after the appeal, a notice was placed on the property which states that residents have “illegally placed objects such as flower pots and planter boxes on HDB property without prior approval” and urged owners of these plants to remove all of the mentioned items by 12 September 2021, failing which, HDB will dispose of all items on-site.

A garden-ing city or not?

As seen in the picture above, efforts surrounding the community gardening of sustainables have been on the rise, with increasing support from government agencies such as NParks.

A success case story

MP low yen ling discussion with bukit batok town council garden plot at rooftop mscp
Image credits: Low Yen Ling (Facebook)

In a post made by MP Low Yen Ling of the People’s Action Party (Bukit Gombak Branch) earlier yesterday surrounding this debacle, MP Low Yen Ling has clarified that residents need not remove their potted plants on the rooftop of Block 395A multistorey carpark after a meeting with HDB, NParks, and the Chua Chu Kang Town Council.

“The agencies were convinced of the benefits that a community garden would bring to Goodview Gardens residents, and have agreed to the idea. That being said, important measures like ensuring that the space or garden is always kept free of mosquito breeding sites would have to be a top priority.” Said the MP.

In addition, the site shall be transformed into a proper community garden, with the help of the various agencies that will allow for residents to enjoy the continuation of their gardening rituals and social interactions that takes place.

This signifies the progress, a step forward for Singaporeans, seeing feedbacks being heard and actually taken into consideration by their MPs. Such is the result of the close-knitted cooperation of the various inter-agency and resident committees.

Image Credits: Nparks

Nevertheless, we urge all members of the public to first apply for the relevant permits before carrying out such gardening activities on public-owned spaces of land. One should and can visit the proper channels such as the NParks website or approach their nearest resident committees to propose and seek permissions before doing so.

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