NIMBY no more. Silent majority has spoken. A month ago a group of 130 Mountbatten residents had petitioned for a rehabilitation centres for the elderly to be located elsewhere
Today, a GROUP of 500 residents in Mountbatten are fighting back against their neighbours’ opposition. Kudos.
DOING IT FOR OLD FOLK
“The old folks here are unable to speak for themselves and the estate, so somebody has got to do something.” — Retired businessman Michael Tan, 72, who with a few friends in the neighbourhood began to gather support for the pro-centre petition
‘Yes, in my backyard’
Published on Jun 2, 2012, The Straits Times. By Robin Chan
Group of 500 residents want Govt to stick to plans to build rehab centres
A GROUP of 500 residents in Mountbatten are fighting back against their neighbours’ opposition to plans for rehabilitation centres for the elderly to be built in their estate.
In what appears to be a twist to the not-in-my-backyard (Nimby) syndrome, they have petitioned the Government to stick with its plans to build the centres in the void decks of Blocks 10 and 11 on Jalan Batu.
Made up mostly of elderly folk, the group includes residents who live in these two blocks. Their petition comes about a month after a group of 130 residents had petitioned for the facilities to be located elsewhere.
The second group made their move fearing that the authorities would drop the plans or build a centre over a communal fountain – as the first group had suggested – where many like to gather.
Some of them were also frustrated by the first petition, and believe it came from younger neighbours who did not want their void deck to be used, even though it would take up only about 30 per cent of the space.
‘The younger ones don’t understand,’ said contractor A. Samat, 68, who lives in Block 10. ‘It seems that some younger residents nowadays can only think of themselves.’
Housewife Gurdip Kaur, 55, whose son has been going to a temporary rehabilitation centre at Block 12 after being injured in a car accident, agreed. ‘There are more old folk here than children,’ she told The Straits Times. ‘If the Government is doing something nice for us, we should let them.’
If built, the new centres will be about nine times the size of the temporary one, and have equipment to aid recovery from stroke or Parkinson’s disease.
The neighbourhood rift had started last month, when about 130 residents who live in Blocks 10 and 11 submitted a petition to Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan. Their concerns included the safety of children playing at the void decks, construction noise, and the likelihood of the resale price of their flats dropping.
They then proposed alternative venues for the centres: a nearby waste-bin collection centre, a central fountain next to Block 10, or the void deck of Block 1 or 14.
But the ceilings at Blocks 1 and 14 are believed to be too low to accommodate the centres, while the fountain is a popular gathering place for residents. The other blocks do not have void decks.
The petition not only fuelled national debate over the Nimby syndrome, but also angered other Jalan Batu residents who wanted the centres built in the void decks.
Hearing their concerns, retired businessman Michael Tan and a few friends in the neighbourhood began to gather support for the pro-centre petition. Said the 72-year-old, who has lived there for 16 years: ‘The old folks here are unable to speak for themselves and the estate, so somebody has got to do something.’
The signatories include residents of Blocks 10 and 11, but it is not known how many of them live in these two blocks.
Mr Lim, their MP, has submitted both petitions to the Ministry of Health, which he said is still reviewing the case. He said the Government would take into account the views of the ‘silent majority’ as well.
For older residents like Madam Teh Kar Gim, 84, the greatest fear is that the fountain gets removed.
Said her neighbour Madam Kong Mei Lan, 74: ‘It is such a nice place. Why would they want to build a centre right over that?’
repost from Fabrications About The PAP
Lim BC commented in the FabPAP post:
Dear all, I have stated in the ST that not all residents who are against the physiotherapy centre should be classified as “NIMBY”. Many of them do have valid concerns. I have asked MOH to look into their concerns and MOH will do their best to ensure that as they will do as much as they can to allay these concerns.
These people who oppose the centre are also my residents and I will do what I can to assist them. I will also do my best to ensure that whatever is eventually built in this area is of benefit to the majority of the residents.
Currently, the assessment by MOH is that a physiotherapy rehabilitation centre is of greater need in this estate due to the large number of elderly living in the area. The centre is by referral only and there will not be any walk in clients. Traffic congestion would not be an issue. Priority will be given to the residents living in the estate.
The plan is also to have a nursing station where nurses will make home visits to teach residents how to clean their wounds. There will be 3 full time physiotherapists located at the centre and a geriatric doctor who will make regular visits. It will be of great benefit to all the residents in Tg Rhu.