Ensuring no HDB town is left behind
HOUSING Board upgrading programmes got a boost yesterday.
The Government announced fresh moves to spruce up more neighbourhoods, touch up ageing flats and replace old lifts.
These enhancements are aimed at keeping ageing estates in good condition, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.
"Many residents with blocks and neighbourhoods that have not yet been upgraded are impatient," said Mr Khaw, who was speaking at the HDB Awards ceremony at Shangri-La Hotel. "They too want to benefit from the new features immediately."
The Government will be paying for most of these upgrading programmes.
One of the changes announced is to speed up the pace of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), which addresses maintenance issues such as structural cracks in flats built in or before 1986.
The number of flats selected for this upgrade, which includes an option for elderly-friendly fittings, will be raised from 35,000 to 50,000 each year.
Some 100,000 flats, out of the 300,000 eligible, will be selected next year, with work on these flats commencing within the next two years.
More than 120,000 flats have been offered the upgrade so far, with residents fully subsidised for essential upgrades. They pay between 5 per cent and 12.5 per cent of the costs for optional improvements like door replacement.
"Early selection of HIP blocks will...enable the owners to better decide whether to wait for the HIP or to proceed first with their own renovations," said Mr Khaw.
The Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP), which improves neighbourhood facilities, will also be expanded to include HDB blocks built between 1990 and 1995. Previously, this applied only to blocks built in and before 1989.
This means that another 100,000 households in more than 1,300 blocks, mostly in middle-aged towns like Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris and Tampines will benefit from the programme.
The scope of improvements under the NRP will also be broadened to include block repainting and other repairs, which were precurrently done as part of the town councils' routine maintenance.
The Government will also replace ageing lifts which were not targeted in the Lift Upgrading Programme, said Mr Khaw.
The new Selective Lift Replacement Programme will replace about 750 lifts, mostly in Choa Chu Kang and Pasir Ris.
The new lifts will come with better safety and security features, like vision panels and motion-sensing doors.
About 33,000 households will benefit from this programme, which will be funded by HDB and the town councils.
Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad said his residents have been asking for such lift safety features for many years.
Statutory board manager Alex Seo, 31, said many residents who come home late at night will appreciate the vision panels.
Trainer Wong Peng Thim, 58, who lives in Block 232, Pasir Ris Drive 4, is looking forward to getting covered walkways and sheltered drop-off porches under the NRP.
"Having no covered walkways makes it inconvenient for us to get home when it rains," he said.
Mr Khaw said that the moves will raise the overall standard of living for residents.
"Every new HDB town should be better than the old town. Every old town should not be too far behind the new town," he said.