SINGAPORE — A Housing and Development Board (HDB) multi-storey car park that has commercial units such as a bank, a food court, a convenience store and other services will have to make way by November next year for the construction of the Jurong Region Line (JRL) and its assorted road works.
Block 303 at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 was gazetted by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on Wednesday (May 9), along with 19 part-lots of land and four pockets of air space, as the authorities unveiled the alignment of the country's seventh MRT line.
In total, close to 24,000sqm of land will be acquired.
The HDB car park, which sits on a 4,000sqm plot and is located near Choa Chu Kang MRT Station, houses 190 parking lots, as well as six to eight commercial units on the first floor, with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) as the biggest tenant.
The affected parties will have to vacate their premises by Nov 29 next year.
A replacement car park will be built by LTA, but its exact location is yet to be determined.
In the interim, a temporary surface car park will be provided adjacent to Block 303, where the Choa Chu Kang bus interchange is situated.
The other 18 landowners affected by the acquisition of the 19 part-lots (partial acquisition) will be able to keep their buildings intact, but they will have to give up the ancillary features of their buildings, such as green verges and boundary walls or fencing.
These include schools such as Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Dulwich College; the Galilee Bible Presbyterian Church and Calvary Pandan Bible-Presbyterian Church; and an Esso petrol kiosk at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3.
Affected firms include Acer, BRC Asia Limited, UTOC Engineering, German Centre for Industry and Trade, Caterpillar SARL, Biosensors Interventional Technologies, Mecomb Singapore, Hardaya Equipment, Yang Kee Logistic and Kohler Singapore.
The four pockets of airspace that are acquired comprise three pockets at NTU and one pocket at Singtel Jurong West Exchange.
All affected parties have been informed, and will be compensated based on the market value of the acquired land or air space as at the date of acquisition, in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, announced that the JRL will be 24km long with 24 stations, to be opened in three phases from 2026.
Slated to start operations the year the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail is scheduled for completion, the JRL will connect NTU, Pandan Reservoir and the Tengah area to the existing Choa Chu Kang and Boon Lay stations.
OTHER PLACES PROVIDING AMENITIES
When TODAY spoke to some of the people working at Block 303 or living in the area, they were generally sanguine about the new plan.
A 61-year-old retiree, who gave his name only as Mr Leow, said: “I have heard talk before that they are going to tear down the (block), but since there are shopping malls nearby, it’s okay. I think having new MRT routes is good. It’s better to have it than not having it. We can travel to more places in shorter time.”
Another resident Amir Hamzah Abdul Halim, 22, who is serving National Service, said that the MayBank ATM at Block 303, which is used by his parents and others, will be gone and it will be inconvenient to find an ATM elsewhere.
“In terms of other daily necessities, there are other malls nearby, so it won’t have much impact on us,” he said.
“I am just worried that the dust from the construction may affect our health, especially since it is near the MRT station where many of us, including young children and elders, walk past daily. I hope that the authorities will take measures to minimise the dust,” he added.
Other businesses at the block are mainly franchises and most of the employees are not too worried about losing their jobs.
Mr Wu Shukai, 35, who works in a mobile phone accessories shop, said: “We have many stores at other places. My boss would probably send me to other outlets.”
However, a 65-year-old cobbler, who gave his name as just Mr Lee, is not taking too well to the news.
Having worked at Block 303 for more than eight years, and a resident in Chua Chu Kang, he told TODAY that the announcement “is too sudden” and the land acquisition plan “just breaks my rice bowl”.
“I am very shocked that they only inform us a year in advance. Not too short, but also isn’t long enough for me to make other arrangements, given that I am the sole breadwinner of the family,” he said.
“I have a lot of regular customers. Once I moved to other places, they won’t be able to find me… I run a small-scale business, it is impossible for me to rent a shopfront. The town council has not informed me about the contingency plan yet. Even if they did, I am also worried that they might increase the rent and the new location may not be as crowded as (this place) which is very near to the MRT station.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHEN LIN