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Transforming into a charming pioneer town

Transforming into a charming pioneer town

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SINGAPORE — Several thousand new public housing units will be built in Caldecott and Toa Payoh East in the coming years under the Remaking Our Heartland scheme for Toa Payoh, which will also include a facelift for the iconic pedestrian mall in the town centre.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who is the anchor minister of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, unveiled the raft of proposals to rejuvenate the town on Saturday, as an exhibition showcasing the plans kicked off at the Housing and Development Board (HDB) Hub in Toa Payoh. Upcoming HDB EC  launches include Hundred Palms Residences EC, Anchorvale Lane EC,  while existing ones include Parc Life EC , Signature At Yishun ,  Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, , Sol Acres EC and The  Bellewoods EC. Hundred Palms Residences details and Hundred Palms EC show flat will be available shortly.

Details of the housing projects in the two areas will be released at a later date. Most recently, in November last year, over 1,000 Build-to-Order (BTO) units were launched in Bidadari — which is part of Toa Payoh — attracting strong interest from buyers.

The housing project to be built in a 10ha plot in Caldecott, west of Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, will be a stone’s throw away from Caldecott MRT station and within walking distance of amenities such as the Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre, as well as recreational spots like the MacRitchie Reservoir.

Over at Toa Payoh East, the 4ha housing estate will be a “new distinctive landmark” near the Toa Payoh South Community Club and Toa Payoh Polyclinic, said the HDB.

Many of the plans to transform Toa Payoh into a “charming pioneer town” will be rolled out in the next five to 10 years, but the timeframe for each proposal will “differ from site to site”, the HDB said.

The statutory board could not provide the cost of the proposals, saying that plans will be refined to account for feedback gathered during the exhibition launched on Saturday.

The plans are expected to benefit Toa Payoh’s 120,000-odd residents. Besides the new housing projects, Toa Payoh’s iconic town centre, built in the 1970s, will be spruced up.

The 440m Pedestrian Mall running from Block 175 to the Toa Payoh Public Library, and to the open plaza fronting the HDB Hub and Courts furniture store, will have more trees, seats and sheltered resting points, making it more conducive for residents to mingle. In front of the library, a water play feature and an activity space for residents, such as for a game of checkers, could also be added.

Areas in the town with high footfall could be transformed into “social linkways” with art installations, music corners or community cafes, for instance.

Part of the rejuvenation plans include initiatives to preserve Toa Payoh’s history as Singapore’s first town planned and developed by the HDB.

The elevated garden in front of Block 184 in the town centre will morph into a first-of-its-kind Arts and Heritage Corner where there will be storyboards on the history of the estate, as well as a model of the town centre. Markers will also dot the town, in particular, at iconic spots such as the Dragon Playground and the unique Y-shaped Block 53, which has played host to foreign dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II.

Residents can also expect more greenery in their midst, including seven new mini parks along Toa Payoh Ring Road for people to kick back or work out at fitness stations. The 4km loop, bound by Lorong 1 and Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, will be peppered with plant species commonly seen in the area in the past, such as nutmeg and pepper. To lure birds and butterflies, flowering plants will also be grown there, improving the area’s biodiversity.

Two new parks will be built in the vicinity of the new housing projects in Caldecott and Toa Payoh East, while two existing parks in the town will be upgraded to include more green spaces. The HDB will work with the National Parks Board to explore the possibility of incorporating “therapeutic gardens” in the upgraded parks to help with the mental health of elderly residents.

Meanwhile, all five neighbourhood centres in the town will get a facelift, in landscaping and new multi-generational facilities, as well as elderly-friendly features such as handrails – nearly one-third of the residents in Toa Payoh are 60 and older. Lorong 8/8A and Lorong 5 will also be designated as Silver Zones, adding features to make it easier and safer for seniors to move around.

The HDB also said that the relevant authorities are reviewing the extent to which a cycling network could be rolled out in Toa Payoh.

Residents may provide feedback on the plans for Toa Payoh at the exhibition, which runs until May 7. They may also provide their feedback online.

The Remaking Our Heartland initiative is aimed at transforming HDB estates into distinctive and endearing homes for Singaporeans, and was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2007.

Along with Woodlands and Pasir Ris, Toa Payoh was identified for rejuvenation in 2015. The earlier estates identified were Punggol, Dawson and Yishun in 2007, and East Coast, Hougang and Jurong Lake in 2011.
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