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Thu 10 Feb 2005

HDB fells mature trees in Jalan Membina, not protected by NParks

Category : news

"If a tree falls..." Letter to Today by Lu Chisen, 8th February 2005.

"Is S'pore just paying lip-service to preservation?

There was a lot of publicity in the press two weeks ago regarding new legislation covering the preservation of trees. However, within a day of the announcement, all the mature trees along Jalan Membina were felled.

There were 15 to 20 trees stretching from Tiong Bahru Road to Jalan Bukit Merah. There is one left standing, marked for felling in the future but spared for the time being because the workers on the adjacent development park their motorcycles under its generous shade.

The trees were about 25 to 30 years old. Swietenia microphylla, also known as "False Mahogany", are considered good trees because they have a lovely shape, provide good shade and do not shed their branches. All that is left is a row of stumps lining a baking hot road.

I tried calling the the Housing and Development Board, the National Parks Board and Tanjong Pagar Town Council to find out who was responsible.

The National Parks Board informed me that Surbana Consultants at Jalan Bukit Merah was the project manager for the development.

They come under the umbrella of the HDB and did not need approval to fell the trees as Jalan Membina is not a "heritage road". Their project occupies less than a quarter the length of Jalan Membina, yet trees along the entire length of the road were felled.

What is the point of having a national policy of tree preservation?

Mature trees should be protected wherever they stand, whether it is on a "heritage road" or in an HDB estate.

Who is to say today's HDB estate could not be tomorrow's "heritage park"?"

Thanks to Victor Yue for the alert

Posted at 2:11AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news