Who do you call to fix that burst pipe?

People’s Association initiative helps private estate residents deal with maintenance issues

Residents at private estates islandwide could soon find it easier to get help with maintenance issues and drive community programmes to bond with one another, after yesterday’s launch of the One Connect initiative.

The programme is part of the People’s Association’s plan to empower its Neighbourhood Committees to better serve the needs of those living in private estates.

More than 43,000 residents living in the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and Sengkang West Single Member Constituency (SMC) are among the first to benefit from the initiative.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted at the launch that it can sometimes be a hassle for private residents to approach the correct public agency on maintenance issues.

Mr Lee said: “If the road needs to be repaired, you go to (the Land Transport Authority). If the drains need to be repaired, you must go to PUB. If you want to trim the tree down, then it depends whose land is the tree growing on. So it can be quite time consuming and frustrating to make telephone calls and get shunted from one agency to another.”

Under One Connect @ Ang Mo Kio-Sengkang West, residents will be able to dial a toll-free hotline – 1800 2255 123 – for all maintenance issues if they are unsure of which Government agencies to contact. The launch comes after a successful two-year pilot in the area.

During the pilot, the programme handled a total of 678 cases or an average of 28 cases per month. Three in four cases involved daily maintenance issues related to the pruning of trees, clearing of drains, control of stray animals and illegal parking. The remaining cases were generally suggestions pertaining to upgrading and improvement of the estates. One of the issues resolved by the programme was the problem of stray cats near Jalan Lebun and Sembawang Hills Food Centre.

The initiative also aims to look into the social well-being of residents, by connecting those with similar interests. It also seeks to make it easier for residents to implement initiatives related to the safety and security of their neighbourhood. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of private dwelling units increased from about 200,000 to 270,000.

The PA’s coordinating unit for neighbourhood committees will be encouraging them to adopt features of the initiative. Next Sunday, the neighbourhood committees in the Moulmein-Kallang GRC and Whampoa SMC will be launching a hotline for private estates.

Mr Lee said: “These residents in our private estates are part of our community and we would like them to be also engaged in the same way we can with HDB residents. We will be sharing One Connect’s success with other constituencies. So from One Connect, it’s going to become connecting many.”

Source : Today – 2012 Jul 10

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