Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and residents of Bishan Street 12 Precinct.
1 2006 has so far been very good for Bishan residents as only three months into the year, I have already launched the Lift Upgrading Programme for Blks 153 to 159 at Bishan Street 13. And another eight blocks at Blks 160 to 167, have also been selected for Lift Upgrading.
2 In fact the residents of Bishan are very fortunate. Not only because you live in a vibrant town which many Singaporeans aspire to move to because of its various attractions and conveniences, but also because it is in an active state of renewal, as your living environment and facilities are constantly being upgraded to match your changing needs.
3 Apart from the external environments being improved, a total of 43 blocks in Bishan have also already polled for lift upgrading under either the LUP or IUP Plus programmes. Of these, 11 are currently under construction, 6 have been completed, and the rest are at the tendering stage.
4 I am very happy that your homes from Blocks 101 to 109 are selected for the IUP Plus programme as well. Even our two low-rise blocks 104 and 108 will be able to enjoy the Lift Upgrading Programme with a new lift that stops on every floor for each of them. The IUP Plus is meant for flats built between 1981 and 1986, and it brings you improvements under two programmes – the IUP where improvements are carried out to the common areas, and the Lift Upgrading Programme. The two have been combined so that you can enjoy their benefits at the same time.
5 Under the IUP component of the programme, you will get a community garden, a new children’s playground, elderly fitness station, linkways and drop-off porches, as well as a roof over your multi-purpose court so that you can use it in any kind of weather. All of this will make your surroundings more pleasant for you and your family to spend more time outdoors, and for you as a community to come together to interact and get to know one another better.
6 More than the external improvements, I know you will be especially looking forward to the Lift Upgrading Programme. Today, with our aging population, direct lift access is a very important priority for all of us. Even just a single flight of stairs could be a major hindrance to their movement and freedom, and a fall could bring serious injuries. Apart from our elderly, we also have families with young children who will greatly appreciate not having to manage active children, baby strollers, and grocery bags, up and down staircases.
7 While you can appreciate the many benefits of IUP Plus, I know that cost will always be a concern. You will be glad to know that for the IUP portion of the programme, you will not have to pay a cent for the improvements. The new outdoor facilities and amenities will be yours to enjoy without any cost to you.
8 For Lift Upgrading, we will use the new technology which makes lift upgrading even more affordable, and also cuts down the construction time. Only those households without direct lift access currently and who will enjoy direct lift access after upgrading will need to pay. This cost is heavily subsidised by the government and the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council. For our 3-room Singapore Citizen households, your share works out to 5% of the total cost or about $740, 4-room owners would pay 7.5% or about $1,110, 5-room owners 10% or about $1,480, and our Executive households 12.5% or about $1,850. For those in the low-rise Blocks 104 and 108, while you still pay 5 and 7.5 percent, the cost is a little bit more because there are fewer households. In Block 104, the 3-room owners pay about $960 and the 4-room owners, about $1,440. For Block 108, your share is about $1,350 for 3-room households, and about $2,025 for 4-room households.
9 You only start to pay once the works have been completed. You can pay in cash or with your CPF, and you can also pay by monthly instalments. If you take the 10-year instalment plan, our 3-room Singapore Citizen households pay only $8 a month. Our 4-room owners pay just $12 a month, 5-roomers $15, and Executive flat owners pay $19. Those in the two low-rise blocks pay a little bit more, between $10 to $21 each month on the 10-year plan. This is really a very small price for peace of mind and the greater convenience of having the lift stop right at your floor.
10 Although the cost is minimal, I know and understand that it can still be worrying for some of us. But I wish to assure you that no one has to forego government improvement programmes because of cost. You do not have to pay until all the works are completed, and there is always help for owners who are in financial hardship. The repayment period can be extended beyond 10 years, or payment can be deferred with interest until the flat is sold. So please, do not worry about whether or not you can afford the lift upgrading. The programme is for your benefit and we will ensure that it is financially accessible for you.
11 While cost should not be a factor, your support for the programme must be strong in order for us to implement it for you. For lift upgrading, because flat owners co-share the cost, at least 75 percent of those in your block without direct lift access must vote Yes for LUP. This is your responsibility and your vote counts if you want a better living environment. The IUP component is fully funded by the government and all you have to do is indicate your support in the IUP survey form that has been given to you.
12 You have from today till Tuesday the 28th to view the exhibition that has been prepared by HDB. Please do not hesitate to ask or clarify with the HDB staff or your grassroots leaders if you are unsure about anything. Consult with your neighbours as your decision will affect not only you and your family, but everyone in this precinct. So work together as a community for a decision that will benefit everyone.
13 I sincerely hope that you will not let this opportunity pass you by, but will seize this chance to improve your living environment. I will look forward to sharing many events and activities with you in your newly invigorated precinct.
14 With that, it is my pleasure to launch the IUP Plus for Bishan Street 12 Precinct. Thank you.