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PAP Town Councils launch S$32m plan to make HDB estates barrier-free

By Noor Mohd Aziz, Channel NewsAsia
14 February 2007 1713 hrs

SINGAPORE : All HDB estates managed by the 14 PAP Town Councils are expected to be barrier-free by 2011.

More than S$32 million will be spent to upgrade and interlink the common areas, under a five-year masterplan to help elderly residents as well as those with disabilities.

Ninety-five percent of the money will be funded by the government's Community Improvement Projects Committee, with the rest coming from the town councils' coffers.

Pilot projects are being carried out in 87 precincts involving more than 1,300 blocks.

Bukit Panjang precinct has seen several improvement works over the past year.

Steps have been levelled, and ramps and railings constructed, to make the place barrier-free.

Homemaker Heng Geok Hong, who is pleased with the outcome, said, "With the slope, it is much better, easier. The children won't hop up and down and going up is much smoother...."

The man overseeing the entire project, NorthWest CDC Mayor Dr Teo Ho Pin, has promised that the improvement works would be cost-effective and functional.

Residents and grassroots leaders would be consulted for feedback, and improvement works would continue even after all 8,200 HDB blocks have been upgraded.

Dr Teo, who is Coordinating Chairman of PAP Town Councils, said, "Even after the next five years, with the completion of the masterplan, we would need to relook into the plan again to see how we can make the whole town, all the towns run by the PAP Town Councils, user-friendly, handicapped-friendly and also elderly-friendly."

The Town Councils will also work closely with other government bodies like the Land Transport Authority, PUB, National Environment Agency and NParks to create a barrier-free environment. - CNA/ms