A Chinese temple with a columbarium will be built next to the upcoming Build-To-Order (BTO) residential project Fernvale Lea in Sengkang West, spooking future residents and raising fears that property values could fall, according to media reports.
“The location is already not that good. It’s not near the LRT or coffee shops. Now I’m scared the value of the flat will drop if people know it’s near a columbarium,” said Property Executive Rite Jailani.
In July, HDB awarded Australia-based funeral services firm Life Corporation with a project to construct a Chinese temple with a columbarium at Fernvale Link.
“We are still working with the architect on the design for the look and feel of it. We expect it to be completed in 2016,” said Simon Hoo, Life Corp’s CEO.
Responding to claims by Fernvale Lea’s future residents who are expected to move there in 2015 that the authorities failed to inform them about the proposed columbarium, HDB and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said the issued town map and site plan had notes indicating that places of worship may include columbarium as an ancillary use.
Nevertheless, the columbarium must be out of sight from the surrounding housing estates and the space allotted for it should not surpass 20 percent of Chinese temple’s total gross floor area.
Although there are several columbariums near residential districts like the Yishun Columbarium in Yishun Ring Road, some believe that these facilities should be far from housing estates.
“My understanding of a columbarium is that it’s somewhere in a forested area, like Mount Vernon, not near somewhere with high resident density,” said IT Project Manager Loh Hon Chun.
Image: Site plan for Fernvale Lea (Source: HDB)