Location map of the future funeral parlour complex at Ang Mo Kio. Source: NEA
While the industry has welcomed the identification of four new funeral parlour sites, they believe that some of the locations present challenges for the bereaved, reported Channel NewsAsia.
This comes as three of the four sites are within industrial estates, which means they may not be entirely accessible by public transport.
“Funeral infrastructure is no different from a police station, hospital, fire station – it is part of the community infrastructure,” said Mount Vernon Sanctuary founder Ang Ziqian. “Having easily accessible and convenient locations for funeral parlours encourages the community to come together to support any grieving family.”
He noted that it would not be easy for grieving families, friends and relatives to get to the funeral home in any industrial park as it would require them to walk or drive through loud noises, wrecked cars, metal works and huge trash bins.
“To have already lost a loved one and to have to go through an area that is undignified is not something that I want to wish upon any grieving family…Industrial parks are good for manufacturing, but not suitable for the service profession, especially the funeral profession that handles families in heavy emotional grief.”
Aside from the location, industry players also hope for a longer lease term.
Currently, funeral parlours in industrial parks are required to renew their lease every three years – creating uncertainty when upgrading facilities.
“One cannot expect that any place will stay for long because it’s on three years, and there might be relocation plans,” said Ang Zi Sheng, president of the Association of Funeral Directors.
“If the lease is longer, funeral companies can recoup their capital expenditure on infrastructure. And I think infrastructure is very important to create a good environment for bereaved families to grieve.”
Ziqian is hoping for a 60-year lease for the sites since the cost of building something from scratch take some time to recoup.
“There is only so much renovation you can do on a three-year lease,” he said. “This doesn’t help the profession to grow.”
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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org