17 September 2011
The Singapore Heritage Society does not support the decision to redevelop Bukit Brown Cemetery without:
a) a complete historical survey to assess the full impact of any such plans;
b) detailed information from LTA and URA on their decision making process, including the other alternatives that have been considered; and
c) public consultation.
In the absence of these three conditions at present, the Society cannot agree to the road construction plans.
In addition to preserving sites for their historical value, these spaces contribute to the greater public good as common areas that can be enjoyed by everyone.
As LTA and URA only contacted the SHS very recently regarding documentation of Bt Brown Cemetery, the society has as yet not been able to finalise any work plan for the documentation. This reiterates our stand that sufficient lead time has not been given with regards to urban planning decisions.
However, the Society has already been putting these government agencies in touch with relevant expertise, such as researchers specialising in Chinese cemeteries with experience of cemetery documentation. The intention will be to organise volunteers under the guidance of these experts.
Among the challenges of documentation:
a) currently, the amount of funding that will be available for documentation is uncertain;
b) the short time-frame of the development plans;
c) difficulties in recruiting sufficient volunteers with requisite skills;
d) the physically-demanding nature of the documentation work;
e) delays expected due to wet weather at the end of the year.
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