The Business Times
By JOYCE HOOI
(SINGAPORE) The keys to the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) one- millionth flat were handed to its owners yesterday, at the completion ceremony of Treelodge@Punggol.
The development is the first eco-friendly precinct developed under the auspices of the HDB, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in February this year.
‘In just 50 years, the HDB has built one million flats to house a nation. This is no mean feat, and few other countries can lay claim to such an outstanding achievement in so short a time,’ said Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, during his speech as the ceremony’s guest-of- honour.
Mr Teo is also an MP for the Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
The Treelodge@Punggol features an eco-deck above the carpark, a playground built from recyclable materials, and a rainwater collection system, among other things.
Residents will also have a car sharing scheme at their disposal, which will include hybrid cars as well.
An additional centralised refuse chute for recyclables has been introduced for each block, in order to promote more waste recycling.
‘It’s something new. There were no other HDB flats that were indicated as eco-friendly then, and we were quite excited to get it,’ said Christina Ng, the owner of the one-millionth flat, a four-room unit.
Ms Ng and her husband, Wang Weiji, balloted for the flat in 2007 and are first-time homeowners. They plan to move in after the Chinese New Year.
The development was launched in 2007 with seven blocks of 709 flat units in total, comprising three-, four-, and five-room flats.
Year-to-date, 3,300 new flats have been launched in Punggol by the HDB and another 1,000 new flats are due to be launched over the next few days.
‘If demand remains strong, HDB is on track to complete 35,000 flats by the end of 2015,’ said Mr Teo.
Last month, the HDB launched the tender for the first mixed commercial-residential site at Punggol Town Centre, which will be next to the Punggol Waterway and Punggol MRT station.
‘The HDB story is also the story of hope and social mobility in Singapore,’ said Mr Teo.
‘Singaporeans know that if they work hard and budget wisely, they can aspire to upgrade to a better flat and a better life.’
In 2008, the HDB won the United Nations Public Service Award for its Home Ownership Programme.
This was followed by the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award 2010, which was given to the HDB for ‘providing one of Asia’s and the world’s greenest, cleanest, and most socially conscious housing programmes’.