Haphazard tree planting poses problems

Straits Times Forum 7 Dec 09;

WE REFER to last Saturday's letter by Dr Praema Raghavan-Gilbert, 'Are only VIP trees protected?', on residents' efforts to nurture trees in Marsiling estate.

Sembawang Town Council supports planting and gardening activities in the common area. We advise residents to keep their potted plants in a neat manner in front of their units. This is to maintain a neat and clean environment, and also to avoid causing obstruction to their neighbours.

We do not allow haphazard in-ground planting as it may lead to mosquito breeding, soil erosion and other environmental and maintenance problems. Residents who are keen on in-ground planting are encouraged to participate in the community garden, which was constructed near Block 116, Marsiling Rise, in 2006.

We agree that existing mature and healthy trees that do not pose any maintenance or other environmental issues should be retained. In addition, the town council will plant more fruit trees in the vicinity, to be adopted and cared for by residents. They are welcome to suggest the type of fruit trees they would like to see in their community.

Sembawang Town Council has discussed with the Marsiling Zone 2 Residents' Committee to arrange a meeting with the residents. We will share with them the proposed plan by the residents' committee and town council, and we welcome feedback from them.

Dr Raghavan-Gilbert said the community garden is not accessible. All members of the Community Garden Club are given keys to the garden and are able to carry out their gardening activities as and when they are free. Dr Raghavan-Gilbert and other residents who are keen on gardening are encouraged to join the club, to share their gardening interest and experience with their fellow residents.

The town council is of the view that this is a more balanced approach to catering to residents' interests in gardening, maintaining a pleasant and safe environment and, at the same time, helping to enhance community bonding.

Soon Min Sin
General Manager
Sembawang Town Council