Tell residents why trees have to be felled

Straits Times Forum 7 Nov 11;

I AM dismayed that a row of trees near my HDB flat in Block 402, Hougang Avenue 8, has been removed. These mature Sea Apple trees were all taller than 15m and have been an integral part of my neighbourhood for more than 20 years.

The contractor also told my father that more trees directly facing our unit might be felled.

While there may be legitimate reasons for their removal, there must be proper accountability to the residents, bearing in mind the sentimental, historical and ecological significance of such trees. The town council has underestimated the value of greenery to us.

I have spent many moments of my childhood gazing out of the window of my room at these leafy trees. During the flowering season, one can see sunbirds, bees and even bats flocking to take a sip of nectar from the white flowers. I remember how delighted I was when a bird decided to build a nest on a tree. Many hours of my time were spent observing the parents taking care of their chicks.

From my observations, saplings of Cengal trees have been planted to occupy the now bare green verges. These trees will take many years to reach the same height as the ones that were removed. They also flower and fruit only once in several years, and are therefore not as ecologically appealing to attract biodiversity.

My family and I appeal to the newly formed Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, which manages the trees in my neighbourhood, to clearly state the reasons for felling the trees. More importantly, what are some other ways to save the remaining trees instead of removing them completely?

Notices should be placed on the boards at our void decks prior to such tree-felling work, so residents can be informed and their queries can be answered.

Teo Siyang