Singapore – Chinatown Complex, Singapore’s largest and one of its oldest hawker centres, will be closed for renovations for three months next year starting from March 1 to May 31.
The multi-storey complex, which was built in 1981, houses more than 700 stalls selling food and other goods.
Hawker centres are required to undergo periodic repair and redecoration (R&R) works every five to seven years by their respective town councils or the National Environment Agency (NEA), the latter of which is the managing organization of Chinatown Complex.
The last refurbishing of the complex was between 2006 and 2008 with an upgrading project budget of $20.9. Before that, the centre had a month-long renovation in 2013.
Ten years after the last R&R, Chinatown Complex is in much need for renovations. Lim Gek Meng, the Chinatown Complex Hawker’s Association chairman, shared with Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao that because of the old sewage pipes, the building was prone to clogging and leaking. “The floor of the wet market is too slippery and we are worried that old people will slip and fall, so the town council will re-tile it”, added Mr. Lim
Other tenants agree that it was about time for the building to undergo renovations and hopefully come out with a new look, even though it would mean their businesses would have to be put on hold for a few months.
Aside from addressing the sewer pipes, other areas such as fixing the ventilation system, replacing wall fans, installing fire protection systems and upgrading public toilets will also be conducted.
Another concern buzzing around the building is whether or not some tenants will use this time as a reason to permanently close shop because they are very close to retirement age.
Meanwhile, netizens and frequent customers of the hawker centre are wary of the fact that the renovation could lead to higher rentals and prices of the food and products sold in Chinatown Complex. Others saw this time as a great opportunity for hardworking hawkers to take some rest and go on vacation.
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