Illegal shrine in Science Centre Road given final notice to vacate for construction works, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Illegal shrine in Science Centre Road given final notice to vacate for construction works

This article is more than 12 months old

An illegal makeshift shrine in Science Centre Road will have to be vacated by Dec 12 to make way for construction works.

The JTC, National Parks Board (NParks) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) issued the final notice to the caretakers of the makeshift shrine on Tuesday, more than 16 months after they were first approached about the issue.

In a joint media statement on Tuesday, the agencies said the makeshift shrine is an illegal encroachment on public land, and the site where the shrine is located is part of the Jurong Lake District Masterplan.

The land is needed for land preparation and infrastructure works, which are scheduled to begin in the near term, they said.

The agencies had contacted the caretakers on July 28, 2021, and issued an advisory on Aug 19, 2021, requesting them to vacate the site by the end of the month.

The caretakers appealed to the agencies, saying that they have difficulties finding a new site to relocate to. They were granted a four-month extension and agreed to move out by Dec 13, 2021.

At the end of September 2021, they said they would not be able to vacate by the deadline due to Covid-19 restrictions. A few weeks later, the agencies asked the caretakers to provide proof and details of the challenges they faced in relocating, but they failed to do so.

The agencies said they granted a second extension to the caretakers to vacate by Jan 13, 2022, despite the lack of evidence.

On Dec 25, 2021, the caretakers appealed to NParks to allow the shrine to remain on site, but it was rejected as the shrine is an unauthorised encroachment on public land.

The caretakers requested another extension on Jan 5 for them to seek independent legal advice, and were granted a third extension until Feb 13.

The agencies said in Tuesday’s statement that the Government has provided ample time for the caretakers to look for alternative sites for the shrine and facilitate its removal.

“However, despite the multiple extensions and engagements with the shrine’s caretakers, the illegal shrine remains on site,” they added.

If the shrine has not been removed by the final deadline of Dec 12, the agencies will issue formal enforcement notices under the State Lands Encroachment Acts and the JTC Common Property Rules for them to do so.

The agencies added that they will continue to provide the necessary assistance to facilitate the removal of the shrine with due respect and sensitivity.