SINGAPORE: Over the next three years, Bedok Town Centre will be rejuvenated and transformed into an exciting hub.
Minister of State for National Development and an MP for East Coast GRC, Lee Yi Shyan, said proposals to revitalise the heartlands are being realised, starting with the Bedok Town Centre.
He added that key developments are already on track.
On Sunday, both Mr Lee and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and another MP for the GRC, Lim Swee Say, officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new hawker centre, multi-storey car park and town plaza.
The new hawker centre and multi-storey car park will be completed in May 2014.
The plaza and a heritage corner will then be built on the site of the existing hawker centre.
Mr Lee said the plaza to be completed in mid-2015 will serve as an ideal gathering place for residents in Bedok.
Mr Lee said nearly 70 percent of the stalls in the current hawker centre have changed hands several times. The remaining 30 percent have been operating as the original stallholders.
"We are taking care of this 30 percent," he said, adding that they would be given "priority allocation and certain kinds of convenience for the first few years" when they move to the new hawker centre.
"But of course the rentals will still be (based on) market price. It is important to keep it that way because the phenomenon will repeat itself in the sense that if you charge very low (rentals), they will sublet to other people and just make money by subletting and not providing food operations, and this, we've seen in other hawker centres," said Mr Lee.
"So we have to take steps to make sure that the prices will be competitive. My main goal is to make sure that Bedok centre will continue to be a good hawker centre, providing affordable and great food."
Mr Lee also assured residents that measures will be taken to minimise inconveniences during the construction period.
He said: "As we transform Bedok Town Centre into a vibrant new hub, some of you may be concerned with the possible inconveniences.
"We seek your understanding and patience on these short-term inconveniences, so that we can all reap the longer term benefits of a revitalised Bedok Town Centre.
"We assure you that we will take all measures to minimise disturbances to you during the construction stage, wherever possible.
"For example, we have arranged an interim surface car park in front of Block 23 New Upper Changi Road for motorists to park their vehicles.
"For pedestrians, we have provided an interim sheltered walkway from the bus-stop at Bedok Town Centre to the hawker centre at Block 207, with signages installed to guide your way around.
"Noise and dust mitigating measures will also be put in place during the construction period."
In January last year, the HDB announced that the East Coast area will be included in the government's S$1 billion plan for the second batch of towns to be improved under the Remaking Our Heartland programme, or ROH, with Bedok as a "Gateway to the East Coast".