A horde of Singaporeans wanting to ring in 2021 from a high vantage point flocked to the rooftop gardens of the million-dollar SkyVille and SkyTerrace @ Dawson HDB projects on New Year’s Eve, causing massive inconvenience to residents. Complaints by the residents on the community Facebook page ‘Dawson SkyVille SkyTerrace’ revealed the extent of the havoc that night.
“Two hours to park the car and take a lift to my flat”, says Dawson HDB resident
Although the publicly accessible rooftop gardens of Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace have regularly drawn crowds, residents felt that the situation on the eve of 2021 was the worst by far in the five years since the developments were completed. “[It] took me nearly two hours to park the car and take a lift to my flat, this is ridiculous,” a resident commented on the Facebook post highlighting the situation that night.
The post, published on 1 January, also included photgraphs of long queues at the ground floor and rooftop garden lift lobbies of Dawson SkyVille. The rooftop garden at Dawson Skyville is located on the 47th storey.
The Police were called to the scene. When they arrived, they were reportedly unable to get to the rooftop gardens to control the crowd.
A resident also remarked that the noise generated by the crowd, which included shouting from rowdy revellers and honking from cars at the carpark and driveway, had kept her up until 5am on New Year’s Day, while a father complained that the disturbance caused his “sleeping daughter to wake up crying”.
In the aftermath, residents were also confronted with overflowing dustbins and litter strewn in common areas.
Given the rising number of community Covid-19 towards the end of December, residents were also concerned that visitors to the Dawson HDB flats did not observe safe distancing. A mother-of-two resident complained about the lack of policing at the rooftop gardens to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines were being adhered to:
Not the first time
In comments on the Facebook post, residents noted that the issues caused by non-residents isn’t limited to the New Year alone.
“On the eve of every festive season this happens and its almost impossible for our own residents to enjoy the amenities we pay for, especially so for those with young kids,” wrote the author of the post.
Another resident, a mother-of-one, remarked that inconveniences caused by visitors are an “everyday” occurence, citing “youngsters drinking liquor” and stating with disgust that they frequently relieve themselves at the staircase because there are no toilets at the rooftop gardens.
Visitors have also frequently been seen smoking in the Dawson HDB rooftop gardens, when doing so is not permitted under the law.
In the same comment thread, what further aggrieved Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace residents is the fact that pay a higher monthly Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) than other residents in the same town council. For instance, four-room flat owners at Dawson pays at least 64% more in S&CC than other four-room flat owners within Tanjong Pagar Town Council.
“We did not agree to this”
In the comment thread of the Facebook post, residents of Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace also recounted numerous attempts to get their Member of Parliament (MP), Joan Pereira, to intervene and address the inconveniences caused by outsiders, but to no avail.
A resident added that he had previously approached the MP during a walkabout, but said that she replied by pointing out a clause in their HDB lease agreement that the sky garden and roof garden would be open to the public.
The author of the post rebuked this line of reasoning by the MP, saying that while the residents were aware that spaces such as the rooftop terraces would be made publicly accessible, they “did not agree to have an overcrowding Sky Garden” that residents would be deprived of using.
Several residents also lamented that despite various complaints and feedback in the five years since the projects were completed, nothing has been done. This comment by an irate resident probably sums it up best:
Dawson HDB rooftop accessible to public free-of-charge
The rooftop terraces of Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace, which are respectively situated on the 47th and 43rd storeys, are open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access to the rooftops isn’t monitored and is free of charge via lifts that are shared with residents.
This is in contrast with another popular HDB rooftop terrace at Pinnacle @ Duxton, which requires the non-resident to register and pay a $6 fee to access the 50th storey rooftop via a turnstile gantry. Visitor numbers are limited to 200 per day and the Pinnacle @ Duxton rooftop has been closed to visitors since March 2020 because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Because there isn’t a system in place to control or limit access the rooftop terraces at the Dawson HDB flats, it has become a popular hangout for Singaporeans over the past few years. The rooftops are frequently promoted as a must-visit attraction by websites and users on social media platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok, and crowds have surged due to Covid-19 travel bans that left Singaporeans searching for attractions on home soil.
In the Facebook post, residents of Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace have also highlighted the double standards between their developments and Pinnacle @ Duxton, regarding public access to rooftop terraces.
Dawson RC responds
In response, the Dawson Residents’ Committee (RC) Facebook page wrote that they were “aware of the crowd situation on New Year’s Eve, when there were many people heading up to the sky gardens to catch a view of the fireworks.”
Despite residents’ complaints, the RC felt they had done their part on 31 December 2020. “As your RC, we had also sought assurances from relevant agencies who had deployed their officers onsite to advise the people on safe distancing and to carry out enforcement duties.”
The RC however admitted that the “overwhelming” crowds had caused “inconveniences to residents” and that more needed to be done. It added it is “reconvening a task force meeting with the agencies to prevent such a situation from happening again” and that it would “take into consideration” suggestions from residents.
Some of the suggestions by residents include charging non-residents a small fee to enter the rooftop garden, and to assign dedicated lifts for residents during festive occasions.
Meanwhile, Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace continue to be sought-after properties on the HDB resale market. In 2020, seven flats here have been sold at prices above $1 million.
[Curious? Check out the properties listed for sale in these two projects.]
Do residents at Dawson SkyVille and SkyTerrace deserve better? Share your views in the comments below.
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