Last Sunday's article, 'Bukit Brown road project 'can't wait'', reported that 'strangely, the URA said, no one raised a ruckus when plans highlighting the area's intended future use were displayed for feedback' in 1991 and 2001, when the Concept Plans were released.
This argument is being used to refute current public opinion against the transport and housing developments in Bukit Brown cemetery.
In 1991 and 2001, there were no concrete announcements on the intrusion of physical infrastructure like the road. If there had been a public outcry then, the Government would have replied, understandably, that such an outcry was premature as nothing concrete had yet been planned.
More importantly, we were a different country two decades ago. Thanks to nation-building efforts by the Government, Singaporeans today are more conscious of their national identity and are thus sensitive to any loss of heritage.
With a bigger population now, Singaporeans are hungry for more open spaces and recreational areas, of which Bukit Brown is one.
We also now have new know-ledge of just how rich a historical and ecological resource Bukit Brown is.
Arguments for the conservation of the area were put forth by the Nature Society (Singapore) in its Feedback for the Inter-Ministerial Committee Project on Sustainable Singapore: Lively and Liveable City in 2009, and by the Singapore Heritage Society in the book, Spaces Of The Dead: A Case For The Living, published in May this year.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority Concept Plan is intended for long-term planning and its zones are broad and flexible.
For example, Pulau Ubin was also zoned for residential use in 1991 but it was later re-zoned as 'open space and reserve land' in the 2001 Concept Plan.
To imply that present-day concerns are invalidated by not having been raised 10 or 20 years ago is a flawed premise that leads to sub-optimal decision-making based on outdated information and analysis.
It also denies the possibility for any generation to determine its own immediate future and those of its children.
Chua Ai Lin
Executive Committee Members
Singapore Heritage Society