Marsiling Rise Trees: Common Property, Uncommon Properties

A group of residents living in Marsiling Rise have come together to question their Town Council’s decision to remove an assortment of trees that they planted into the ground and have tended to for a decade. It was first reported on Today newspaper and was followed by a response from the Town Council. Not satisfied with the developments, a resident wrote into the Straits Times Forum today questioning the Town Council’s actions against the call for making Singapore into a garden city.

I headed down to Marsiling Rise today and it was quite a sight to see how the ground-floor residents of Block 103 to Block 127 have created a pathway of gardens outside their homes. Against the backdrop of a grass slope of Woodlands Town Park East, these residents’ gardens add on to a unique green corridor that these four-storey blocks face.

The current problem arises because the resident planted some trees that into the ground of the estate’s common property. As we’ve seen in several cases in our story, Town Councils today are okay with potted plants but will clamp down when one plants into the land that is managed by them. The land, common property, is meant for all residents to enjoy but under such tight management by the Town Councils, they have been usually left alone instead.

According to the news report, some residents support the decision to remove the trees because it is unsightly. We think that is a convenient solution. How about bringing the residents together to come up with a garden that is aesthetically pleasing instead of just removing it? Based on the above gardens, I’m sure the residents can create something beautiful. Plus, the community can get to work together to solve their problem.

The Town Council’s other solution of asking residents to plant in the community gardens set aside for them (left) smacks of a convenient excuse to manage things Singapore-style. Want to protest? Go to Speaker’s Corner. Want to garden? Go to a community garden.

Yet by setting aside land for singular purposes, we not only make the country smaller than it actually is, we return to a banality that pervades our environment — everything has its place in this grand masterplan that we are living in.