The 2nd largest electoral boundary within URA Master Plan 2008 for Queenstown is the Buona Vista Constituency. Buona Vista Electoral Boundary incorporates two districts within Queenstown, namely Commonwealth and Buona Vista (the Holland Part of Buona Vista). In the last election, the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representative Constituency was uncontested and a walkover preceded, giving the ruling party parliamentary seats. Today, MyQueenstown will deliver an insight on Buona Vista Constituency, whose Member of Parliament is Lim Swee Say, who is also the Secretary General of National Trade Union Congress.
Located at the central south of Singapore, Buona Vista has a large and diverse group of voters. The older and poorer residents reside in the 46 year-old Commonwealth Estate whereas the richer residents live in the landed apartments and terraces along Holland Road. The latter group was not included in our research because their location of residence was not part of Queenstown. Buona Vista (including parts of Ghim Moh) and Commonwealth had over 12,000 households and forms a sizeable part of the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representative Constituency. This report will be useful for residents to understand better the socio-political issues within the district.
Financial Situation of Residents
According to the Singapore Statistics Department, around 22% of the residents within Queenstown are 65 years old and above. More than half the residents lived in 3 room apartment flats and below. The recession in the last two years have seen a spike in applications for financial assistant. The Buona Vista part of Queenstown is no different. It consists of a similar demographics as the electoral Queenstown constituency.
Although the costs of living have been increasing in the past year, many residents in Buona Vista could assess the various financial assistance schemes. According to the grassroots members at Buona Vista, the number of applicants has since declined.
General Facilities & Upgrading Concerns
There are many areas in the constituency that are upgraded since the last election. Residents applaud at the construction of various facilities and look forward to them. This includes the impending opening of the Holland Village MRT Station and expansion of the Buona Vista MRT Station. There will be improvement in accessibility for residents living in Chip Bee Gardens and Holland Avenue.
The Community Garden (in Holland Close) launched in 2008 is another facility which receives approval from the residents. The community garden was set up to engage retirees and the elderly. It also helps residents of all ages to bond with one another. The apparent knowledge on the existence of the community garden signified the strong meshwork of grassroots involvement among the residents.
Selective Enbloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) at Holland was greeted with both fanfare and disappointment. Like many parts of Queenstown, the older residents continue to cling on to whatever memories they have about the peaceful old town charm at Holland Drive.
One facility residents in Holland would like to see being upgraded is the Buona Vista Swimming Complex. At the moment, there are contrasting views from the residents that upgrading is inevitable at the Swimming Complex. Many residents from other districts of Queenstown will also come to the Buona Vista Swimming Complex because of it is "safer" and and more "well maintained."
The Holland Drive Market and Hawker Centre was quiet and empty during lunchtime in our last two visits. The smell of raw vegetables and seafood from the market (at ground floor) permeates into the hawker centre (located at 2nd floor) because of weak ventilation within the hawker centre. This is something to ponder, considering the market appears to have upgraded.
Buona Vista is well known as the hotbed for young commmunity leaders. The last election has seen two new candidates from the ruling party working under the tutelage of the incumbent, Lim Swee Say. The multi-million makeover of the community centre has seen an increase in patronage from the residents. The introduction of restaurants and ice cream chains such as Hans, have attracted young people from nearby schools. Unlike Queenstown Community Centre, the convenient location of the Community Centre (next to Buona Vista Bus Terminal and Holland Drive market) was another reason for its popularity. Many Queenstown residents from Mei Ling and Tanglin Halt also visit the Buona Vista Community Centre regularly.
MyQueenstown Team has conducted a quick poll at Holland and Commonwealth earlier this year. These are the results from the polls and it is advised that this information ought to be used discreetly.