Agencies still working with turtle and tortoise museum on move date
Ms Connie Tan is running out of time trying to find a new home for the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum, which faces eviction from its Chinese Gardens home on March 30.
On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Ministry of National Development (MND) and other agencies would look into the issue after she sought his help in a post on his Facebook page.
The museum, which was opened in 2001, has to make way for the development of the Jurong Lake District.
Yesterday, the National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said they will continue to engage Ms Tan on her plans for the museum.
They also said in the joint statement that NParks is studying the project timeline to see if Ms Tan can be given more time. The agencies said the museum was informed of the redevelopment plans in 2011 and given until March 30, 2016, when its lease was due to expire, to move out .
As they empathised with the museum's need to look for an appropriate relocation site, NParks extended its tenancy until March 30 this year.They also arranged for Ms Tan to visit Kusu Island in May 2016 to see if it could be viable, but she turned down this option.
When contacted yesterday, Ms Tan told The New Paper: "I'm grateful the extension allowed me time to resolve the problem. But the fact is the problem cannot be solved."
She said she had found Kusu Island to be environmentally not conducive for turtles.
Ms Tan said the rental at Farmart Centre in Sungei Tengah, which conducts educational farm tours, is too high.
As for Orto, a multi-recreational park in Yishun, she said it has not been cleared by the SLA, because Orto is meant for other activities such as recreational fishing and horticulture.
Since 2005, the museum has held the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of turtle and tortoise items, totalling 3,456, including toys and furniture. It was started by Ms Tan and her late father, Mr Danny Tan, in 2001.
Ms Tan said she might have to house the turtles in the office of her events management company if a solution cannot be found.