HDB orders removal of unusual fish tank
A Housing Board flat owner who converted the doorstep of his property into a fish tank for his koi fish has been asked to remove the unusual structure.
The Tampines Street 41 resident fitted glass panels to the walls around the four steps up to his ground-floor unit to form a tank housing around a dozen pet fish, but was not aware that he needed permission to make the alteration.
Belatedly, the man - who has not been identified - asked the Tampines Town Council for a permit, and last August, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng told The Straits Times that the "creative" tank was likely to be allowed, as long as it was found to be structurally sound and safe.
However, HDB said yesterday that the tank would have to be removed, as its position - along a common corridor - poses safety concerns that "could potentially lead to injuries or fatalities".
A spokesman said: "The flat owner has fundamentally altered the entrance steps into a koi tank, which poses several safety issues.
"For instance, the koi tank is made of glass and can shatter on impact. As it is also not enclosed at the top, unsupervised children may climb or fall into the tank."
Electrical sockets and cables connected to the tank are exposed to weather elements, posing further safety concerns, HDB said.
It added that its guiding principle for town councils in managing the use of public spaces is that safety must not be compromised.
The flat's fish-loving residents also own the adjacent flat, through which they enter the unit with the blocked doorstep.
Last August, neighbours told The Straits Times that the tank was installed around three years earlier, with one resident describing it as "unique and nice".
At the time, the flat owner, a Chinese man who appeared to be in his 50s, said of his tank: "Outside nicer for everyone to see. The neighbours can appreciate it and enjoy it also."