New funeral parlour to be operational in 2024

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A new funeral parlour will replace the Mount Vernon Columbarium Complex, as the latter makes way for new homes in an upcoming estate.

Construction works will start in the second half of 2021, and the redeveloped complex is expected to be operational in 2024.

At 1.1 ha, the complex will occupy one-seventh the space of the existing one and contain 12 funeral parlour halls, four more than its soon-to-be predecessor.

The rest of the site will eventually become the future Bidadari Park, as well as home to future HDB flats.

In a joint statement yesterday, the National Environment Agency and the Housing Board assured future Bidadari residents that the new complex will be modern and "sensitively integrated with the topography and surrounding landscape".

The new complex is across the road from two yet-to-be-launched HDB projects.

But, among other things, there will be enough greenery to shield the site, both visually and in terms of noise. Rituals and processions will be conducted within the site or indoors as much as possible. And, where possible, the wake halls will not face nearby residential estates.

Government agencies will consult the funeral parlour industry later this year on how the complex should be designed.

Association of Funeral Directors Singapore president Roland Tay said he hopes the government would consider building six more parlours, to make 18, at the new complex.

"By the time we get to 2024, our ageing population will be even older. Having more parlours is a better thing," he said, adding that with the impending closure of the current eight parlours, "people may have to run around everywhere" to find an appropriate place.

The future complex will also no longer hold niches. About 16,000 of the 20,000 niches at Mount Vernon have been claimed and are in the process of being relocated to Mandai Columbarium.

The ashes of those that remain unclaimed after three years will be scattered at sea, in line with existing policy.