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  Straits Times Online 16 Oct 06
Show courtesy before felling trees
Letter from Ananda Perera

Straits Times Online 13 Oct 06
Check trees more regularly
Letter from Ang Hak Heng

Straits Times Online 9 Oct 06
Trees cut down were infested with termites
Reply from MOE

Straits Times Forum 27 Sep 06
Why cut down the old trees in Ang Mo Kio?
Letter from Jackie Lau Wai Wan (Ms)

FIRST, I would like to thank the NParks for creating a green and beautiful home for Singaporeans. It creates a very positive image of Singapore to foreigners visitors. NParks has planted so many trees to beautify our country.

Most of the trees take many years to grow and provide shade with their distinctive shapes. Just looking at the trees lifts our spirits and makes us feel in awe of nature.

Recently I noticed many old trees were chopped down along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 in front of the new Mayflower Secondary School. On Monday, another two trees were chopped down in the old school campus at Street 23 opposite the hawker centre.

I spent almost two hours last Monday trying to contact the person or relevant authority to give my feedback, from Mayflower Secondary School, Ministry of Education to NParks. It was a merry-go-round except that I did not feel merry in the process.

I understand from the Ministry of Education that Peirce Secondary School is taking over the old campus of Mayflower Secondary School. The trees near the fence bordering the street were chopped down because they blocked the view of the school.

If so, this was definitely not a wise decision. The trees provided shade and they had beautified the landscape for many years. Trees are like people. They grow old and it is during old age that they provide their best shade.

Sure, some trees get sick but we should try to save them, not just get rid of them. But I don't think the trees are sick.

Please save them before it is too late.

Straits Times Online 9 Oct 06
Trees cut down were infested with termites
Reply from Chua Kwan Ping
Director, Finance and Development Division Ministry of Education

I REFER to the letter by Ms Jackie Lau Wai Wan, 'Why cut down the old trees in Ang Mo Kio?' (ST, Sept 27).

The site occupied previously by Mayflower Secondary School is currently being spruced up to accommodate another school, Peirce Secondary, while its current site is upgraded.

During the sprucing up, two mature trees within the school compound and located along Ang Mo Kio Street 23, were found to be badly infested by termites.

In view of safety considerations for students and staff, and after consulting the National Parks Board and Ministry of Education, Peirce Secondary decided to have the two trees cut down.

We agree with Ms Lau that trees not only provide shade but also beautify the landscape. MOE works closely with NParks to conserve as many mature trees as possible within school sites, removing only those that pose a hazard to students and staff.

Through this, schools can provide a safe, clean and secure environment for learning.

Straits Times Online 13 Oct 06
Check trees more regularly
Letter from Ang Hak Heng

IN ITS reply, 'Trees cut down were infested with termites' (ST, Oct 9), the Ministry of Education mentioned that the two mature trees in the compound of the former Mayflower Secondary School were found to be badly infested with termites.

How long does it take for trees to be badly infested with termites? Are regular checks carried out?

If the interval between checks is so long as to allow the trees to be infested with termites to the extent that they need to be cut down, should not the frequency of checks be reviewed?

What if the trees fell before the next check?

Straits Times Online 16 Oct 06
Show courtesy before felling trees
Letter from Ananda Perera

I REFER to the letter, 'Check trees more regularly', by Mr Ang Hak Heng (ST, Oct 13).

When I first became an owner of my present property, nearly 20 years ago, there was a beautiful Flame of the Forest tree just outside the gate. This was also an added incentive to our decision to buy the property, as my wife and I appreciate flora and fauna, as is evidenced by the many hours we spend joyfully cultivating our garden.

The Flame of the Forest tree was suddenly gone one morning when I returned from work. In its place was planted a wood apple tree. This tree thrived. It attracted birds of various colours and, most recently, a family of parrots.

Again, this tree vanished about a fortnight ago when I returned from overseas.

Aren't any simple courtesies extended to property owners whose entrances are affected, such as seeking their views or at least telling them why a perfectly normal tree is to be cut down?

It is about time the newly relaunched Feedback Unit, Reach (Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry@Home), also looked into simple courtesies of government agencies.

The National Environment Agency seems to take a rather authoritarian attitude when it comes to felling trees without telling residents who enjoy their presence just outside their homes.

Related articles on Heritage Trees of Singapore
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