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  Today Online 27 Oct 07
Granite stockpile stays, Lim Chu Kang farmers told
Lin Yanqin

Channel NewsAsia 27 Oct 07
Stockpiling of granite is of strategic importance to S'pore: govt

Straits Times 27 Oct 07
Govt stance on granite stockpile still solid
By Lim Wei Chean

Straits Times Forum 15 Oct 07
Long truck trips add to carbon emissions
Letter from Ivy Singh-Lim (Mrs) President Kranji Countryside Association

Straits Times Forum 15 Oct 07
Farmers, reflect on predecessors' sacrifices
Letter from Errol Goodenough

Straits Times 11 Oct 07
Granite stockpile: Farmers take 'fresh' approach
By Lim Wei Chean

Channel NewsAsia 11 Oct 07
Farmers send petition to protest at storing granite in Lim Chu Kang

Straits Times Forum 6 Sep 07
Impact of granite stockpile minimal
Ng Cher Cheng Deputy Director (Strategic Materials Department)
Building and Construction Authority

Straits Times 29 Aug 07
Soil quality in stockpile area monitored

Straits Times Forum 29 Aug 07
Why site granite stockpile in farmland?

Letter from Lau Chee Nien

Straits Times 21 Aug 07
Granite stockpiling worries farmers
But impact on the environment will be minimal, say experts
By Jessica Jaganathan

Channel NewsAsia 16 Aug 07
Farmers hope to overturn govt's plans to stockpile granite at Lim Chu Kang

SINGAPORE : Plans to stockpile granite at Lim Chu Kang are not going down well with some farmers there.

And they are trying to see how they could overturn government plans to use the area as a granite stockpile site.

Storing granite at Lim Chu Kang is part of the government's strategy to ensure that there is an adequate supply of essential building materials. It also serves to tide the industry over in the short term, as shown by the recent disruption in supply after Indonesia banned granite exports to Singapore.

A high fence has been erected around the granite stockpile site between Lim Chu Kang Lane 1 and Neo Tiew Road. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said the fencing is one way to reduce dust from stockpiling work over the next 12 months.

While farmers agree such measures will help, they are worried about the possible impact on their crops, especially those located within 200 metres of the site.

Some of the 200 farms in the area sell their produce to local supermarkets. "You can't control the elements, the wind can carry the dust for many kilometres. The dust settles on the vegetables, and will this have an impact on consumers? We don't know. And it could also harm the environment," said Alan Toh, MD of Yili Vegetation & Trading.

But according to the BCA, due care will be taken to mitigate any negative impact on the environment. This includes having designated routes for trucks and adequate drainage to discharge rainwater into existing drainage channels.

The farmers are also concerned about the heavy vehicles that would be plying the roads once stockpiling begins. They say it will not only cause pollution, but also pose a danger to road users, especially cyclists who ride around the area in the evening.

But BCA told Channel NewsAsia that it would restrict operating hours, and there would be no delivery of granite on weekends and public holidays.

Apart from environmental issues, the Kranji Countryside Association, led by Ivy Singh-Lim said this latest development undermines efforts to promote eco-tourism.

She added that the area, zoned as agricultural land, is also an educational tool. "For the past three years, a group of us - farmers - created a jewel here, a little gem of a countryside place. And we've been seeing thousands of Singaporeans, especially kids, three-generation families coming out here to bond in the natural area. But this granite dumping is going to destroy the whole spirit of the place," said Ivy Singh-Lim, president of Kranji Countryside Association.

BCA said it has consulted the farmers. But the farmers are not quite satisfied.

BCA added that it has studied possible sites for stockpiling, and Lim Chu Kang was selected as it is away from densely built-up urban areas.

But the farmers hope that stockpiling can be done away from their doorstep. - CNA /ls

Straits Times 21 Aug 07
Granite stockpiling worries farmers
But impact on the environment will be minimal, say experts
By Jessica Jaganathan

A GOVERNMENT move to stockpile granite at Lim Chu Kang has upset some of the area's farmers, who are concerned about potential damage to the environment and their businesses.

Experts, however, say that the impact will be minimal, while the Government says it has extra measures in place to keep pollution at bay, when the stockpiling starts at the end of the month.

At least five farms are located near the area between Lim Chu Kang Lane 1 and Neo Tiew Road, which is being fenced up to store granite brought in from the region.

The farmers are worried about pollution from the lorries trundling along the roads, granite dust and loss of agricultural land.

But Associate Professor Edmond Lo, who heads the division of environmental and water resources engineering at Nanyang Technological University, played down the environmental impact. 'Granite itself is very stable, so unless it's contaminated by unknown sources, I do not see a big impact,' he said.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has described the site as the most suitable on its list of possible places for storage because it is away from built-up areas.

Storing sand and granite is the Government's way of preparing for sudden disruptions to the supply of the essential construction material. In January, Indonesia imposed a ban on land sand exports and detained barges shipping granite to Singapore. The move sent granite prices up to $70 a tonne. The stockpiled granite will thus tide the industry over in the short term as alternatives are sought, said the BCA.

Despite reassurances by the BCA that the impact on the environment will be kept minimal, the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA) and farmers in the area are still concerned.

Mr Alan Toh, whose farm Yili Vegetation & Trading is just minutes from the area, is worried about the pollution and the granite dust covering his crops. The 43-year-old said: 'No amount of high fencing can stop the wind from blowing granite dust onto my crops. This may affect the vegetables which are sold to customers.'

Work on the stockpiling will take up to 15 months, after which there will be minimal activity on the site, the BCA said.

It did not say how big the area will be, but Ms Ivy Singh-Lim, 58, president of the KCA and owner of Bollywood Veggies farm nearby, estimated it to be about 32ha.

She has started an online petition to stop the Government from continuing work on the site. The petition has drawn nearly 500 signatures so far.

She explained: 'This is one of the few untouched beautiful bits of countryside left where we have seen thousands of Singaporeans come to visit and unwind.''

Besides putting up fencing, the BCA has forbidden granite- laden lorries to go down Neo Tiew Road on weekends and public holidays. To settle the dust, the tyres of the lorries will be hosed down regularly. The BCA will also create a drainage system around the site so rainwater can run into existing channels.

Straits Times Forum 29 Aug 07
Why site granite stockpile in farmland?

Letter from Lau Chee Nien

I REFER to the report, 'Granite stockpiling worries farmers' (ST, Aug 21).

Why did the Building and Construction Authority end up choosing Lim Chu Kang, Singapore's last piece of farmland, to set up a granite stockpile?

The farmers have cause to be concerned as granite is a naturally-occurring radiological hazard. The 15 months needed to create the stockpile will result in much pollution and affect the farm crops (which we will consume).

While steps will be taken to minimise the damage, are there no other suitable sites? If the farmers have to move instead (their farming methods may require avoiding pesticides and pollutants), where else in Singapore can they go?

Straits Times 29 Aug 07
Soil quality in stockpile area monitored

SOIL samples will be collected periodically from the area around 23 farms in Lim Chu Kang by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

This is to check whether the planned stockpiling of granite there will have any effect over time on the acidity, texture and mineral content of the area's soil, which could affect the farms, said an AVA spokesman.

The Building and Construction Authority had said earlier this year that from June, a stockpile of granite bought from the region will be stored in the area as a back-up in case the supply of the construction material is disrupted again, just as that for sand was.

This followed moves by Indonesia earlier this year to ban land sand exports and detain barges shipping granite to Singapore.

News of the stockpile upset farmers there, who were concerned that pollution from granite dust stirred up by rumbling lorries might affect their produce.

Straits Times Forum 6 Sep 07
Impact of granite stockpile minimal
Ng Cher Cheng Deputy Director (Strategic Materials Department)
Building and Construction Authority

I REFER to the letter, 'Why site granite stockpile in farmland?' by Mr Lau Chee Nien (ST, Aug 28).

The stockpiling of sand and granite is part of the Government's multi-prong strategy to enhance our resilience against any sudden disruption in the supply of essential construction materials.

The Lim Chu Kang site was selected after careful consideration, balancing the various needs of land use.

We are conscious of the proximity of this site to farms in the area, and have put in place measures to mitigate any impact on nearby farms and surrounding areas. This includes various dust control measures, preserving existing plants and planting additional trees along the site boundary.

With these mitigating measures in place, any impact from the granite stockpiling on surrounding farms is expected to be minimal. Tests also show the granite stockpile presents no significant radiation hazard.

In addition, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has started a surveillance programme to monitor the soil and water conditions around the stockpile site.

BCA and other authorities will continue to closely monitor the farms, surroundings and stockpiling activity and put in additional mitigating measures if necessary.


Straits Times 11 Oct 07
Granite stockpile: Farmers take 'fresh' approach
By Lim Wei Chean

A GROUP of farmers decided their petition - to retain Kranji's farm ambience - needed that extra 'fruit for thought' yesterday.

The 20 farmers, from the Kranji Countryside Association, handed over a basket of fresh produce - together with a 1,000-signature petition - to the Prime Minister's Office at the Istana. They were appealing against the use of arable land off Neo Tiew Road, in Kranji, as a granite stockpile site.

They also handed over a letter of support from Nature Society president Geh Min.

The association has been upset since May by a decision to locate the stockpile in Kranji, Singapore's only remaining farm area.

The farmers and the Nature Society are asking that an alternative site be found, as they fear that the dust and disturbance will affect their produce.

Vegetable farmer Alan Toh, 43, whose farm is across the road from the stockpile site, said: 'Dust is my biggest worry. It will kill my vegetables.'

In earlier responses to such concerns, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) had reassured the farmers that any impact on the environment would be minimal.

It is also putting up fencing around the site to deal with the dust, and has promised to hose down lorries' tyres regularly.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority will be monitoring the soil and water conditions around the stockpile site, said the BCA.

Storing granite is the Government's way of preparing for sudden disruptions to the supply of the construction material. In January, Indonesia imposed a ban on land sand exports and detained barges shipping granite to Singapore. The move sent granite prices up to $70 a tonne.

The association hopes, through its petition, to raise awareness of Singapore's small but important agriculture sector, and to ask that the farmers be consulted on decisions affecting them.

Mr Kenny Eng, who runs Nyee Phoe Flower Garden, said the fertile area is designated as agricultural land, adding that there are over 200 farmers in the Kranji belt.

But he was 'realistic' and did not expect the Government to back down from its decision.

Channel NewsAsia 11 Oct 07
Farmers send petition to protest at storing granite in Lim Chu Kang

SINGAPORE: Farmers in the Lim Chu Kang area have sent a petition with 1,000 signatures to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, calling for an end to storing granite in their backyard.

The government has explained that storing granite is part of its strategy to ensure that there is an adequate supply of essential building materials to tide the construction industry over in the short term, following Indonesia's ban on granite exports to Singapore.

The granite stockpile, which nearly covers an area of 20 football fields, is located in the Kranji countryside where a variety of fruits and vegetables is produced.

The 20 farmers who form the Kranji Countryside Association are worried that their crops may be affected, despite efforts by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to reduce dust by erecting a 6-metre high fence around the granite stockpile.

That is why they decided to send their produce, along with the petition, to the prime minister at the Istana, hoping that he could help reverse the decision to store granite in their backyard.

Kenny Eng, Vice-President of Kranji Countryside Association, said: "When we started the petition, we just wanted to see for ourselves whether Singaporeans and tourists felt the same way. Within a short two-and-a-half weeks, we hit 1,000 signatures. It shows that Singaporeans are really concerned."

One of the Singaporeans said: "This is probably the only place (countryside) left in Singapore. So I think the granite should not be placed here."

A tourist said: "The dust and the debris from the concrete, etc could have an effect on the plants."

"It's a great shame; they are trying to get children interested in the environment by teaching them about vegetables. A lot of children should see the sort of landscape that was Singapore before so many buildings went up," another said.

Farmers at Kranji are also worried that the fence around the granite stockpile may prevent sunlight from reaching the farms. They agreed that granite stockpiling is necessary, but they do not want it in their backyard.

But the BCA, which has consulted the farmers, explained that it had already studied possible sites for stockpiling and Lim Chu Kang was selected because it is away from densely built-up urban areas.

BCA also added that due care would be taken to mitigate any negative impact on the environment, which includes having a designated route for trucks, and adequate drainage to discharge rainwater. - CNA/so

Straits Times Forum 15 Oct 07
Long truck trips add to carbon emissions
Letter from Ivy Singh-Lim (Mrs) President Kranji Countryside Association

ON BEHALF of the farmers in the Kranji Countryside Association, I would like to thank the media which has over the months covered our concern about the stockpiling of granite on agricultural land which is situated in the last remaining green oasis in Singapore.

We farmers would like to list some important points which have been left out of the reports.

The granite is barged to Tuas and then trucked all the way at least 30km to Lim Chu Kang. Why?

Lim Chu Kang is zoned as agricultural land and the granite will have to be trucked out again to wherever construction is taking place.

Lim Chu Kang is also a place where many cycling enthusiasts, families and friends come for a day of relaxation. This will now be invaded by trucks zooming up and down.

All this trucking will create tremendous carbon emissions which the whole world is talking about reducing.

All countries around the world are concerned about food production for their people, but land where granite has been stockpiled will never be usable for agriculture again.

The Building and Construction Authority's stance is that all measures to prevent dust buildup and pollution will be put in place.

Hong Kong is desperately trying to promote its green areas because even its Disneyland has failed, yet we are destroying our own little pocket of greenery.

Straits Times Forum 15 Oct 07
Farmers, reflect on predecessors' sacrifices
Letter from Errol Goodenough

I REFER to the report, 'Granite stockpile: Farmers take 'fresh' approach' (ST, Oct 11) and would like to offer my views.

Since the days of early settlement up to the 1990s, the Kranji area has been populated by generations of farmers. Eking out a humble living, they farmed in order to survive.

With land acquisition, these farmers had to leave. Most, if not all, left without protest even though their livelihood was affected. Like so many Singaporeans over the decades, they probably accepted change for the common good.

Ironically, the land along Neo Tiew Road was put out to tender and a new breed of farmers took over. The tender system by which land was leased meant only affluent individuals or businesses could operate plots there. Some even sought out a retirement lifestyle, quite unlike the hardscrabble lives of the early farmers.

Now, the proposed granite stockpile has upset these new- generation farmers. Despite an earlier assurance from the authorities, they have taken up their case with the Prime Minister.

However valid their grouses, be they about dust or a change in overall ambiance, I hope they can see things in perspective by accepting that sacrifices still need to be made. Reflecting on the stringent sacrifices made not so long ago by their predecessors may help.

Today Online 27 Oct 07
Granite stockpile stays, Lim Chu Kang farmers told
Lin Yanqin

THE farmers may object but the decision is final the Government's granite stockpile stays in Lim Chu Kang, where several farms are located.

In a letter responding to a petition sent by the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA) earlier this month, the Government said locating such facilities away from densely-built up areas "is not always possible in land-scarce Singapore". The Lim Chu Kang site, it said, was selected after "careful consideration", taking into account various land use needs.

Stockpiling granite, the Government explained, was of "strategic importance" and key to ensuring a sufficient supply of construction materials here. The Indonesian sand ban and granite supply disruption has shown that supply cut-offs can be "sudden" and "potentially-damaging".

Concerned about granite dust affecting the area's water and crops, the KCA sent a petition with 1,000 signatures to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

A six-metre fence helps to keep the dust in, but farmers are worried that sunlight may not reach their crops.

The Government's letter assured farmers of "appropriate measures" taken to mitigate the impact of stockpiling activities. A programme is also in place to monitor the soil and water conditions around the site and relevant agencies will continue to work with the farmers.

Straits Times 27 Oct 07
Govt stance on granite stockpile still solid
By Lim Wei Chean

THE Kranji farmers have made their strong plea for a granite stockpile to not be located there.

Now, in response, the Government has explained that it is of strategic importance for Singapore to have its own supply of key construction material.

In land-scarce Singapore, 'it is important for coexistence of different land uses on adjacent land plots', a Ministry of National Development statement said yesterday.

The intended site off Neo Tiew Road, according to the Kranji farmers' reckoning, is the size of 20 soccer pitches.

News first surfaced in May that a granite stockpile would be built in rustic Lim Chu Kang, which has more than 100 farmers. Urban visitors flock there on weekends.

About 10 farmers had banded together in 2005 to form the Kranji Countryside Association to promote the area. The association now has around 20 members.

It argued that a stockpile there, along with trucks regularly ferrying in granite, would hurt the farms and despoil the area.

On Oct 9, it sent a petition to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with more than 1,000 signatures in a bid to 'save Singapore's countryside'.

Yesterday, the ministry's spokesman explained that the recent Indonesian sand ban and granite restrictions illustrated the strategic importance of a local stockpile.

Also, the land is listed as a 'reserve' site, meaning there is no fixed use for this land for the next 15 to 20 years.

The spokesman reassured the farmers that the ministry has a programme to monitor the water and soil conditions in the area. It will ensure that disruptions are minimised.

But Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim, the association's president, was not placated.

She insisted that the same arguments were being trotted out by the ministry.

She said: 'I would like to invite the Prime Minister down on a weekend to see the hundreds of children and families here. If, after that, he can still say that the stockpile here is the right thing to do, then I shall accept it.'

Channel NewsAsia 27 Oct 07
Stockpiling of granite is of strategic importance to S'pore: govt

SINGAPORE : The National Development Ministry said the stockpiling of granite at Lim Chu Kang is of strategic importance to Singapore.

It said the recent Indonesian sand ban and granite supply disruption had shown that supply cut-offs could be sudden and potentially damaging.

Maintaining adequate stockpile of essential construction materials is therefore a key strategy to enhance supply resilience of these materials to continually meet Singapore's economic and social needs.

The ministry was responding to the Kranji Countryside Association which had sent a letter dated 10 Oct 2007 to the Prime Minister, asking why granite was being stockpiled at the Lim Chu Kang site.

The ministry said the site was selected after careful consideration, taking into account various land use needs.

It is also zoned as a "reserve" site - which means the specific use has not been determined for the next 15-20 years.

It said that as much as the authorities would like to locate such facilities away from densely built-up areas or any other developments, this is not always possible in land-scarce Singapore. Thus, it is important for co-existence of different land uses on adjacent land plots.

The ministry added that appropriate measures have been taken to mitigate the impact of stockpiling activities on the nearby farms.

A surveillance programme is also in place to monitor the soil and water conditions around the stockpile site.

The ministry said it will also ensure that relevant agencies work with farm operators to minimise the impact of the stockpiling activity there. - CNA /ls


links
BCA to stockpile granite in Lim Chu Kang from June
Area's farmers fear move will harm farming, recreation activities there
By Uma Shankari Business Times 15 May 07

Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues
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