$7200 Huat ah! Ajunied (AHPETC) Town Council vs Bedok, Hougang’ Hawkers/ Stallholders < Finale .Dispute resolved

SINGAPORE: The parties involved in a dispute over the cleaning of hawker centres managed by the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) have finally come to some resolution after a meeting on Thursday among the town council, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the affected hawkers.

The meeting lasted about an hour and was held at NEA’s office.

Parties agreed that spring cleaning at the hawker centres at Block 511 in Bedok North Street 3 and Block 630 at Bedok Reservoir Road will be done within a month.

NEA’s Director of the Hawker Centres Division, Richard Tan said: “We note that the town council is committed to ensuring that spring cleaning is done without any cost to the hawkers and without compromising public hygiene and safety, they will do the spring cleaning within a month.”

Chan Kheng Heng, Secretary for the Block 511 Hawkers Association told reporters that the town council has proposed a new cleaning method that will not require the closure of the food centre.

He said he is satisfied with how the meeting turned out.

AHPETC property manager Tai Vie Shun, who emerged from the meeting, did not want to comment.

The dispute started after what appears to be a misunderstanding over who should bear the cost of the erection of scaffolding to clean high areas in the food centre.

Stallholders from the two food centres in Bedok had said they were told by the town council that they would have to pay extra for scaffolding which they never had to pay in the past.

The NEA stepped in to say that it was the town council’s responsibility to pay for the spring cleaning.

The town council has since agreed to this.

The dispute then shifted to when the cleaning of the hawker centre at Block 511 Bedok North Street 3 should take place.

Hawkers there said it should take place as scheduled in June and not in November, as indicated by the town council.

The NEA has said that the cleaning of hawker centres should take place as scheduled to ensure public health and hygiene are not compromised.

The hawker centre at Block 511 was last cleaned exactly a year ago.

In a statement issued later Thursday, the NEA maintained that the sequence of events and documentation show that AHPETC was trying to get the hawkers to pay additional fees for cleaning.

An NEA spokesperson said: “When the hawkers refused to pay, an incomplete job was done, leaving the hawkers suffering business losses due to unnecessary closure. It then tried to deflect blame by claiming that the NEA email had confused the Town Council and everyone else.”

In an earlier response, AHPETC Vice-Chairman Pritam Singh had referred to an email from the NEA dated February 7 this year which the agency had said that “the Hawkers’ Association will make the necessary arrangements with their contractors on scaffolding erection/dismantling during the spring cleaning period from 4-8 March 2013”.

Mr Pritam had said that the town council took NEA’s email in good faith and left the arrangement of the scaffolding in the hands of the NEA and the hawkers’ association.

The NEA on Thursday reiterated that its email referred to the individual stall scaffolding and not the main scaffold for cleaning of high areas.

The individual stall scaffolding is paid for by the hawkers while the main scaffold for cleaning of high areas should be paid for by the town council.

The NEA spokesperson said: “This is a long standing practice that AHPETC and its contractors should have understood perfectly. It is now clear that AHPETC’s contractor, ATL Maintenance Pte Ltd, prepared a quotation dated 19 February, 2013 for the cleaning of the entire premises, including scaffolding, machinery and chemicals.

“This implies that AHPETC was aware of the full scope of work that its contractor was supposed to do, but tried to deflect costs of $7,200 to the hawkers instead of paying for the work itself.”

– CNA/fa
Source Link : Hawker centres spring-cleaning dispute resolved

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image from Fabrications About The PAP

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Town council tried to deflect blame: NEA

– ST – 7 Jun 2013 – By Tessa Wong
THE Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) tried to get hawkers at Block 538, Bedok North Street 3 to pay extra cleaning costs, and when that failed it deflected blame, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) last night.

In a statement issued hours after it reached a resolution with the town council about the cleaning of two other hawker centres, NEA sought to address one last issue – who exactly was to blame for the failure to clean the ceiling of Block 538 in March.

When NEA e-mailed AHPETC on Feb 7 saying the hawkers would make “necessary arrangements” for scaffolding for the cleaning exercise, it said it was referring to scaffolding used to put up canvas sheets over stalls, and not for the cleaning of high areas.

Hawkers are not responsible for the ceiling scaffolding and “this is a longstanding practice that AHPETC and its contractors should have understood perfectly”, said the NEA.

The council’s contractor ATL Maintenance had also prepared a quotation dated Feb 19 for the cleaning of the entire premises, including scaffolding. “This implies that AHPETC was aware of the full scope of work that its contractor was supposed to do, but tried to deflect costs of $7,200 to the hawkers instead of paying for the work itself,” NEA added.

  • When the quotation was rejected by the hawkers, the town council’s property manager Tai Vie Shun told ATL that the council would pay for all costs, it said.
  • But when the hawkers discovered afterwards that their ceiling was not cleaned, Mr Tai then claimed that the hawkers were responsible for the cost of putting up the scaffolding, said NEA.

It added: “The sequence of events and documentation show that AHPETC was trying to get the hawkers to pay additional fees for cleaning. When the hawkers refused to pay, an incomplete job was done, leaving the hawkers suffering business losses due to unnecessary closure. It then tried to deflect blame by claiming that the NEA e-mail had confused the town council and everyone else.”

The director of NEA’s hawker centre division, Mr Richard Tan, also said yesterday that the rumour that the employee who sent the Feb 7 e-mail to AHPETC had been suspended and disciplined was “not true” and the agency was “behind her all the way”.

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