SINGAPORE: Four new funeral parlour sites will be progressively launched for development over the next decade to meet an expected increase in demand, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced on Tuesday (Jan 8).
The sites will be located at Ang Mo Kio Street 63 near the SBS Transit bus depot, an industrial area along Bukit Batok Street 23, Mandai Road near the existing Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium, as well as Woodlands Industrial Park E8.
Identified through an inter-agency planning process, the sites are situated in various parts of Singapore "to provide a better distribution of FPs (funeral parlours) for bereaved families and their visitors", said NEA in a press release.
The agency added that the annual demand for wake spaces is expected to increase in tandem with the rise in resident deaths, which are projected to go up to around 40,000 by 2040.
There were 20,905 deaths registered in Singapore in 2017, according to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in a report published last June.
"After-death facilities are an important public infrastructure that accord dignity to the deceased, as well as comfort to bereaved families, in accordance with religious and cultural practices and preferences," said NEA.
While wakes are mostly held at HDB void decks and multi-purpose pavilions, there is also rising demand for wakes held in purpose-built funeral parlours, said the agency, adding that it will continue to work with land use planners to ensure new funeral spaces are ready ahead of demand.
The upcoming funeral parlour complexes will be "sensitively designed and operated to minimise impact to neighbouring stakeholders", said NEA, citing features such as adequate parking facilities and visual barriers to keep funeral activities discreet, as well as the confinement of rituals and processions to within the sites wherever possible.
"NEA will be engaging neighbouring stakeholders to gather their feedback and will incorporate the relevant suggestions into the development plans of the respective sites," it said.
"As a small and densely populated city-state, there will always be competing needs for space to meet Singapore's various developmental needs," the agency stated. "Some of these developments may require Singaporeans to make some adjustments and accommodation.
"Through advance notice, careful planning and by taking the necessary mitigation measures, agencies will make the best effort to minimise any inconveniences and disamenities arising from these developments as much as possible."