SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) is "further studying the project timeline" for the redevelopment of Jurong Lake Gardens to see if it can give the owner of the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum "more time to firm up her plans", according to a joint statement issued on Wednesday (Mar 7).
The museum made headlines this week after its owner, Ms Connie Tan, wrote a lengthy Facebook post to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.
In it, she shared how difficult it has been to relocate from her current spot at Chinese Gardens, from which she faces eviction. She has spoken to several agencies over the past few years, she said, including the Agri-Food Veterinary Authority (AVA), National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). However, she has yet to come to a viable solution.
"I have tried to move to a few possible places, but most times, terms are not conducive (sic)," said Ms Tan. The ORTO park at Sembawang was one of them, but SLA rejected the idea as the space was not intended for the public display of turtles, she added.
In her post, Ms Tan also shared an old photo of her late father, who founded the museum, interacting with Mr Lee at a roadshow.
Mr Lee replied to Ms Tan on Facebook, saying: "Thank you for your post, which I have read. Please be assured that MND (Ministry of National Development) and the agencies are looking into your case."
In the joint statement, NParks, URA and SLA noted that Ms Tan had known of the Jurong Lake Gardens redevelopment plans since as early as 2011. She was also informed that she had to move out of the area upon expiry of the tenancy on Mar 30, 2016.
"That said, agencies empathised with the museum's need for time to source for an appropriate relocation site," the statement read, adding that NParks then extended the museum's tenancy until Mar 30, 2018.
The agencies said that they facilitated an exploratory visit to Kusu Island in May 2016, where Ms Tan could source for a new site. Ms Tan turned down the option.
"We have been in contact with Ms Tan and will continue to engage her on her plans to the museum," said the agencies.