Drain reserves being used as private gardens
Published on: Thursday, October 14, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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The private gardens on this Kolombong drain reserve had become a mini-jungle.
City Hall has cleared the drain reserve between two Kolombong neighbourhoods and chopped down the greenery planted by some homeowners as this area had become unkempt.

A spokesman for the agency’s Landscaping Department (LD) said the residents of Taman Bayumas and Taman Nountun Jaya had earlier been instructed to tend to the trees and plants which they had planted on this common land.

“We decided to remove all the overgrown greenery at the beginning of October as they failed to comply with our instructions,” he said.

“To make matters worse, when queried, none of them wanted to own up as to which plants were theirs.”

He said these individuals had been warned not to encroach into this government land in future.

The spokesman said rate-payers, who treated the drain reserves as their private gardens, were obliged to maintain their greenery.

“They should look after their plants and trees. This means pruning them and making sure that they do become diseased or unsightly.

“In this way, their greenery will not become a public nuisance or danger.”


A chain-saw is used to chop down some of the overgrown greenery.


Officers from the Health and Environment Dept joined the landscaping officers during the check in September.

He said this advice was also applicable in cases involving flower-pots placed on verges in front of residential and commercial properties. 

“When it comes to road-shoulders and five-foot ways, rate-payers should use suitable potted plants. 

“By ‘suitable,’ we mean greenery that does not have thorns and does not obstruct the view of drivers, or get in the way of pedestrians, when they are fully grown.”

The spokesman said City Hall was responsible for maintaining the drain reserves around the State Capital.

“The grass in these areas is cut on a monthly basis. Any trees in these common areas, which were planted by us, are pruned as and when it becomes necessary to do so.”

JOAN of Kolombong bemoaned the nuisance created by the overgrown trees on the reserve land behind Lorong Nountun Juta 1.

“They shed leaves in my compound and I am constantly having to clean up this mess,” she said.

“I saw my neighbour watering some of these plants, at one stage, and appealed to her to prune this greenery.”

After several months, when she found that her pleas had fallen on deaf ears, she turned to City Hall for help.

“By this time, the plants had become so unkempt that I feared unscrupulous parties might use them as cover to peep inside my house and stage a break-in.

“Several homes along my housing road have already been burgled over the past few months, so I was understandably concerned.

“I related my misgivings to one of the agency’s staff in September 2020 and was assured that action would be taken.”  

She was dismayed to find that her grievance had yet to be addressed when she contacted the agency in September.

Joan said the situation had become worse in the intervening months. 

“Other parties living in the same area have taken to dumping their garden waste on the reserve.”

She decried the piles of cut branches and overgrown greenery as being a potential fire-hazard.

“The branches of the trees are so long that they are touching the power lines behind my house. If there is a stray spark, a fire might break out. 

“My house and loved ones could be put at risk because of this.” 

The spokesman refuted the complainant’s suggestion about City Hall’s inaction, saying that LD officers had inspected the reserve twice this year: on April 1 and September 30.


City Hall’s landscaping workers in the process of clearing the common land.

The branches of some the fruit trees being cleared by a City Hall worker.


“They noted the presence of banana and coconut trees, as well as some foreign objects, in this public space during the first inspection,” he said.

“The greenery and other structures made it difficult for our workers to clear the drains, let alone cut the grass, here.”

He said notices were served to rate-payers in Taman Nountun Juta and Taman Bayumas, shortly after this visit, asking them to deal with the nuisance created by their greenery. 

“When our personnel returned last month, they were accompanied by their peers from the Enforcement, Solid Waste Management, Building Control and Health Departments.”

He said the common land had become a mini-jungle, with illegal structures, including water tanks and kitchen fixtures, interspersed among the overgrown greenery.

“A make-shift fence had also been put up across one part of the reserve which further obstructed our maintenance efforts.”

The spokesman said a 15-strong LD team went to the reserve two days later to attend to the unkempt greenery.

“Those who have placed illegal structures on this common land will be asked to remove their belongings. Our Building Control Department is in the process of dealing with these encroachers.” 


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