By Kenny Chee
VISITORS to events at Suntec Singapore can rest easy - these events, like consumer electronics fairs that occupy every floor of the convention centre, are unlikely to be affected after City Harvest Church moves in next year.
City Harvest Church told my paper that it is willing to move out of Suntec Singapore temporarily for conventions and exhibitions that need the space.
From the second quarter next year, the mega-church with over 33,000 members will use the convention centre's level 6, as well as the theatre and gallery on level 3, on weekends for its congregations and other church activities.
It will build a 12,000-seat auditorium that will occupy all three exhibition halls on level 6, and 10 meeting rooms that can accommodate 100 people each in the gallery on level 3.
But it said that it can clear the entire floor space in the auditorium and the meeting rooms, as the furniture in those areas will not be permanent structures and can be moved.
Three major consumer electronics fairs here - the IT Show, The PC Show and Comex - are held annually at Suntec Singapore, and have typically used all three exhibition halls on level 6. At least eight other events - of which five have been held annually at Suntec Singapore - have made Sunday bookings for one or more halls on level 6 this year, according to Suntec Singapore's website.
A City Harvest Church spokesman said that renovations will begin for level 6 and the gallery next March.
'If Suntec Singapore needs to lease the space out during the time we plan to do renovations, we will work closely with it to make sure as much space as required is available,' she said.
The church said that it hoped renovations would not take more than three to four weeks.
City Harvest Church will retain its Jurong West building for church activities and training. While it will still have to move out of Suntec several times a year, like it does at Singapore Expo where it now holds some worship services, Suntec's central location helps ease the problem of members having to travel long distances to Singapore Expo, it said.
Several event organisers said their events are unlikely to be affected by City Harvest's move.
Lines Exposition & Management Services said it had already booked venues at Suntec Singapore for The PC Show in June next year, and was 'confident Suntec Singapore has our best interests in mind'.
But some organisers like JobsDB and Eastern Directories have not confirmed their bookings for their events in March next year at Suntec and are still in talks.
JobsDB, which organised the JobsDB Career Expo in two level- 6 halls last month, said this was partly because it was not known exactly when City Harvest would start renovations.
But even if JobsDB cannot use level 6 for next year's event, it said that it could move to another floor, like level 4.
Mr Melvin Koh, general manager for Eastern Directories, which organises the IT Show in March and Comex in September, said he was comforted that City Harvest would be willing to make way for events.
The firm has not yet considered moving its IT fairs to other venues, and would prefer not to, as Suntec has a central location and a good range of facilities.
Meanwhile, consumers like Singapore Polytechnic student C. K. Tan, 21, said it does not matter to him whether the IT fairs are held at Suntec Singapore or other venues like Singapore Expo, which hosts major IT show Sitex, usually in November.
'It's more convenient to have the fairs at Suntec but I'm still willing to travel to Expo, for instance, for IT fairs,' he said.
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