It is important for residents to see eldercare facilities as a welcome part of infrastructure and not as a burden or liability, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.
He said: "We have to recognise that we do have challenges as an ageing population. We need to build adequate facilities so that we can serve our elderly in time to come."
Mr Gan was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a dialogue with residents at the Bukit Timah Community Centre.
He had earlier gone on a walkabout of the Bukit Timah division.
Highlighting the reasons for building such facilities within the community, Mr Gan said: "Singapore is a very land-scarce country...it is inevitable that many of these facilities will be in the community."
He added: "These facilities are also built to serve the people in the community. So it is important for us to site the facilities near where our residents live."
In recent months, manifestations of the NIMBY, or "Not In My Backyard", attitude have surfaced, with residents protesting against plans to build eldercare facilities in their neighbourhoods.
In May, 40 residents petitioned against the building of a nursing home in Bishan Street 13.
Mr Gan said: "We hope Singaporeans can understand that there is a need for us to do so and they will come forward to work with us."
During the dialogue, residents also raised concerns about the fate of private residential estate Mayfair Park, where about 140 households have 39 years remaining on their 99-year land lease.
Bukit Timah grassroots adviser Sim Ann, who was present, said she is looking into the issue and that a taskforce, made up of residents, has been commissioned by the Mayfair Park Neighbourhood Committee.
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