On 6 Mar 2018, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong replied to a Facebook post regarding the forced eviction notice received by the owner of Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum, due by the end of Mar 2018.
PM Lee answer with “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,”
The Facebook post by Museum owner Connie Tan made on Sunday, 4 Mar 2018, was shared over 4,000 times that day.
“When he responded, I was so touched. Hopefully someone will call me soon,” said Ms Tan
The lease for the museum expired on 31 Mar 2018, and she had been desperately trying to find a suitable premise to relocate it.
The family launched the business in 2001, and had been visited tens of thousands of times since the opening, I’m sure many readers here can relate to that.
They were requested to be relocated due to the need for the development of Jurong Lake District in the Chinese Garden.
In the post, the 47-year-old Ms Tan, said she had already reached out to agencies like the National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), but to no avail.
The agencies provided reasons for the rejection such as licensing and land use issues.
Ms Tan said in the post that ” My dad and I started this turtle museum with a hope that kids get to enjoy and be educated with so many different species that I have from all over the world. And I had spent the past 15/16 years in The Chinese Garden.”
“We do not have any savings as the entrance fee, kept low for past many years, is used just to pay for the overheads and we were blessed with good, kind-hearted helpers and staff who helped took care of the turtles.” she added.
Ms Tan also commented that she had to close down her events business, which was her main source of income, to temporarily house all her turtles.
Sites like Orto in Sembawang was considered, but ultimately it will not be viable due to the duration of them only be able to provide 3 years for her, but she requires at least 5 years to break-even the structural cost she forked out.
“I’m trying to get a low-cost piece of land to keep prices down. In a commercial sense, I’m making the task a lot more difficult for myself.”
The admission ticket to the museum costs $5 for adults and $3 for children under the age of six and senior citizens.
The museum houses over 500 species of turtles, tortoises and terrapins, many of them currently endangered.
The museum is just a 5-minutes walk from the Chinese Garden MRT Station (EW25), and it opens 7 days a week, 10 am – 7 pm daily.