“In January, the URA had apparently given no reason for turning down Pink Dot’s application for use of the Promontory” (Police Reject Road Closure For Pink Dot, Miss Tessa Wong).
The Straits Times (Police Reject Road Closure For Pink Dot, Miss Tessa Wong, June 21, 2013) reported that the organisers of the Pink Dot event had been turned down twice: first for the use of the Promontory at Marina Bay, and second for the expansion of the picnic to the adjacent North Canal Road. Most would agree – bearing in mind the traffic conditions and potential inconveniences – that the reasons cited for the second request are reasonable.
In contrast, the statement by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is much less convincing. The agency explained that “the Promontory is not a suitable venue for the event proposed”, but stopped short of providing specific explanations. How does the URA make these decisions; in other words, should events adhere to an existing set of conditions or criteria? Are there logistical or administrative limitations that individuals should be aware of? If so, wouldn’t the application process be more expedient if the organisers of Pink Dot knew about such information beforehand? Moreover, under what circumstances would the agency consult with other government departments, as it has done this time round?
So many questions. Unanswered.
I believe the Pink Dot team deserves a clearer response. Given the expected growth in attendance, the requests are well-intentioned. Greater clarity on application procedures and the rationale for rejections (possible even if accompanying examples and figures) would also prove to be useful for other Singaporeans making similar requests in the future.