Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Paving The (water)way For Singapore To Become More Than A Garden City

7 Feb 2007 (TODAY)
Leong Wee Keat

SINGAPOREANS will soon have greater access to the Republic's rivers,
reservoirs and nature reserves as the Public Utilities Board (PUB) embarks
on a major beautification programme.

In the pipeline are more than 20 projects, including the building of water
parks and gardens over the next five years. Over the next 10 to 15 years,
PUB has identified 150 locations for further implementation of its Active,
Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) programme - a long-term initiative to
bring people closer to water resources here.

At Lower Seletar Reservoir, for example, the PUB plans to create a water
stage where families can watch outdoor performances from a new viewing
gallery. A planned 280m-long pedestrian deck will also facilitate nature
strolls in the day and at night.

At Pandan Reservoir, two mini islands will be created, where kayakers and
rowing enthusiasts can disembark for a panoramic view of the reservoir.

Opening a public exhibition showcasing the projects at the Asian
Civilisations Museum yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the
shift towards viewing waterways beyond their functional uses represents "a
bold change of mindset".

"In the past, we protected our water resources by keeping people away from
them. Now, we bring people closer to water so that they will enjoy and
cherish it more," he said.

Noting that many of the rivers and canals here are in or near the
residential heartlands, Mr Lee said the water bodies would form "a natural
focal point for water-based activities, community events and other
recreational options".

"If we link up our water bodies and waterways, we will create new
community spaces that are clean, pleasant, and bustling with life and
activities," he said.

"We will integrate our water bodies with our parks and green spaces and
turn Singapore into a city of gardens and waters."

The PUB said these projects would be implemented through a combination of
public and private sector expertise and financing.

To facilitate private-property developers to participate in the ABC Waters
programme, the board has set up a "green lane" approval channel to
expedite proposals that incorporate the ABC elements in their development.
This would also allow for more ideas to be generated, said Mr Yap Kheng
Guan, director of the PUB's 3P (Public, Private, People sectors) Network.

The public can get in on the act, too. After the exhibition ends on
Sunday, its various segments will be displayed at community centres and
public libraries.

Members of the public can also provide feedback or ideas on the various
proposals, said Mr Yap.