A natural river in Bishan Park

What used to be a concrete canal in Bishan Park has been transformed into a natural river that will make the community space more vibrant.

The National Park Board (NParks) said on Wednesday that the waterway flows right at the doorsteps of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio.

The project by NParks and national water agency PUB is part of the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme to beautify Singapore’s waterscape.

They transformed the section of Kallang River that ran in a canal along the edge of the park into a natural river.

Residents are no longer separated by the canal, improving connectivity to the park.

When water level in the river is low, users can get closer to water and enjoy recreational activities along the river banks.

During heavy rain, the park land next to the river serves as a channel to carry water downstream.

A river monitoring and warning system with water level sensors, warning lights, sirens and audio announcements will provide early warning when heavy rain or rising water levels are expected.

Warning signs, red markers and life buoys have also been put up along the river.

The river monitoring system will trigger warning lights, as well as the siren and audio announcements at safety nodes, to alert park users.

Safety lines with buoys are provided at selected locations, along with CCTVs and round-the-clock patrol surveillance.

“While we want to encourage the community to get close to water, we are also mindful that the safety of the public is paramount. In designing this river with naturalised banks and gentle slopes, we also put in place a series of measures to ensure the safety of park users is not compromised,” said Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB’s Director of Catchment and Waterways.

NParks said the rejuvenated park has new and improved amenities for the community to play, interact and bond.

There are three new playgrounds, a new fast-food outlet and a new restaurant.

There is also the Recycle Hill, which was formed using concrete from the former canal to preserve the park’s history and re-use the concrete in a creative way.

Sitting on the hill is an award-winning sculpture by local sculptor Kelvin Lim Fun Kit, called An Enclosure For A Swing.

Assistant Chief Executive Officer of NParks, Mr Kong Yit San, said: “The introduction of a naturalised river has also brought birds, dragonflies, waterhens and little egrets closer to our doorsteps. With the variety of amenities catering to the diverse needs of our park users, we believe that the new Bishan Park will draw visitors from all over, and bring Singapore closer to being a City in a Garden.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Feb 2012

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