Leisure Plan drawn up to enhance recreational options in Singapore

In the near future, one will be able to stroll, jog or cycle around the whole of Singapore just by following an extensive route.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is developing a 150-kilometre round-island path as part of its Leisure Plan.

Overview of Gardens by the Bay site

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan revealed details of new recreational options at the Architectural Design Awards 2008 ceremony on Wednesday.

The round-island route will be developed over the next 10 to 15 years, but up to two-thirds of the path – which includes the Punggol Coastal Promenade – could be ready in just five years.

At three and a half times the length of the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), the route will comprise existing and new park connectors, waterfront promenades and other trails.

It will also cover leisure destinations at the Marina Bay, Changi Point and the upcoming Jurong Lake District.

Mr Mah said: “We may be the first and only people in the world to be able to take a relatively easy walk around our whole country. You can spend a morning with your family at East Coast Park, enjoy the sea breeze at the new coastal promenades at Punggol and Woodlands, or take an evening stroll through our hilltops at the Southern Ridges.”

Besides visiting the rustic countryside and farms at Lim Chu Kang, the more adventurous will also be able to trek along new nature trails to the 17-hectare Kranji Marshes.

Furthermore, the National Parks Board will be launching a Wetland Master Plan in the Sungei Buloh area to promote “bio-learning” activities.

Cheong Koon Hean, CEO of URA, said: “We already have the very beautiful Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which we will enhance. We will add 21 hectares of park land around it to protect the ecology of the entire system.

“The agri-tainment sites have been introduced because a lot of people just want to get away and experience farmstays, so we are creating opportunities to do that. Some sites will be tendered out for agri-tainment use.”

Singaporeans can also look forward to more quiet retreats, which will be made available with 900 hectares of new green spaces, including the new Gardens by the Bay and the Diary Farm Nature Park.

Authorities also plan to triple the existing park connector network from the current 100 kilometres to 360 kilometres within 15 years.

Waterways like the one in Bukit Chermin will be made more accessible. At the same time, urban planners are considering converting some of the black-and-white bungalows there into boutique hotels or spas.

The URA has also come up with ideas to transform Singapore into a 24/7 city. One way is to create more lifestyle hotspots like the one at Dempsey Hill. In the years ahead, new chill-out places will be found at the Lakeside Village in Jurong and Kallang Riverside.

Some other leisure plans will be happening much sooner this year. Come July, the National Heritage Board is holding a Night Festival at the Bras Basah area, followed by the Singapore Tourism Board’s Singapore River Festival in September.

Besides hosting more programmes, URA said improvements like better night-lighting, new street furniture and more attractive activity spaces will be introduced to create a better ambience for people to enjoy the nightlife in Singapore. – CNA/so

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 21 May 2008

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