Panel set up to help developers incorporate waterways into projects

Singapore’s water agency, PUB, has formed an ABC Waters Review Panel to help developers incorporate water bodies into their projects.

It was set up late last year together with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Law Ministry. The panel also has several high-profile local architects as members.

Environment and Water Resources Minister, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, revealed this at the launch of the S$2.5 million Kolam Ayer ABC Waterfront pilot project – under PUB’s Active, Beautiful and Clean (ABC) Waters programme – on Saturday.

Dr Yaacob said: “The idea is very simple. At the end of the day, when developers develop their projects, I’m sure there must be ways in which they can integrate waterways in their design. Previously, that integration had not occurred. They saw it as a setback to have to fulfil a PUB requirement, but now we are telling them that there are ways in which that can be integrated.

“The panel will help to advise the developers on what they can do to integrate the waterways. With the enhancement, that could be a selling point. We want to explore the possibilities.”

PUB will also produce a set of ABC Waters Design Guidelines to provide design ideas and technical support for professionals.

Developers who incorporate water features into projects already have a fast-track process to tap on the ‘green lane’. Since it was introduced in 2006, 15 proposals have been submitted via this channel.

On the Kolam Ayer facelift project, Dr Yaacob said even though the physical infrastructure has been completed, the important factor now is the involvement of the community to take ownership and ensure the area remains clean and vibrant.

He said: “For the place to come alive, we need residents to take ownership. I’ll be very happy if we can demonstrate this as a viable and sustainable project over the long term.”

Chiang Heng Liang, Chairman of the ABC Waters Project Community Workshop, said: “It’s up to the community, the people, the grassroots, residents, interest groups and all these people coming together to organise gatherings and meaningful activities… to interact and mingle.”

Four groups have already expressed interest in helping to inject vibrancy into the area. They include Bendemeer primary and secondary schools which have adopted sections of the river to conduct river patrols and organise river clean-ups.

For a particular family, the completion of the waterfront project is worth waiting for.

Ismail Yacob, a Kolam Ayer resident, said: “It enhances the quality of life and, at the same time, beautifies our estate.”

His wife, Nurashikin I Cheong, said: “Maybe during school holidays, we can come here to barbeque.”

With this development completed, residents can look forward to more activities by the waterfront such as yoga and a Sunday flea market.

Subsequent facelifts under PUB’s ABC Waters programme will be conducted at Bedok and MacRitchie reservoirs.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 5 Apr 2008

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