NParks to be central managing agency for Pulau Ubin

The island is currently managed by 12 agencies with technical and land ownership responsibilities, including Land Transport Authority and PUB.
Angela Lim Channel NewsAsia 4 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) will take over as the central managing agency for Pulau Ubin, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced at Ubin Day celebrations on the island on Saturday morning (Jun 4).

The island is currently managed by 12 agencies with technical and land ownership responsibilities, including Land Transport Authority (LTA) and national water agency PUB.

For example, the Pekan Quarry is managed by PUB, the National Environment Agency manages the drains on the island, while LTA handles the roads and bridges.

With the centralised management of the island, NParks hopes to respond more quickly and directly to issues raised by residents and visitors to the island.

"NParks will be able to respond more quickly to queries and issues raised by residents and members of the public, instead of having to refer these queries to other agencies," Mr Wong said.

He added: "NParks' entire DNA is about nature and greenery. And it has the expertise, it has the people who can conserve and enhance the rich biodiversity we have in Ubin. So we are very happy that NParks will now take charge of the entire Ubin Island, which means going beyond the park-related, nature-related portfolio.

"It will look at roads, buildings, being the central agency, overseeing everything that's related to Pulau Ubin ... it will also look at how to have a better overview of all the activities on Pulau Ubin. It will also look at how to facilitate ground-up projects."

The idea to designate NParks as the central managing agency for Pulau Ubin was first raised by the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN).

The handover of the island will be done in phases and NParks will take over fully as the central agency by mid-2017.

About 3,000 visitors joined in the fifth Ubin Day celebrations on Saturday. It is supported by more than 10 community groups, including Singapore Heritage Society and Nature Society (Singapore).

Members of the public were treated to kampong games and tours, cycling and kayak trips, and even took part in coastal cleanups and did some nature sketching.

This year, Ubin Day is part of a month-long series of events called "Pesta Ubin", that celebrates the heritage of the island.

- CNA/ly/ms

Pulau Ubin to have NParks as central managing agency
Friends of Ubin Network pointed out coordination issues in earlier system managed by 12 agencies
Priscilla Goy Straits Times 5 Jun 16;

The National Parks Board (NParks) has been appointed the central managing agency for Pulau Ubin - a move which should make it easier for those needing to report issues or make queries about the island.

The 10 sq km island previously had 12 government agencies managing technical and land ownership aspects of the island - such as the National Environment Agency in charge of its drains and the Land Transport Authority managing bridges.

Announcing the move yesterday, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said at a community event on the island that some people had complained that the previous system was "very confusing".

Members of the Friends of Ubin Network - including historians, nature enthusiasts and Pulau Ubin residents - had said that the system presented coordination challenges and proposed having one agency to address concerns such as waste dumping and ageing infrastructure.

Mr Wong said his ministry felt the idea was feasible, and decided to appoint NParks.

It has been managing sections of the island since 1997 and has decades of expertise in environment conservation and greenery.

Under the new model, NParks will take over the management of drainage issues and maintenance of installations such as shelters and bridges, among other things.

But NParks will not take over some functions, such as the management of stray animals and Outward Bound Singapore campsites, which will remain under the purview of their respective agencies due to their expertise.

The handover of responsibilities will be carried out in phases and is expected to be completed by the middle of next year. Mr Joseph Koh, 67, a member of the Friends of Ubin Network, welcomed the appointment of NParks.

He said: "We've seen people fogging to kill mosquitoes and they should have checked with NParks where to do this. By fogging, you kill a lot of other things (in the environment). So, it's very important to have someone who oversees things and understands the sensitivity of the ecology here."

Time and taxpayers' money can also be saved when issues are coordinated under one agency, he added.

Yesterday marked Ubin Day 2016, which is part of Pesta Ubin, a month-long series of events to celebrate the culture, nature and way of life on Pulau Ubin.

Pesta Ubin ends on June 12. For more information, go to http://pestaubin2016.blogspot.sg

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