Tackle future challenges with same spirit as Singapore's pioneers: Lawrence Wong

Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 3 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE: Major plans to transform Singapore's urban landscape - like the High-Speed Rail linking Singapore with Malaysia and Jurong Lake District projects - are in the pipeline, but along with that, comes new challenges.

The key to tackle these challenges, according to Minister of National Development (MND) Lawrence Wong, is to "continue to press forward with the same spirit as Singapore's pioneers". He was speaking at MND's National Day Observance Ceremony on Wednesday (Aug 3).

Mr Wong added that Singapore's Golden Jubilee may have passed, but its Golden Age still lies ahead.

Awards were given out to MND agencies, as a nod to significant and innovative projects that contribute towards the vision of making Singapore "an Endearing Home and Distinctive Global City".

Twelve projects were chosen this year, including the inscription of Singapore Botanic Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore's efforts to tackle plankton blooms after the devastating episode which wiped out 500 tonnes of fish in the Johor Straits in February last year, and Urban Redevelopment Authority's car-free zone pilot.

Another project that won was the HDB Greenprint @ Yuhua pilot, which was completed in November last year. Some of the benefits from the pilot are cooler homes, thanks to vertical greenery which reduced the surface temperature of HDB blocks by as much as 7 degrees Celsius. The surround temperature has also been brought down by up to 1.6 degrees Celsius with the aid of green roofs.

In addition, energy-efficient infrastructure like lifts and street lamps, and using solar energy to power common services within blocks, can save 1.81 GWh per year - enough to power up to 370 4-room flats.

Dr Johnny Wong, Group Director (Building & Research Institute), HDB said Yuhua was chosen as it was a mature estate of about 30 years, and there are more elderly residents living in the area.

“We wanted to take up the challenge to see ... if we introduce green features, how can we engage the elderly residents so that they buy into eco-living and let them know how their lives can be enhanced with these green features and how they can help the environment. It’s a little bit easier to when we introduce and educate the younger population. But we also want the elderly to be involved in this movement,” Dr Wong added.

"MND's work has defined and shaped our Singaporean way of life, be it our unique HDB living, our garden city or our beautiful skyline. So, our agencies in the MND family and our policies touch the lives of many Singaporeans, and we should continue this work in shaping our future for the next 50 years", said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

- CNA/xk/dl

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