TOH EE MING Today Online 10 Oct 16;
SINGAPORE — The Government has accepted the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report commissioned by Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) on its proposed mega-nature attraction for the Mandai area, after additions were made to further mitigate the impact of development works.
This includes the possibility of widening the planned Eco-Link to beyond the proposed 30m, in consultation with technical agencies and nature groups. The forested strip that runs through the middle of the proposed Bird Park site will also be maintained, so that it can act as a passageway for wild native birds and mammals living in trees to get to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
The extra measures, announced in a statement by MPH on Monday (Oct 10), were made after a month-long public consultation that kicked off in July 26 this year on the EIA report. Plans were revealed earlier in June to transform the Mandai area into two wildlife parks — a rainforest-themed adventure park and a new bird park relocated from Jurong — adding to the wildlife attractions already in the area.
Other measures to lessen the environmental impact include long-term noise monitoring to be con-ducted at the fringe of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and the prohibition of night-time con-struction works. MPH — which manages the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park — will also develop and implement biosecurity and disease management procedures to minimise any risk of disease transmission.
All the mitigation measures are documented in the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan, which will be reviewed on an ongoing basis in consultation with relevant government agencies.
An environmental advisory panel — which includes experts, academia, nature groups and the private sector — will also be set up to monitor the implementation of the plan during the detailed design, con-struction and operation phases.
Mr Mike Barclay, group chief executive officer of MPH, said: “We have listened carefully to all the feedback, and strengthened the mitigation measures associated with the project to help ensure we can deliver an enhanced Mandai nature precinct, of which we can all be proud.”
Experts who spoke to TODAY acknowledged the efforts to try to minimise the impact on nature.
Wildlife consultant Subaraj Rajathurai said that while most of the extra mitigation measures, such as monitoring the wildlife and noise levels, were good, it should have been a “given” when setting out such development plans.
And while the widening of the Eco-Link would give the wildlife more room to roam, there should be more connections for animals to move among the trees.
Ben Lee, founder of nature conservation group Nature Trekker, noted that it was still quite “vague” how much wider the Eco-Link would be, since there is a difference between adding “another 5m” or “an-other 30m”. He added that beyond giving space for wildlife to flourish, the widening of the link could min-imise the occurrence of roadkill.
Mr Subaraj hopes that the door is not closed to more suggestions and that these are “just the first few of many more mitigations to come” to protect nature and wildlife.
When asked about the timeline of the development, MPH said that it is taking a “phased approach” to construction, with the first phase targeted to be done by 2020, and all works to be completed by 2023.
The development and building plans for the Mandai project would be submitted progressively to ob-tain the necessary regulatory approvals for construction preparation works to start in early 2017, it add-ed.
Dr Ho Hua Chew, vice-chairperson of the conservation committee from Nature Society (Singapore), said that they had reiterated their position to MPH that there should not be a bird park and another safari park in the area because they were not in “ecological harmony” with the Central Catchment Nature Re-serve.
He suggested that an alternative would be to have more eco-friendly developments, such as an ad-venture camp that allowed participants to immerse in the rich biodiversity already existing in the planned project area, and not just introduce species “in a corralled-up park”.
“This is our position since 2007 when the development plan for this area was first mooted by Singapore Tourism Board, and we are sticking by it,” Dr Ho said.
More measures to minimise impact of Mandai Rejuvenation Project
Channel NewsAsia 10 Oct 16;
SINGAPORE: Additional measures have been included in Mandai Park Holding’s (MPH) revised Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to mitigate the effects of the area's redevelopment.
This is in line with its continued efforts “to promote sustainability and conservation for the rejuvenation of the Mandai area”, the organisation said in a press release on Monday (Oct 10).
MPH said the revised EIA report follows the conclusion of the public consultation round on the EIA for plans to develop Mandai into an integrated nature and wildlife destination. “The Government has accepted the revised EIA report and MPH will be embarking on detailed design planning and a wildlife shepherding programme to facilitate the sensitive development of the area,” it said.
The key refinements and enhanced mitigation measures include:
Studying the possibility of widening the Eco-Link beyond the proposed 30 metres;
Long-term noise monitoring to address possible noise pollution during construction and operation phases;
No night-time construction works;
Daily recording and tracking of collection animals in the new parks to enable timely recovery and corrective actions in the event of any escapees;
Maintaining the forested strip that currently runs through the middle of the proposed Bird Park site as a passageway for wild native birds and arboreal mammals to connect to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve;
Locating the building footprint for the West Arrival Node at least 10 metres away from the fresh water stream adjacent to its boundary;
Developing and implementing biosecurity and disease management procedures in consultation with the relevant regulatory agencies to minimise any risk of disease transmission.
“We have listened carefully to all the feedback, and strengthened the mitigation measures associated with the project to help ensure we can deliver an enhanced Mandai nature precinct, of which we can all be proud,” said MPH Group CEO Mike Barclay.
ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY PANEL TO BE SET UP
All mitigation measures for the project identified through the EIA process are documented in an Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP). The EMMP will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to “maintain its relevance to the detailed design, construction and operation plans as these progress through the project’s lifecycle”, said MPH.
MPH added that an Environmental Advisory Panel will be established to monitor the implementation of the EMMP during the design, construction and operation phases. It will consist of independent subject matter experts from the scientific community, academia, nature groups and private sector.
The EIA was commissioned and released by MPH on Jul 26 to consider environmental risk and protection measures from the outset as the project masterplan was being conceptualised.
“The completion of the EIA process represents a significant milestone in what will be a long journey,” Mr Barclay said. “We take our role as stewards of biodiversity very seriously, and we will continue to work with interested parties to help us deliver on our commitments as the project progresses.”
The final EIA report can be viewed on MPH’s website.
TOH EE MING Today Online 10 Oct 16;