Panel members reviewing environmental measures for Mandai nature hub named

Straits Times 1 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE - The members of a panel, which will monitor and review the implementation of measures to address concerns about the negative environmental effects of a massive makeover of Mandai into a nature hub, were revealed on Tuesday (Nov 1).

Mandai Park Holdings, the developer of the hub, said in a statement that its Environmental Advisory Panel comprises independent subject matter experts from the scientific community, academia, nature groups and the private sector.

"All representatives share a profound interest in conserving biodiversity and nature, as well as promoting sustainability in Singapore," it added.

The chairman of the panel is Professor Peter Ng, head of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Other members on the panel are Professor Ng Soon Chye, advisory council member of the Nature Society (Singapore); Dr Shawn Lum, senior lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University's Asian School of the Environment; and Mr Tai Lee Siang, chairman of the World Green Building Council.

Mandai Park Holdings said the environmental measures for the Mandai makeover project were identified through an environmental impact assessment and documented in a plan that will be reviewed in consultation with relevant government agencies on an ongoing basis.

An initial environmental assessment report released in July had set out six mitigation measures to minimise the Mandai hub's impact on the environment. They included one that swops the locations of the new Rainforest Park and Bird Park, such that existing trees do not have to be cleared.

Then in October, six new mitigation measures were announced, including plans to locate a visitor arrival node at least 10m from a freshwater stream, and retain a forested strip that can serve as a link for wildlife to cross into the neighbouring Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The representatives of the Environmental Advisory Panel will periodically review the mitigation, management and monitoring measures in the Mandai makeover project's design, construction and operation plans as they change and get updated.

The panel will also advise the board of Mandai Park Holdings on the environmental management of the Mandai nature hub, as well as regularly monitor the effectiveness of the environmental measures.

If required, the panel will provide oversight and guidance on corrective actions, which may include modifications to an environmental management and monitoring plan.

Said the panel's chairman Prof Ng: "Our overall task as Environmental Advisory Panel members is to guide development plans to achieve good environmental stewardship. It is critically important that the conservation needs for the project site as well as adjacent areas are addressed.

"I look forward to working alongside fellow nature lovers, biologists, and sustainability experts, as well as Mandai Park Holdings to achieve the best possible result for the rejuvenated Mandai precinct."

Mr. S Dhanabalan, chairman of Mandai Park Holdings, said that the organisation is committed to developing a destination that "celebrates Singapore's natural heritage and seeks to preserve it for generations to come".

"With (Environmental Advisory Panel's) deep passion for nature and technical expertise, I believe that the (panel) will provide valuable insights for the betterment of Mandai," he added.

Members of the public who are interested to comment on or provide suggestions about the Mandai development can visit www.mandai.com for more details.

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