New-look Punggol Point: Waterfront buzz

Former seafood haunt features a park, 1.2km section of promenade
Jessica Lim & Shuli Sudderuddin Straits Times 21 Nov 11;

PUNGGOL Point - once home to popular seafood restaurants in the 1980s and 1990s - is ready to show off its spruced-up new face.

The 0.6ha Punggol Point Park was officially opened in the area yesterday, and with it, a 1.2km section of the Punggol Promenade, called Punggol Point Walk.

The park also features two lily ponds and a sand-filled playground.

The old seafood restaurants are gone, but in their place is a 300 sq m viewing deck giving visitors views of Pulau Ubin and the Strait of Johor.

Land measuring 11,000 sq ft in area has been set aside there for food and beverage outlets, which may well be set up later.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC overseeing this north-east corner of Singapore, said these facilities represent the Government's commitment to building 'wonderful, affordable homes for Singaporeans'.

He was meeting about 2,300 residents from the area who had turned up at the park for a senior citizens' sports day.

The latest facilities, built by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, follow the March opening of the 1.3km Riverside Walk section of the promenade, which runs along the banks of Serangoon Reservoir.

The cycling and jogging tracks, food outlets and lookout points of Riverside Walk, set near the Lorong Halus Wetland, are all part of the plan to make Punggol a waterfront housing estate.

More is to follow: A 2.5km nature walk zone will open next year.

Punggol Promenade links Punggol Point and Punggol East and connects further south with the park connectors along Serangoon Reservoir and Punggol Reservoir, making up 17km of the north-eastern part of the Park Connector Network.

Mr Teo, referring to Punggol Point Park and Punggol Point Walk, noted that the facilities were developed in consultation with residents and grassroots leaders.

The area's seafood restaurants were a part of his childhood, he told residents.

'This place was always farmland, and not many people were living here. It had a completely different character.

'Now we have transformed this place,' he said.

But a nod has also been given to the history of Punggol amid all these developments: The tree-lined road leading to Punggol Point Walk has been earmarked as a heritage road.

Bishan resident Tay Siew Kian, 50, visiting the park with her sister, a Punggol resident, said: 'The park is very pretty. I'll probably come here often with my sister to take walks.'

Grassroots leader Rebecca Tan said the Punggol 21 Community Club plans to ferry senior citizens to the park by bus for brisk-walking sessions; sports events will also be held there.

Punggol East MP Michael Palmer said: 'Sengkang and Punggol are getting a lot more populated. You see a lot more congestion in terms of traffic and living space. It's important in this sort of urban environment that people have space to go take a walk and feel some open scenery. This creates that space.'

Rustic spots a boon for residents
Punggol parks an example of the space for quality housing, says DPM Teo
Wayne Chan Today Online 21 Nov 11;

SINGAPORE - Despite an increasing population, the Republic can still have good quality housing in "a wonderful setting", Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

And the newest zone at Punggol Promenade - Punggol Point Walk and Punggol Point Park - is an example of how this can be achieved, Mr Teo said at its opening.

"These parks around Punggol illustrate that we can still find the space for good quality housing for Singaporeans, provided we design and plan them well, and also that Singaporeans pitch in to help look after all the facilities that we have," he said.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority, as lead agency, engaged the grassroots and residents in planning and designing the park and its facilities.

Mr Teo also said the park signals the Government's commitment to building affordable housing for Singaporeans.

The quality of public housing is a recent talking point, following comments a fortnight ago by the Housing and Development Board's chief executive officer that smaller public flats have not lowered the quality of life here.

In his speech yesterday, Mr Teo noted how recreational developments such as at Punggol have been a value-add for residents.

"As you know, Singapore has very limited land for competing uses. Even as we plan the whole island, land is specifically set aside for different types of parks and open spaces," he said.

He added that facilities in recreational areas have also become more elderly-friendly, making it easier for an ageing population to enjoy active lives.

The 1.2-km Punggol Point Walk, for instance, will offer visitors better access to fishing spots along Punggol's coast.

It is the second zone to be opened in the S$16.7-million Punggol Promenade, which will be fully completed next year. The 4.9-km waterfront promenade will then connect two recreational clusters along the north-eastern coast of Singapore.

"What we're trying to do is to bring people back to Punggol Point, make it as a recreational node by building this nice park," said Mr Lee Howe Ming, executive architect of Conservation & Urban Design Group at the URA.

"It's also well connected along the coastline to other recreational options along Punggol such as your My Waterway@Punggol, Lorong Halus Wetlands."

A new waterfront destination launched

Punggol Point Walk has a viewing deck, which marks the end of Punggol Road, that can hold some 300 people and also serves as a shelter to users of the jetty. There is also a giant lily pond, a children's playground and an events plaza.

Meanwhile, footpaths and cycling tracks will link up with park connectors along Punggol and Serangoon reservoirs, forming a continuous 17-km loop around north-eastern Singapore.

When the last stage of the promenade, the Nature Walk measuring 2.5km, is completed early next year, the public can make their way from Riverside Walk in Punggol East to the Sengkang Riverside Park.

"This will also be connected in the future to the round island cycling routes, so that's about 150 kilometres," said Mr Lee. "Singapore is a small island, but by doing all these park connectors, we're giving more recreational options to residents."

A horse riding school will also be opened soon at Punggol Point, while a site has been reserved for food and beverage outlets in the future.

"We hope that Punggol Point Walk will offer respite from the hustle and bustle of city life to the residents in Punggol and allow visitors of all ages to relax and soak in the idyllic atmosphere," said URA chief executive officer Ng Lang.

"This latest recreation destination is a collective effort from the project team, leaders and residents from the grassroots and constituency, the agencies from the public sector and supporters from the private sector."

Punggol Promenade is the latest in a series of improvement projects that the URA has undertaken to enhance the living environment. Others include the Southern Ridges, the Woodlands Waterfront and the soon-to-be completed Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk.

It is also part of the URA's Rustic Coast Proposals, which aims to connect the five coastal areas - Pulau Ubin, Changi Point, Pasir Ris, Coney Island and Punggol Point - and open them up so that residents can enjoy new recreational activities and amenities.