Three parks to be developed into Destination Parks

Saifulbahri Ismail Channel NewsAsia 17 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE: Admiralty Park, East Coast Park and Jurong Lake Park will be developed into large regional parks, offering recreational features not usually found in public parks.

Called Destination Parks, the three were selected based on geographical location - one each in the North, East and West regions of Singapore.

They're expected to be developed within three to five years.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced this at the re-opening of Bishan Park on Saturday morning.

After more than two years of redevelopment, the Bishan Park has been completely transformed.

What used to be a concrete canal at the Bishan Park, is now a meandering river with landscaped banks and gentle slopes.

It allows visitors to walk and play along the water.

Following the redevelopment of the Bishan Park, Mr Lee said that it will be renamed as Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Mr Lee believes the park will still be the focal point for both Bishan and Ang Mo Kio residents. It will also attract Singaporeans from all across the country.

He said: "We're building more parks like Bishan Park, Destination Parks in other parts of Singapore, each one with its unique attractions. So, all over Singapore, whether you're downtown, in the Marina Bay which is very beautiful or whether you're in the neighbourhood, whether in the north, in the east, in the west, there's nothing south of Marina Bay unfortunately, we'll be able to have nature, we'll have active, beautiful and clean waters."

Mr Lee added the redevelopment of Bishan Park fits into the vision to transform Singapore into a City in a Garden.

The National Parks Board (NParks) said the concept of Destination Parks will spearhead the redevelopment of parks in the future.

About 30 to 35 other parks could fit the model of Destination Parks.

Poon Hong Yuen, chief executive officer, National Parks Board, said: "In Destination Parks, you'll probably see elements that are much more exciting than the normal park. So, for example in the play element, you would not probably see the standard type of play equipment, but you will see play experiences that are first of their kind in Singapore."

Admiralty Park has hilly terrain, which opens up possibilities of a playground with feature giant slides and climbing slopes.

East Coast Park can be improved to offer more family-oriented fun.

As for Jurong Lake Park, the presence of a lake can offer a unique play experience, such as an adventure land connected by islands.

Some of the park features were suggested by the public as part of the 4,000 ideas gathered from the City in a Garden public engagement exercise last August.

In the next few months, NParks will be organising roadshows and focus group discussions for the public to share their views.

NParks said to help Singaporeans from all over the island enjoy these Destination Parks, accessibility to these locations will be enhanced.

Construction of the three Destination Parks could start as early as next year.

- CNA/ck