Sembawang coast beckons with outdoor activities

Some volunteers doing their bit during a coastal clean-up at Sembawang coast on Saturday. The event was part of the PA's Project Blue WaVe.
Danson Cheong The Straits Times AsiaOne 14 Oct 14;

Some volunteers doing their bit during a coastal clean-up at Sembawang coast on Saturday. The event was part of the PA's Project Blue WaVe.

SINGAPORE - The sleepy Sembawang coastline is in for a little more action.

More people can camp by the beach there, kayak and go on nature trails in the nearby forest.

These are some of the activities offered by the People's Association (PA) Water-Venture Centre in Sembawang, which launched an expanded facility yesterday.

The two buildings, which took slightly over a year to complete, have four dormitories with room for 160 people, conference and multi-purpose rooms, and an area for water sports - with showers, racks for parking kayaks and even a shed where campers can build sea-rafts.

This new facility will allow 2,000 people to use the centre, double that of the PA's earlier Water-Venture Centre.

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan, who was the guest of honour at the facility's opening, said Sembawang was one of the few constituencies with a coastline, and hoped residents would make full use of the new services.

But he also reminded users to be mindful of the environment while they enjoy the rustic surroundings.

"Keep it clean, pick up litter, and the waterfront will remain conducive for us to enjoy for years and decades," said Mr Khaw, who joined about 500 residents and grassroots volunteers in a coastal clean-up, picking up rubbish and litter that included discarded slippers, plastic bags and even a muddy yellow rubber boot.

Also with Mr Khaw was former People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Ong Ye Kung, who trawled the coast for litter in a kayak.

Mr Ong, who was in the PAP team that lost in Aljunied GRC in the 2011 General Election, has been helping at grassroots events in Sembawang GRC.

Yesterday's launch was one of three signature events of Project Blue WaVe, an islandwide environmental conservation project by the PA. Said Ms Jeanie Tan, one of the PA's group directors: "When residents come here we'll be able to take the chance and engage (and teach) them on environmental conservation."

That message was not lost on the volunteers yesterday, who donned gloves and used tongs in the clean-up.

Noted one of them, Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Teo Pei Xing, 19: "Keeping the coast clean is important, if not, can you imagine eating fish that has been eating trash?"

The PA and Education Ministry also launched an initiative yesterday which will make 10 primary school fields available for community sports programmes organised by the association.

The programme aims to promote family bonding through football.