Best of our wild blogs: 6 Apr 15

Yellow-vented Bulbul and Singapore Rhododendron fruit
from Bird Ecology Study Group

The Violet Cuckoo in Singapore
from Francis' Random Yaks, Articles & Photos

Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) @ East Coast Park
from Monday Morgue

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NParks seeks public views on new Jurong Lake Gardens

AsiaOne 5 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE - The National Parks Board (NParks) is inviting the public to contribute ideas towards shaping the design of Jurong Lake Gardens - Singapore's new national gardens in the heartlands.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Communications and Information Lawrence Wong launched a public engagement roving exhibition for the new gardens on Sunday. Mr Wong, who is also Chairman of the Jurong Lake District Steering Committee, also launched a new micro-site on Jurong Lake Gardens that will showcase the plans for the new gardens.

The new exhibition at Jurong Point will allow members of the community to learn more about Jurong Lake Gardens and submit their suggestions on what the new garden could be like.

It will be held at Jurong Point till April 7 before it is moved to various locations including the HDB Hub (April 11-12); Parkland Green at East Coast Park (April 18-19); and VivoCity (April 25-26).

During the exhibition, the public can then share their thoughts on what they would like to see at the new gardens, how the public spaces could be used, the types of activities they would like to participate in, and how they would like to contribute to the gardens.

Plans for the 90-ha Jurong Lake Gardens were first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at last year's National Day Rally.

The Gardens will be made up of Jurong Lake Gardens West (renamed from Jurong Lake Park); Jurong Lake Gardens Central (including the Chinese and Japanese Gardens); and Jurong Lake Gardens East (including the grounds of the new Science Centre).

NParks said that the new Jurong Lake Gardens will be conceptualised and developed around four key design principles: Preserving nature & memories, co-creating show gardens, integrating science & nature and vibrant programming.

The Gardens' first phase of development will focus on Jurong Lake Gardens West, which is currently in the concept stage and will be ready in 2017. The rest of the Gardens will be completed in phases from 2020 onwards.

The design of Jurong Lake Gardens West has been conceptualised based on public feedback obtained earlier in 2012 during NParks' public engagement exercise for the City in a Garden vision. NParks had announced in 2012 that it would be developing Destination Parks to attract Singaporeans from all over the island, and Jurong Lake Park (to be renamed Jurong Lake Gardens West), was identified as one of three Destination Parks to be developed.

The new public engagement exercise will the help NParks further refine its concept, the authority said.

In addition, NParks will also be seeking ideas from the community for the rest of Jurong Lake Gardens, including Jurong Lake Gardens Central (current Chinese and Japanese Gardens). These ideas will be incorporated into the brief for a design competition that NParks will be launching later in the year.

NParks has also been consulting other stakeholders on their views and feedback on Jurong Lake Gardens since the end of 2014. These include the grassroots and residents from the Jurong district; Community in Bloom (CIB) ambassadors, gardeners and volunteers; design professionals including planners, architects and landscape architects; as well as nature groups.

The public engagement exercise is expected to continue till May 2015.

First public exhibition on Jurong Lake Gardens West at Jurong Point
Eileen Poh Channel NewsAsia 5 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE: Playgrounds featuring water and nature-themed play areas, boardwalks bringing visitors close to the water's edge to observe birds feeding, and a new community and water sports facility - these are just some of the proposed concept ideas unveiled at the first public exhibition on Jurong Lake Gardens West.

The exhibition, launched on Sunday (Apr 5) at Jurong Point mall, allows members of the public to feedback on the suggested plans. The concept ideas were collated through a series of public road shows and online channels in 2012.

The roving exhibition will be held at Jurong Point till Apr 7. It will then travel to HDB Hub (Apr 11 - 12), before making stops at Parkland Green at East Coast Park (Apr 18 - 19) and VivoCity (Apr 25 - 26).

The public can also submit their feedback via a microsite on the Jurong Lake Gardens: Through these channels, National Parks Board will also be seeking ideas from the community for the rest of Jurong Lake Gardens - Jurong Lake Gardens East and Central.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who is Chairman of the Jurong Lake District Steering Committee, said the central part of the gardens can be a place for community show gardens.

"For the Jurong Lake Gardens East, this will be the location of the new Science Centre. So we think that this part of the gardens can feature science and nature, and it can provide a better linkage to the Science Centre. For example, we can showcase horticultural projects with new, innovative features at the Jurong Lake Gardens East," said Mr Wong.

Works on the Jurong Lake Gardens West are expected to be completed in 2017. The other parts of the gardens will be completed in stages from 2020 onwards.

Some residents are looking forward to the developments. Malaiya Maran, who has been living in Jurong for 20 years, said: "We are really excited about what is coming up. For many of the programmes, they are trying to make them as interactive as possible, so it is not just walking through the park and enjoying the breeze. There are things we can get involved in."

"People can go there and grow things they like. I think a lot of youngsters grow up in an environment which is very urbanised. They don't have a chance to grow things and see them bloom," added the 52-year-old.

Raymond Tan, a father of two and who has been staying in Jurong since he was a child, said: "In the past, we will travel to Malaysia, or out of Singapore, to view the butterflies and natural sights, which we hardly have in Singapore. I think this (Jurong Lake Gardens) will be very good. And having kids now, I think it is good for them as part of their education."

But there are concerns that the gardens will lose its tranquility, or become a gathering point for foreign workers. "In fact near Jurong Point, there's a Jurong Central Park. Over the weekend, I hardly see locals there enjoying the facilities. I think one of the main reasons is there are a lot of non-locals there," said Mr Tan.

"Slowly this area is turning away from what it used to be - very quiet, laid back and a lot of greenery. We may have to make way for some of these greenery to be transplanted in another area. But we have to give up something to gain something, we can't have it all," said Malaiya.

Mr Wong said: "Many of you have given us feedback that you want to maintain the tranquility and the natural surroundings of Jurong Lake Gardens. At the same time we have also heard feedback and suggestions from residents that you want the place to be more vibrant, you want to have more activities and programmes; you want more spaces for communities and families to come together.

"So we are trying our best, and we will do our best, to get this balance right - to retain the natural beauty of the Gardens and at the same time provide more programmes and more spaces for communities and families to come together. We will try to achieve both objectives."

- CNA/by/ir

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