Opening of Botanic Gardens extension delayed by a year to minimise environmental impact

Cheryl Teh Straits Times 9 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE - The opening of an 8ha extension to the Botanic Gardens - initially scheduled for the end of last year - has been pushed back by around 12 months due to construction issues.

The Gallop Road extension, which will feature attractions including an arboretum full of endangered rainforest trees, a hiking trail and galleries, was announced in 2015 when a completion date of late 2018 was set.

However, the Botanic Gardens' director of development, Ms Ng Yuin-Mae, announced on Wednesday (Jan 9) that more time is needed to ensure that the extension and new facilities being constructed are developed sensitively to ensure that wildlife can continue to thrive in the area.

Monthly environmental impact studies indicated that more time was needed to ensure minimal noise and vibration pollution in the surrounding area, and to protect the area's biodiversity.

"The environmental impact surveys are part and parcel of the process, and these studies made us realise that more time is needed for mitigating measures," Ms Ng said, adding that contractors have switched to silent piledrivers to reduce noise pollution.

A National Parks Board (NParks) spokesman said that additional noise monitoring measures have been put in place near the residential areas bordering the Gallop Road extension, and adjacent to the Gardens' ecologically sensitive habitats.

Working hours at the site are 8am to 7pm on weekdays, with a half day on Saturday.

The extension to the 160-year-old Gardens - Singapore's first Unesco World Heritage Site - will bring its total area to 82ha, its biggest size to date.

Complete plans for the extension were also revealed on Wednesday at a launch event for the Gardens' 160th Anniversary celebrations, which will tie in with Singapore's bicentennial year, marking 200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles landed on the island in 1819.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, presented six Heritage Tree plaques to donors who made donations of $1 million and above to the Garden's efforts, in areas such as conservation and citizen science.

The donors were the COMO Foundation and HPL Hotels and Resorts, Keppel Corporation, Mingxin Foundation, OCBC Bank, and Mr Tan Jiew Hoe.

"I encourage private individuals and corporations to partner us, to take greater ownership of our gardens, and do even more with your creativity, imagination, and energies," Mr Wong said. "Together, we will grow the vision started by our founding leaders, and make the Gardens and our City a more beautiful and special place for our future generations to enjoy."

posing for a group photo after the donors received their framed photos of their heritage trees. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Mr Wong also observed an exhibition showcasing the highlights of the Gallop extension, comprising an arboretum which will hold a collection of 200 to 300 species of the dipterocarp - an ecologically endangered tropical rainforest tree - species and a 200m-long canopy link way over Tyersall Avenue that will offer a sweeping view of the Gardens.

There will also be an adventure grove for children, and a ridge-top hiking trail that recreates the hill-slope and cliff-edge habitats found in South-east Asia.

The extension will also feature the conversion of black and white colonial houses in the Gallop area into two galleries. The first will be located at Gallop House No. 5 (Atbara), the oldest surviving colonial-era bungalow in Singapore. It will become a forest discovery centre - an interactive gallery where visitors can learn about Singapore's diverse forest habitats.

Gallop House No. 7 (Inverturret) will be converted into an art gallery featuring a rotating exhibition of rare botanical art, including watercolour and ink drawings, and wooden block carvings.

Singapore Botanic Gardens unveils plans for upcoming Gallop extension
Channel NewsAsia 9 Jan 29;

SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) on Wednesday (Jan 9) unveiled plans for the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ 8ha Gallop extension which will open later in 2019, almost a year later than scheduled.

The new features include a nature-inspired play area for children, a canopy link bridge, an art gallery and a new arboretum.

Announced in 2015, the Gallop extension will bring the total area of the Singapore Botanic Gardens to 82ha - nearly four times its size when it opened in 1859. This latest expansion is the largest of its kind in its history.

Among the highlights at the new OCBC Arboretum are the dipterocarps, which are giant trees found only in tropical regions.

The 2ha collection of trees, which can grow up to 80m, include several valuable timber species, many of which are threatened by deforestation in Southeast Asia.

Artist impression of OCBC arboretum, part of the planned Gallop extension to the Botanic Gardens. (Image: NParks)

Another addition is the Forest Discovery Centre, which NParks says will serve as an interpretive hub for the conservation of tropical forest ecosystems. Here, visitors will also be able to learn about different forest habitats in Singapore, and how they can contribute to forest restoration efforts.

A new canopy link bridge will improve accessibility at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, as it will connect visitors from the Gardens’ Learning Centre to the Gallop extension.

In a news release, NParks said the Gallop extension will also include a play area for children to learn about native flora and fauna.

“Inspired by the distinctive parts of the trees found within the grounds, the COMO Adventure Grove aims to appeal to the child’s innate desire to explore and connect with nature,” said NParks.

Artist impression of COMO Adventure Cove, part of the planned Gallop extension to the Botanic Gardens. (Image: NParks)
The Gallop extension was originally scheduled for completion in 2018, but the project was delayed as NParks needed to minimise the impact on the environment as works progressed.

"We dedicated more time as required to coordinate the development works sensitively, in order to minimise the impact on the ecology of the forest and the wildlife residing within," said NParks' director of Singapore Botanic Gardens development.

"We also took into consideration feedback from the residents in the vicinity to minimise potential noise and vibration pollution."

As part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ 160th anniversary, a year-long series of festivals, concerts, workshops and tours themed around nature will also be conducted.

At the unveiling of plans on Wednesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said: "The Gardens is well-loved by all Singaporeans and also our UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is a beautiful jewel in the heart of our city, for us to enjoy and treasure, develop and improve."

Additional reporting by Junn Loh.

Source: CNA/rw

New 8ha extension, year-long celebrations as Singapore Botanic Gardens marks 160th year
VICTOR LOH Today Online 9 Jan 19;

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Botanic Gardens will be made bigger when a new area opens late this year at its southern periphery near Farrer Road and Holland Road, the National Parks Board announced on Wednesday (Jan 9).

The 8ha extension, which is about the size of 11 football fields, was set to be ready end of last year, but is now opening later to give more time for ongoing environmental studies, community feedback and construction works.

TODAY understands that addressing the concerns of residents nearby was one of the reasons behind the delay.

The extension along Gallop Road, which is also bounded by Tyersall Avenue, will expand the Botanic Gardens to 82ha — the largest in its 160-year history.

Accessible from the Farrer Road MRT Station, the new area will act as a buffer against urban development for the native flora and fauna within the gardens’ United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site.

Besides housing at least half of the world’s species of dipterocarps forest trees — which are mainly tropical lowland rainforest trees — the extension will feature a play area, streams and two conservation buildings.

As the area prepares for a delayed opening, the year-long 160th anniversary programme will go on, with a series of festivals, concerts, workshops and guided tours, including a two-week exhibition on the significant milestones of the Botanic Gardens, dating from 1859.

On Wednesday, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong presented Heritage Tree plaques to major donors who have contributed at least S$1 million each to the Garden City Fund at the launch of the 160th-anniversary celebrations.

These major donors include Como Foundation, HPL, Keppel Corporation and OCBC Bank, with a cumulative donation of more than S$10 million over the past five years.


The OCBC Arboretum will conserve around 200 to 300 species of dipterocarp forest species, which form the backbone of the region’s tropical forests and are ecologically critical.

A play area called the Como Adventure Grove for children to learn about native flora and fauna.

The Gallop House No 5 at the OCBC Arboretum, a conservation building which is the oldest surviving colonial-era bungalow in Singapore. It will be the site for the forest discovery centre featuring interactive displays about the ecology of Singapore’s forests.

The Gallop House No 7, another conservation building, was restored by the Government in 2012 and will house the Botanical Art Gallery, which displays botanical illustrations from botanic gardens and galleries around the world in various art forms, including watercolours, ink drawings and woodblock carvings.

Gallop Valley with meandering streams and softer foliage.

A restored ridge-top habitat which features a hiking trail.

A 200m-long barrier-free bridge over Tyersall Avenue connecting the 10ha Learning Forest (a secondary forest) to the Gallop extension.


The Singapore Botanic Gardens Celebrates 160 Years Exhibition from Wednesday to Jan 25.

A Songs of Spring concert by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra on Jan 12.

A free sketching workshop on Jan 19.

Two biodiversity investigative workshops during the March school holidays.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival in July.

Movie screenings at the EcoLake Lawn.

A year-long series of other festivals, concerts, workshops and guided tours.


The Singapore Botanic Gardens was established in 1859 and was inscribed as Singapore’s first Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015.

There are more than 10,000 types of plants housed at the Botanic Gardens.

Operated by the National Parks Board, the Botanic Gardens has more than five million visitors yearly.

The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden within the grounds is the largest children’s garden in Asia.

The century-old Learning Forest opened last year after a S$30 million restoration. There are more than 700 plant species, some rare or even once-extinct, and more than 200 species of fauna. In the 19th century, the site was used for the cultivation of gambier and pepper before it was used for large residential estates before being set aside as part extension plans in 2009.