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Natural River Through Bishan Park

15 Feb 2012

Rejuvenated Bishan Park with new, naturalised meandering river becomes a vibrant community space with new and improved amenities that suit visitors of all age groups. 

A lush, meandering waterway now flows right at the doorsteps of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio residents. Carried out in tandem with the rejuvenation of Bishan Park, what used to be a utilitarian, concrete canal has been transformed into a beautiful, natural river teeming with life. There are also new and improved facilities, turning the park into a vibrant community space. 

This project is a joint collaboration between the National Parks Board (NParks), and national water agency PUB under the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme, a long-term initiative to beautify Singapore's waterscape.

A river runs through it

With landscaped banks and gentle slopes, a soft meandering river has transformed Bishan Park into a picture-perfect world of blue and green. Designed based on a floodplain concept, the section of Kallang River that ran in a canal along the edge of the park was transformed into a natural river where Singaporeans can get up close and personal with water and nature. Residents are no longer separated by the canal, improving connectivity to the park.

When water level in the river is low, users can get closer to water and enjoy recreational activities along the river banks, and during heavy rain, the park land that is next to the river doubles up as a conveyance channel, carrying the flow downstream. This enables multiple land uses within the park and creates more spaces for the community.

For the first time in Singapore, a series of bioengineering techniques involving natural materials were used to turn the canal into the river. These materials were used to stabilise the slope to prevent soil erosion, and also form natural habitats that enrich the biodiversity of the park. Park visitors can now appreciate the flora and fauna that have flourished in the park as a result of the waterway. 

"While we want to encourage the community to get close to water, we are also mindful that the safety of the public is paramount. In designing this river with naturalised banks and gentle slopes, we also put in place a series of measures to ensure the safety of park users is not compromised," said Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB's Director of Catchment and Waterways.

New and improved amenities for the community to play, interact and bond

The element of play is raised up a notch with three new playgrounds in Bishan Park.  With the opening of popular fast food chain McDonald's, and a Western fusion restaurant called Cornerstone, park visitors can also enjoy a wider variety of food and beverage outlets. 

Another new landmark that park visitors can look out for is Recycle Hill, which was formed using concrete from the former canal.  This was a deliberate effort to preserve a part of the park's history, and reuse the concrete in a creative way.  Perched on the hill is an award-winning sculpture by local sculptor Kelvin Lim Fun Kit, called An Enclosure For A Swing, contributed by NParks' partner CDL Limited, under the Park Sculpture Series.

NParks' Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kong Yit San, elaborated, "The revamped Bishan Park, with its new and improved amenities, provides a common space for Singaporeans to play, interact and bond.  The introduction of a naturalised river has also brought birds, dragonflies, waterhens and little egrets closer to our doorsteps.  With the variety of amenities catering to the diverse needs of our park users, we believe that the new Bishan Park will draw visitors from all over, and bring Singapore closer to being a City in a Garden."

Bishan Park brings Singaporeans closer to nature and water

The completion of Bishan Park is part of the long-term initiative to rejuvenate our urban parks and get Singaporeans closer to nature and water.  To celebrate the official opening of the park, an event involving community groups from Bishan and Ang Mo Kio will be held in March 2012.

Last updated on 16 July 2021

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