Dr Amy Khor
Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower
Mr Desmond Lee
Minister of State for National Development
Members of the Jurong Lake District Steering Committee
Mr Kenneth Er
CEO, National Parks Board
Mr Ng Lang
CEO, Urban Redevelopment Authority
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us this morning for the launch of our public engagement on the Jurong Lake Gardens.
2. Last year, Prime Minister Lee shared the possibilities of transforming the entire Jurong Lake District. We hope to make the District a Green Gem in the West – with exciting commercial developments, as well as beautiful gardens and recreational spaces.
3. You can already see the Jurong Gateway shaping up well, with new facilities like the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital, offices, as well as entertainment and F&B outlets. In addition, there are some exciting projects being discussed. For example, we are looking at better connectivity with new MRT lines. There’s also the possibility of the future KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail being located in Jurong Lake District, which will add to the vibrancy of the entire area.
4. These are long-term plans. But for now, our priority is the Jurong Lake Gardens, and so this is the focus of our exhibition today.
5. I know Jurong Lake Gardens is a special place for all of us. It holds many precious memories for our residents. Many of you come here regularly to jog, cycle, or take a stroll along the lake.
6. At the same time, we’ve also received feedback for more activities and programmes in the Gardens, and more spaces for communities and families to come together.
7. So let me assure you that we will do our best to get this balance right – to retain the natural beauty of the Gardens, and also provide more programmes and spaces for families to enjoy.
8. We have some preliminary ideas of how to do this in the Western part of the Gardens. This is the section of the Gardens facing Yuan Ching Road, and we’ll call it Jurong Lake Gardens West. Our ideas are based on feedback received from all of you earlier, and they revolve around three main themes – nature, play and community.
9. For example, to preserve nature, we’ll conserve the trees and enhance the biodiversity of the Gardens. At a dialogue session, someone said to me, whatever you do to the Gardens, please make sure that you keep the herons there. Let me assure you that the herons and the native birds will remain. In fact, we will help them to grow by enhancing their natural habitats. And we will have boardwalks that bring you closer to nature, so you can enjoy walking through the greenery as well as watching the birds and herons.
10. We also have several ideas for play areas. For example, we’re looking at a nature-themed adventure playground for children. This is not going to be your usual theme park. There are no roller coasters, no high-tech simulators. But using trees and natural water bodies, we can create something exciting and fun for children and families.
11. We will also have something for the community. For example, we plan to create more open lawns with shady trees. These areas can be used for community and recreational activities, including concerts in the park. We’re also planning a new community lifestyle and water sports facility, to provide more opportunities for canoeing and kayaking on the lake.
12. So all these are possibilities that we’ve sketched out for Jurong Lake Gardens West.
13. There are another two parts in Jurong Lake Gardens – that’s Jurong Lake Gardens Central (which includes the Chinese and Japanese Gardens), and Jurong Lake Gardens East.
14. For the Central section, we think this can be a place for community show gardens. So it could provide a platform for community gardeners to come together to work with NParks’ landscape architects and industry partners, and create show gardens of very high standards.
15. For the Eastern part, this will be the location of the new Science Centre. So we envisage that this part of the Gardens can feature science and nature, to provide a better linkage to the Science Centre. For example, it can showcase horticultural projects with new, innovative features.
16. We plan to embark on the work in phases, starting with Jurong Lake Gardens West, which we expect to complete in 2017. The other parts of the Gardens will be completed in stages from 2020 onwards.
17. As a first step, we plan to launch a design competition later this year, where we will get the best landscape architects to help us with the design of the gardens. While the professionals can provide specialised expertise, we still need inputs from the ground to make this truly a “people’s garden”.
18. So please look at the exhibits we’ve put up, and share your feedback with us. You can send your comments at any of the roving exhibition sites, and also through the Jurong Lake Gardens website which we’ve set up. Your suggestions will enable us to further refine the ideas for implementation.
19. Finally, I want to say that we are able to do all these wonderful things in Jurong Lake Gardens today because of the foundations laid by our founding fathers, and in particular our Founding PM Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
20. Mr Lee had a vision – to make Singapore a beautiful green oasis. As PM said in his eulogy, Mr Lee was our Chief Gardener. Today, his legacy can be seen all around us. There is a Chinese saying that the first generation plants the trees, and the next enjoys the shade (前人栽树, 后人乘凉). Because of the hard work of our founding fathers and pioneers, we have green spaces all over Singapore, and beautiful parks and gardens for all of us to enjoy.
21. We can see the benefits of this transformation most vividly in Jurong. 50 years ago, this place was a swampland. Today, it’s a vibrant residential area, with a lake and public gardens at its centre. Now, we have a chance to build on Mr Lee’s legacy, and plant trees for the next generation. So let’s all do our part to create something really special for Jurong Lake Gardens. Let’s continue to make Singapore an endearing home and City in a Garden.