Leisure Plan promises fun times ahead

Leisure Plan promises fun times ahead

 

Devts include 150km round-island path, agri-tainment sites and urban hotspots

 

(SINGAPORE) From a round-the-island jogging route to night festivals in the city, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has shown it is serious about fun by coming up with Singapore’s first Leisure Plan.

 

According to National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, there is a need to ‘further sharpen Singapore’s distinctiveness as a vibrant yet liveable city’.

 

But the task is not simple, says URA chief executive Cheong Koon Hean. ‘It is not just about providing space and facilities to play, it is also about enhancing the variety and quality of leisure options we have around-the-clock, where there is something for everyone.’

 

Built on the 2003 parks and waterbodies and identity plans, the Leisure Plan aims to enhance Singapore’s quality of life. It is part of the 2008 Draft Master Plan that will also focus on sustaining economic growth.

 

The Leisure Plan seeks to provide recreation to suit everyone.

 

For those seeking active fun, more green spaces will be available.

 

For starters, a 150-km round-the-island route for joggers and cyclists is in the works. Linking park connectors and other trails from Changi to areas such as Punggol, Lim Chu Kang, Jurong Lake, Marina Bay and back, the route will be finished in 10-15 years. Stretches in some regions such as the Southern Ridges are already complete, and the next five years will see at least half the route laid out.

 

Bringing parks closer to homes, the park connector network will more than triple in size from 100 km to 360 km in the next 10-15 years. The web will expand further to include six more loops in the next five years, in areas such as Siglap-Kallang.

 

Parks will grow to 4,200 ha in the next 15 years, from 3,300 ha today. In the more immediate future, new parks in areas such as Lower Seletar Reservoir will appear.

 

Besides parks, more accessible waterways and new sports facilities will become must-go destinations for residents keen on outdoor play.

 

Beyond creating spaces, the Leisure Plan aims to carve out destinations with a distinctive character.

 

Under the second part of the plan, the 1,400-ha Kranji and Lim Chu Kang area will become a countryside getaway. Besides the 115 farms there, new parkland, new trails though Kranji Marshes, three agri-tainment sites and other facilities will be created.

 

In the city area, special lighting will dot areas such as Orchard Road, Bugis and Marina Bay to help give the island a vibrant nightlife.

 

And the National Heritage Board will step up the beat over two weekends in July in the Bras Basah and Stamford Road area, with night festivals featuring live music, street theatre and other performances. The Singapore Tourism Board will follow in September with its Singapore River Festival.

 

Arts activities and lifestyle hotspots such as Tanglin Village and Rochester Park will also provide urban entertainment.

 

Industry players are positive on more recreation. ‘The development of recreational venues is a boon to surrounding residential areas,’ said Cushman & Wakefield managing director Donald Han. ‘With more attractions and infrastructure being built, we are likely to see higher demand and a sustainable price increase over the longer term.’

 

Supporting that view, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore Ku Swee Yong said: ‘A planning approach that packages work and play around daily activities in one area, such as the proposed Jurong Lake District, will mean premium property prices in the area.’

 

In particular, more recreational venues will help the western region of Singapore shed its industrial image to present a better value proposition for home buyers. As Mr Han noted: ‘Residential prices in the east are traditionally higher because of the diversity of attractions in the area – golf courses, the beach, restaurants and interesting food and beverage chill-out concepts.’

 

Kranji Countryside Association president Ivy Singh-Lim supports the increased focus on agri-tainment. According to her, visitors will benefit from a refuge away from the city and farmers can gain additional income.

 

But Mrs Singh-Lim is concerned that development could encroach on the area’s rustic charm, and hopes agri-tainment will become just be ‘part of the scene (of sustainable agriculture)’.

 

URA will launch the Draft Master Plan 2008 exhibition tomorrow for the public to give feedback.

 

 

 

Source: Business Times

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