Plans to up countryside charm in two areas

Plans to up countryside charm in two areas 

 

Lim Chu Kang, Kranji to be developed into ‘weekend refuge’, with farm stays and spas

By Lim Wei Chean

 

FANS of the lush farms in Lim Chu Kang and the serenity of Kranji’s Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve can look forward to more outdoor activities in Singapore’s small slice of countryside.

Under a plan unveiled by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan yesterday, Lim Chu Kang and Kranji have been earmarked for several new leisure activities, from kayaking to farm stays.

 

The goal is to turn the areas into a ‘weekend refuge’ for urbanites, said Mr Mah.

 

The blueprint is part of a bigger five-year review of the masterplan for Singapore’s development, which will be announced tomorrow.

 

It will include a new emphasis on the laidback countryside charm of Lim Chu Kang, now dotted with 115 fish, goat and vegetable farms.

 

Three new sites will be released for the ‘agri-tainment’ business, a sector that includes farm stays, countryside spas and centres that teach urban dwellers the appeal of farming.

 

In Kranji – already home to the 130ha Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve – land will be set aside for two new parks totalling 21ha.

 

Besides the current 2km-long Kranji Nature Trail, new paths are being created to make another 17ha of the mangrove swamps in the Kranji Marshes accessible to the public.

 

Sea sports enthusiasts can also look forward to kayaking on the Kranji Reservoir and other non-motorised boating activities.

 

Mr Mah announced the plans yesterday at the Singapore Institute of Architects’ annual dinner at Suntec convention centre.

 

The area, he said, will be ‘developed into an attractive weekend refuge for urban dwellers’.

 

Farmers in Kranji and Lim Chu Kang welcomed the news that the area has been set aside as a playground for Singaporeans.

 

It is something the farmers who formed the Kranji Countryside Association have been trying to do for the past few years. They have organised annual events such as the Spring Festival during Chinese New Year to promote the area and attract visitors.

 

Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim, president of the association, said their aim now is to ‘bring back the fireflies within five years’. The bugs, once plentiful in Singapore, died out years ago because of development.

 

Her only worry is that the developments will become too artificial, ruining the area’s rustic charm.

 

 

 

Source: Straits Times

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