Media Statement by Minister Desmond Lee on the Housing Development Plans for the Keppel Club site and Launch of Labrador Nature Park Network
Apr 12, 2022
A very good morning to our friends from the media and thank you for joining us today.
I wish you all were able to join us at the site for tree-planting. Earlier this morning, we launched the Labrador Nature Park Network, by planting trees with the community, including with nature groups and residents, at the site of the future Alexandra Nature Park.
Now I would like to take this opportunity to set out our plans for the area, to paint a picture of what this area will look like in the future, and to share with you some details on how we are striking a balance among our many land-use needs.
Keppel Club Site Development
As a small city-state, Singapore faces intense land use pressures. We have to fit everything that a country needs, within the confines of our city. This is a hard constraint that we cannot escape from, even though we will continue to find creative ways to make even better use of our limited land.
Our city planning challenges will intensify, as the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans grow and evolve.
Today, we face a growing demand for housing, for various reasons – our echo boomers, who are the children of our baby boomer generation – are settling down and forming their own families. And at the same time, we observe that our households are getting smaller. Families, singles as well as seniors are increasingly seeking their own space, in part due to work-from-home, and in part due to other social trends.
We will build more homes to meet this growing demand. That is why we are redeveloping the site where Keppel Club is currently at. When the lease of the golf course runs out, we will redevelop the land for housing, and the entire site is around 48 hectares.
At the National Day Rally in 2019, PM announced that we will build about 9,000 homes on the Keppel Club site. This will include approximately 6,000 HDB flats, and we will launch the first site in the next three years.
Being close to the coast as well as green spaces, the Keppel Club site will offer unique waterfront living, close to nature. And given its central location and the two MRT stations nearby, we will seek to keep the estate car-lite, and enable residents to get around easily by walking or cycling. The housing estate will have new parks and open spaces which feature walking trails that connect to the MRT stations. This will provide residents with easy access to transport nodes and new social and commercial facilities. The housing developments will also feature skyrise greenery and landscaped terraces to allow residents to live in an eco-friendly environment. As the site is quite close to the city centre, we will bring homes closer to jobs. This is part of our effort to move towards having more housing options and mixed-use development in our central region.
Nearby, we’ve also got plans to transform the former Pasir Panjang Power Station buildings into a distinctive and vibrant mixed-use district, characterised by its unique industrial heritage and waterfront.
Now, these developments are part of the longer-term transformation of the Greater Southern Waterfront into a new major gateway and location for urban living along the southern coast, for Singaporeans to live, work and enjoy.
Ecological Significance of Keppel Club Site
While the Keppel Club site is a brownfield site, it is actually close to several important nature areas, such as the Labrador Nature Reserve, Southern Ridges, and Berlayer Creek – which is an important coastal habitat.
Hence, we had conducted an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), to ensure that our development plans are sensitive to the surrounding terrestrial and coastal environments. The study covered around 77.8 hectares – comprising the development site as well as the surrounding environments.
We had also engaged nature groups in 2019 to help to scope the EIS, and we have shared with them the findings of the EIS, as well as our development plans recently. They have given us useful suggestions and feedback which we have taken on board, and we have refined our plans to minimise the impact to the environment.
We will publish the EIS report too, and we invite Singaporeans to share your thoughts and views with us, over the next four weeks.
Now let me broadly sketch what we have planned for now, although we will continue to refine these plans based on public feedback.
We have planned our developments at the Keppel Club site sensitively, to avoid any direct impact on the surrounding areas that are of high conservation value that the EIS had highlighted to us, with all development work confined within the brownfield site.
Our plans are based not just on our EIS and nature group engagements, but also on the findings of our broader EPE or Ecological Profiling Exercise. The EPE is an island-wide study that we have been conducting with experts and members from the nature community, to map out the ecological profile and connectivity of green spaces across Singapore.
The EPE showed that the Keppel Club site serves as an important ecological connection between the mature secondary forests along the Southern Ridges and Labrador Nature Reserve.
So to enhance this ecological connectivity, we will set aside close to 10 hectares of green spaces as parks and open land, within the Keppel Club site. This amounts to about 20% of the site area, or over 18 football fields.
These green spaces will form four green fingers through the estate, which will serve both as habitats and connecting pathways for flora and fauna to surrounding nature areas, and as recreational spaces for residents as well.
These new green spaces include the Central Corridor – a central green park running through the development, stretching from Telok Blangah Road in the north to Berlayer Creek in the south. Berlayer Corridor, which is a 30m wide extension along Berlayer Creek to protect the existing mangrove habitat, that is part of a new Berlayer Creek Nature Park. Henderson Corridor, which is a linear park along the new road at the eastern boundary of the Keppel Club site. And the Northern Corridor, which is a landscaped linear green along West Coast Highway and Telok Blangah Road to connect the three Corridors that I’ve just mentioned.
We have carefully configured these green spaces based on the EIS recommendations as well as feedback from our nature groups, and will fine-tune these alignments following the public consultation on the EIS report.
We will include lush greenery within the residential developments, and design the blocks to step down in height closer to the green corridors to be sensitive to the natural habitats there.
We will also engage specialists to develop an EMMP or Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan, to minimise and mitigate any environmental impact arising from the development works.
Launch of Labrador Nature Park Network
In fact, we have plans to comprehensively strengthen and enhance the greenery and ecological connectivity of the wider surrounding area, beyond the Keppel Club site.
We will establish a new Labrador Nature Park Network, which will comprise more than 200 hectares of green spaces, or almost 1.5 times the size of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Including core habitats such as the Labrador Nature Reserve and the mature secondary forests along the Southern Ridges, as well as the surrounding green spaces such as Labrador Nature Park, Berlayer Creek and Pasir Panjang Park. The green spaces that we will set aside at the Keppel Club site will also be part of this new Nature Park Network.
Our EPE findings have revealed important ecological connectors between the Southern Ridges and the Labrador Nature Reserve, across part of Alexandra through Keppel Club, and the forested area at Berlayer Creek.
We will strengthen these corridors through the Labrador Nature Park Network – northward from Pasir Panjang Park to Southern Ridges, and westward toward West Coast Park.
To do this, we will introduce several new green spaces, totalling more than 25 hectares. These include a new nature park along Alexandra Stream, a new extension of Pasir Panjang Park, a new Nature Park at Berlayer Creek, and a new park at King’s Dock. On top of the green spaces set aside at the Keppel Club site for people to enjoy.
We will also restore and enhance existing habitats at the Labrador Nature Reserve, including the coastal hill and coastal beach forest.
The new Labrador Nature Park Network will add close to 30 km of new nature trails, park connectors and Nature Ways for residents and visitors. This will provide a total of 40 km of such spaces for Singaporeans to explore in that area.
In all these efforts, we will work closely with the community to design and to plant up these green spaces. Because we all have a part to play, to transform Singapore into a City in Nature.
So that summarises our approach to development. When we need land to meet our development needs, we strive to make good use of brownfield sites first where possible. And even in doing so, we remain sensitive to surrounding natural areas, and are conscious of minimising the environmental impact should we need to develop greenfield sites. And we use a science-based approach, to identify and to enhance ecological connectivity throughout our city.
The development at the Keppel Club site and the wider Labrador Nature Park Network exemplifies this approach. Working with our community to weave nature into our urban fabric. Transforming Singapore into a City in Nature, where our people and our biodiversity can thrive side-by-side.
In the process, we can make the Greater Southern Waterfront an exciting and sustainable new area for Singaporeans.
My colleagues will now provide more technical details, and take any questions you may have. Thank you.