Opening Remarks by Minister Desmond Lee at the Launch of Lornie Nature Corridor

Nov 21, 2020

A very good morning to our friends from the media. I am glad to join all of you this morning to launch the Lornie Nature Corridor.

This corridor offers a rustic environment for Singaporeans to cycle and hike amidst a setting of nature. It will improve the experience along the Coast-to-Coast trail, which stretches from Jurong Lake Gardens, all the way to Coney Island Park. Residents around the area, as well as users of the trail can look forward to using the corridor as a green route between MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Adam Road. 

NParks has also planted a variety of native trees and plants to create a environment like a forest. The lush greenery will create a cooler and more comfortable experience for users. The corridor also will act as a complementary habitat and buffer to the adjacent Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR). It serves to protect the Reserve from the impact of urbanisation.

In addition, the Lornie Nature Corridor and Kheam Hock Nature Way will together form an ecological corridor linking the Central Catchment Nature Reserve to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It will allow our native biodiversity to move easily between these key habitats and help to strengthen their populations.

All these efforts are part of our commitment to transform Singapore into a City in Nature over the next decade. We are in the midst of intensifying greenery across our island, protecting our natural ecosystems, and weaving greenery into our urban spaces and infrastructure. These will help mitigate the effects of urbanisation and climate change, and provide Singaporeans with greater access to nature and create a more liveable environment.

Rewilding of landscapes

Many Singaporeans developed a deeper appreciation for our green spaces during the Circuit Breaker period. They sought respite from being cooped up at home through the calming effects of nature, and in the wide open spaces of our parks. Many also enjoyed the spontaneous wildflowers that emerged along our streetscapes. The school holidays have also just started, and I am quite sure that Singaporeans will be keen to explore different parts of Singapore, including our natural spaces and nature areas. 

I am happy to share that NParks will be rewilding selected landscapes across our island. We will allow vegetation to grow naturally at these sites to support ecological connectivity. The native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers will provide lush and beautiful greenery for our public to enjoy.

We will also selectively prune and remove undesirable plant species that are more prone to fire and storm risks. This approach allows us to manage our landscapes in a more sustainable manner that better supports biodiversity, while continuing to ensure public safety.

Over the next three years, we will see the progressive rewilding of some 32 stretches, including Nature Ways and along our roads. NParks will also be rewilding spaces within our parks and green areas. The Lornie Nature Corridor will form part of a 10-kilometre stretch that is undergoing rewilding, starting at Kheam Hock Road and stretching to Upper Thomson Road.

Partnering our community

The corridor is the result of reclaiming the area freed up by scaling down Lornie Road from seven lanes to four lanes. This was in turn made possible with the completion of the Lornie Highway. 

But the construction of the Lornie Highway also affected part of the Bukit Brown Cemetery. As many of you might remember, this brought to the fore tensions between development and conservation. We had to grapple with trade-offs between improving our transportation networks, providing amenities for Singaporeans, and conserving our heritage and biodiversity.

Yet, it was these very difficult issues that opened up conversations, and allowed us to deepen the partnership between the Government and civil society such as nature and heritage groups. Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, who will be joining us today, played a key role in leading engagements with stakeholders, and facilitating dialogues on how to move forward on the concerns raised. 

Agencies worked with heritage groups and community volunteers to document graves and artefacts, develop self-guided trails, and carry out restoration work on the iconic cast iron main gates of Bukit Brown Cemetery, among other commemorative efforts. 

These initiatives have strengthened Singaporeans’ awareness and appreciation for our social history, and the memories and rituals associated with the cemetery. I am heartened that there are ongoing conversations with the heritage groups to explore other means of showcasing Bukit Brown’s history and heritage, and to make it more accessible to Singaporeans.
We will continue this spirit of collaboration through our greening efforts at the Lornie Nature Corridor. NParks, LTA, URA and the community have worked closely together to transform Lornie Road into a new green link, for the benefit of Singaporeans and our natural ecosystems.

Since October this year, NParks has been partnering members of the community to plant trees at the Lornie Nature Corridor, as part of the One Million Trees Movement. 

I would like to thank all our partners who will be joining us today, from the Friends of the Parks communities, to members of nature groups such as the Nature Society (Singapore), and our other volunteers. Today, we will be planting another 150 trees along the Lornie Nature Corridor. With time and care, these trees will grow strong and tall, so that future generations of Singaporeans can continue to enjoy nature and its benefits.

Our tree planting efforts are a good example of how we can take action to become stewards of our nature and green up our urban spaces. We will continue to partner the community in our One Million Trees movement, and invite you to join us in Singapore’s greening journey.

Together, we will transform Singapore into a City in Nature. Thank you.