Opening Remarks by Minister Lawrence Wong at the Launch of Pasir Panjang Park Engagement

Jan 18, 2020 20:52


Good afternoon. I am very happy to join all of you this afternoon for the launch of our engagement session for the upcoming Pasir Panjang Park.

Pasir Panjang, as the name implies, used to be a long sandy beach. Over time, the whole area was redeveloped in order to support Singapore’s rapidly growing economy. We had the opening of Pasir Panjang Power Station in the early 1950s to cater to the growing demand for electricity. Subsequently, land was reclaimed in the 1970s to make way for Pasir Panjang container terminal that was needed to support the expansion of our container ports. 

In time to come, the container ports will be moved from Pasir Panjang to the mega terminal in Tuas. In the running to that, we will have a new opportunity to transform this whole area, as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront. The transformation is not just to have more new buildings – commercial and residential, high-rise apartments. It is not just about that. It is also about creating new public spaces for all Singaporeans to enjoy. 

We can and will add a lot more greenery and green spaces all over. That is why we are starting with this Pasir Panjang Park project. When it is completed, it will be part of a continuous green link stretching from West Coast Park in the west, all the way to Labrador Nature Reserve. All of that will be done in conjunction with the first few projects taking place in the Greater Southern Waterfront. These are projects largely around the Pasir Panjang-Labrador MRT area. We have the Pasir Panjang Power District, as well as the Keppel Club site which will be zoned for residential developments. All of the area will be the first few projects taking place and we are doing this in conjunction with this green belt – providing for green spaces linking all of the first few developments along the Greater Southern Waterfront. All of this can happen within the next five to ten years. 

Beyond that, we will explore different ways in which we can further enhance our green connectors. For example, with this Pasir Panjang linear park in place, we can look at establishing links upwards to the Southern Ridges, and connecting the Kent Ridge Park and HortPark down to this Pasir Panjang linear park in the south.

In the longer term, we can explore even more possibilities. When the entire area of the Greater Southern Waterfront is open for development, we can explore a seamless green promenade linking Gardens by the Bay along the waterfront, all the way through Pasir Panjang Park, to West Coast Park. It will truly be a green belt along the waterfront for all to enjoy. 

This is our high-level master plan. It is an exciting plan, and we are very excited by the possibilities. But how do we go about implementing it? That is why last year, we said that in the process of implementing our parks, we want to get more Singaporeans involved, as part of our Singapore Together movement – where we engage and involve Singaporeans in shaping our city and building our nation, including implementing our parks. We want you to have a greater say in the way we design and implement these green spaces by bringing you on board early. Once we decide on the location, we will engage the community and stakeholders to come together to discuss what the park will look like, and the features that should be implemented. Thereafter, you can also be involved in the actual implementation of the park. Those of you with diverse skills can contribute your skills in areas like mural painting, landscape and more. 

That is a new programme which we announced, and we have planned for more than 50 such citizen parks over the next five years. Pasir Panjang Park will be the first to be launched under this citizen park programme. 

We have invited a wide range of different stakeholders to walk this journey with us. We have our residents who live nearby, and business owners and our corporate partners who work nearby. Please let us know how the parks can best serve your needs. 

We also have members of the nature and heritage communities whom we work closely with on greening and many conservation projects. All of you would have much to share on the natural and maritime history of Pasir Panjang Park.

We have representatives of the St Andrew’s Nursing Home and Active Global caregivers – you can help us conceptualise a park that brings joy to our seniors. We also have our government partners and many other steadfast volunteers who have been working with NParks for many years. We welcome all of you to this first workshop, and we look forward to the wide range of perspectives and views that you will bring to our discussions.  

All of us have an important mission today. We will be talking about our vision of Pasir Panjang Park and what it will mean to us. We will be discussing what we want to see in the park, and how we can incorporate the history of the area into its facilities.

Our stakeholders have diverse interests. Some of you may like to have more children play areas, while others might want to see senior-friendly facilities. Some of you would like to plant certain types of plants, while others would say less plants, but more of something else. This is the nature of engagement, and it can be a little messy. It would be far easier to let NParks do everything, but that should not be the case. We want to involve and engage you. However, please understand that involving different stakeholders can be a messy process. It requires you to listen to others. You may feel very strongly about particular ideas. Not everything can be accommodated – we will try very hard to do so, but it may not be possible. It requires us to learn how to negotiate, to have constructive discussions with one another, to listen to each other carefully, and try to give and take. All of this is part of a healthy discourse that we need in an active democracy of deeds. All of you are our first participants in this workshop. 

We are excited and look forward to seeing how this goes, because this is our first time doing this. Eventually, we will learn and replicate this for our other citizen parks. The workshop is just a first step. There are many other rounds of engagement that we will be doing. After today’s workshop, we will make sure that we get the ideas, incorporate them, test out the design before we finalise and implement it. 

Even in the implementation phase, you can be involved. You can work with NParks on landscape planting, signage design, even habitat enhancement for our native wildlife and biodiversity.

When the park is completed, you can join our Friends of the Park programme. You can help to organise activities like gardening and guided walks, and events. From start to finish, and even beyond, you can be intimately involved in the park. I hope this can engender a sense of ownership – that this is your park, you have a say in designing it and making it something that everyone can be proud of.

Finally, let me take this opportunity now to thank everyone gathered here today. Thanks to our generous partner, PSA Corporation Limited. The first phase of this project was made possible in part through PSA’s donation to the Garden City Fund. We will also be repurposing certain maritime artefacts contributed by PSA, to be featured in the new park. That is one way we can capture some of the heritage of the area in the park itself.

I look forward to seeing how Pasir Panjang Park shapes up through your contributions and active involvement. Beyond that, we look forward to the continuation of this partnership with all of you in building our future Singapore.

I believe that if we work together and build together, we can achieve so much more together. I think this is a good way to start off the new year and decade as well – and beyond the new year, the Lunar New Year is coming. This year happens to be the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac. The rat is said to be the first animal in the Chinese zodiac, and it symbolises good beginnings. It is appropriate and fitting that we are all gathered here early in the year to design and begin our first citizen park. 

Thank you very much for your contributions, and please enjoy the rest of the day.