Speech by Minister Desmond Lee at the Opening of New Section of Pasir Panjang Park
Sep 16, 2023
A very good morning to everyone. I am delighted to join you at the opening of this section of Pasir Panjang Park today.
Opening of New Section of Pasir Panjang Park
Two years ago, we opened the first 450m stretch of the park, starting near the Jalan Pelepah residential estate. Today, we have added a new 2.2km section stretching from Pasir Panjang Food Centre to West Coast Park.
This gives Singaporeans a 17km route to explore, starting from Labrador Nature Park in the south, through Pasir Panjang Park to West Coast Park, then further west to Jurong Lake Gardens, and all the way to Jurong Central Park.
Visitors can look forward to many exciting features in this new section of the park.
Behind us are two of the three 20-feet shipping containers that have been generously donated by PSA Singapore (PSA) through NParks’ registered charity, the Garden City Fund, and repurposed into park shelters.
To pay homage to the role of maritime trade in the growth of Singapore, these shelters will house a ship telegraph and anchor donated by the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), as well as an old cannon that is on loan from the National Heritage Board (NHB). The cannon was previously displayed in the old Pasir Panjang Park and is now part of Singapore’s National Collection.
In addition, these shelters are adorned by beautiful murals. Earlier, I had the pleasure of seeing up close a mural by renowned Argentinian street artist, Martin Ron, on one of the shelters. PSA’s global footprint includes projects in South America and these murals were borne out of a collaboration between PSA and the Embassy of Argentina in Singapore.
I would like to thank MPA, NHB, PSA and the Embassy of Argentina for your support.
Friends of the Parks and Community Stewardship of Nature
The community has played a significant role in bringing Pasir Panjang Park to life.
In fact, Pasir Panjang Park is the first park to be created in partnership with the community under the Friends of the Parks initiative, which we launched seven years ago in 2016.
Our Friends of Pasir Panjang Park community has been involved from the onset, in conceptualising the park, and designing the park features including the landscaping.
Now that sections of the park are open, they are also involved in the programming and upkeep of this beautiful green space.
I am very encouraged to see so many members of the community here with us today, including residents from West Coast.
When we designed the first section of the park, around 170 members of the community came forward with many interesting and meaningful suggestions on what they hoped to see at Pasir Panjang Park. These have been incorporated into the design of the park, such as the elements to reflect the park’s coastal origins.
Like other sections of the park, the community has also played an important role in shaping the design of this new section.
For example, one popular suggestion was to feature personal anecdotes from people living and working in the area.
Back in 2021, I met with Mdm Christina Chow at the opening of the first section and saw her photo collection of her childhood times in the old Pasir Panjang Park. I am glad that you can now find some of these old photos in the shelter’s heritage showcase. One of the photos shows Christina as a child, posing atop the very same cannon that is featured as part of the maritime heritage display.
I am pleased to know that Christina is here with us today, and look forward to meeting her again later.
Beyond Pasir Panjang Park, we have Friends of the Parks communities all around Singapore, such as Clementi Woods Park, Raffles Place Park, and Villa Verde Park.
NParks will continue to work with the community to develop and enhance our green spaces for all to enjoy.
Future Park Enhancement Plans
On this note, I am pleased to share that NParks will start engaging the community this month on how we can enhance HortPark, Labrador Nature Park and West Coast Park into Destination Parks.
Today, we have three Destination Parks – Admiralty Park, East Coast Park and Lakeside Garden at Jurong Lake Gardens. Our Destination Parks have been very popular with Singaporeans. Destination Parks feature thematic identities and recreational elements not usually found in public parks.
For example, East Coast Park brings together recreation and community offerings amidst a beach environment, while Lakeside Garden sets forth a collection of naturalistic gardens including the largest children’s playground amidst nature. Admiralty Park also features our largest collection of slides.
East Coast Park and Lakeside Garden were the two most visited green spaces in Singapore, while the annual visitorship of Admiralty Park has doubled from 150,000 to 300,000 following the completion of its redevelopment in 2017.
As we plan for the Greater Southern Waterfront to create a new major gateway for urban living along Singapore’s southern coast, these three planned Destination Parks will complement the many exciting transformations taking shape in this area.
I would like to invite all of you to share your thoughts and ideas generously at the engagement sessions coming up.
I am also happy to announce that the three planned Destination Parks, as well as Pasir Panjang Park, will be connected through specially curated trails connecting 13 parks in the south, from Clementi Woods Park to Mount Faber Park.
You will be able to enjoy a wider variety of nature and leisure experiences along the Southern Ridges and west coast, ranging from active play to tranquil nature-based interactions, as well as greater access to recreational features set amidst nature.
The rejuvenation of these green spaces will also add to the Labrador Nature Park Network, which comprises more than 200 hectares of green spaces and has close to 30km of new nature trails, park connectors and nature ways.
The enhanced Labrador Nature Park will be a key node in the Labrador Nature Park Network. We will be introducing ecological corridors to help link core habitats, such as the Labrador Nature Reserve, within the network.
To conclude, I would like to thank NParks colleagues and our partners, who have worked so hard to make this new section of the park a reality.
And in fact, as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront, you see today that we have brought in the shipping containers, important markers such as the cannon and anchor from the history of the old Pasir Panjang Park and maritime history of this area, back into this park.
As we we master plan and dream up the future of the Greater Southern Waterfront, as the port relocates from Tanjong Pagar to Tuas Mega Port, we will need to make sure that even as we future plan this area to provide housing, commercial spaces and recreation for a whole new generation of Singaporeans, we want to make sure that this forward planning also sensitively and appropriately marks the history and heritage of PSA, our shipping history, and what it means to Singaporeans.
Today is a significant day, as we commemorate 60 years of greening Singapore, as well as the 100th anniversary of the birth of our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew – and I am glad that many of you joined us here to plant trees today.
Let’s continue to work together to transform Singapore into a City in Nature, and create a green, liveable and sustainable home for everyone.
Thank you very much.