Speech by Minister Lawrence Wong at the Launch of the Round Island Route Node at Rower’s Bay and Coast-to-Coast Trail

Mar 30, 2019 12:30

I am very happy to join you this morning for this event. Good to see so many of our Friends of the Park Connector Network, and residents around the area, all gathered together this morning. 

Park connectors are one of Singapore’s most precious assets. Singaporeans appreciate it very much, but visitors to Singapore don’t always know about park connectors. Whenever I have friends visiting Singapore, they typically will go for all the usual tourist attractions in the city centre itself, and then I will encourage them to visit our park connectors and our Park Connector Network. Very often when they do, they are pleasantly surprised at how much green space we have, the nature reserves that we have in Singapore, the biodiversity and how our city has developed harmoniously with nature.

We are continuing to make this Park Connector Network even better. And this morning, we are happy to launch two additions to our Park Connector Network.

First, we are officially launching our 36 km Coast-to-Coast Trail. This goes from Jurong Lake Gardens in the west to Coney Island Park in the northeast, and along the way, you can experience a whole range of nature areas – from Bukit Batok Nature Park, to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and finally ending up at Coney Island.

We have also for the first time launched a new mobile app, a Cost-to-Coast app, that you can download on your phones, and you can use this app to navigate along the Trail and learn more about our native flora and fauna. There is even a challenge that is going to be launched on the app later today, it is a 36-hour challenge. Within 36 hours, use the app to go through the Trail and collect all the necessary points along the way, and you stand to win some prizes. This is one way we can use technology to get young people more interested in our nature areas. That is our first addition to the Park Connector Network. 

Second, we are also launching this first node of the Round Island Route here at Rower’s Bay. This is the first phase of the Round Island Route and it starts with this very node here. It is something to be excited about because from next year onwards, you can literally cycle from here in Rower’s Bay all the way round the Round Island Route to Gardens by the Bay – so from bay to bay, 60 km long. That is one part of the Round Island Route which will be completed, 60 km of 150 km. The rest of it on the Western side will take a bit more time, but we will do so progressively, and try to complete the entire 150 km around the whole of Singapore. Rower’s Bay itself is already a popular location for water sports and family picnics, it is right along Lower Seletar Reservoir. NParks has enhanced it further as a key activity node. There are new boardwalks to bring visitors closer to the water’s edge, and you have additional amenities for the comfort and convenience of visitors, including shelters, vending machines, a toilet, and a bicycle repair shop. 

These two new additions will add something to our Park Connector Network. Our Park Connector Network has grown over the years. Today, we have over 300 km of park connectors, by 2030, we will add another 100 km, so we will have 400 km of Park Connector Network in 10 years’ time. If you think about the size of Singapore – just 700 square km, having 400 km of Park Connector Network is really no mean feat. 

Designing and developing these park connectors is a serious matter – we don’t just add park connectors in a random fashion, we do it in a way that is deliberate and systematic because the park connectors also serve as green corridors and ecological links to protect our natural diversity. 

Of course, having an island-wide green network also provides Singaporeans with many more leisure options. If you look at the entire network, there are three major networks that are forming. The Coast-to-Coast Trail which I mentioned we are officially launching. Then we have the North-South Rail Corridor, from Woodlands all the way down to Tanjong Pagar. That will be largely ready in two years’ time by 2021 – that is 24 km long. And then of course we have the Round Island Route that goes around Singapore. The first part of it, the Eastern part, from this bay to Gardens by the Bay – 60 km long, will be ready by 2020, and the rest of it, fully completed by 2035. Taken together, all of these developments will enable Singaporeans to experience and explore our beautiful island in new and exciting ways. 

In conclusion, even as we continue to remake and redevelop our city, we are determined to keep Singapore a beautiful and lush City in a Garden. With careful planning, hard work and innovation, we can continue to have many outdoor recreational options and green spaces for ourselves and for our future generations to enjoy.

On that note, please enjoy yourselves and have a very good weekend ahead.