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Speech by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Advisor to Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisations (Taman Jurong Division) and Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC, at the 3rd wave of Project Blue Wave at Jurong Lake

  Published: 19 October 2014

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Communications and Information, and Advisor to West Coast GRC GROs (Boon Lay Division)

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of State for National Development and Advisor to Jurong GRC GROs (Jurong Spring Division)

Mr Ang Wei Neng, Advisor to Jurong GRC GROs (Jurong Central Division)

Mr Ang Hak Seng, BBM, PA Chief Executive Director

Grassroot Leaders, Residents and Friends of Jurong

A very good morning to everyone and welcome to a morning of meaningful and fun activities at Jurong Lake.

Promoting a clean and blue water landscape: Project Blue Wave

Thank you for coming down for today’s clean-up activity. It is really heartening to see everyone here, giving your time and effort to make Jurong Lake and Gardens a place for everyone to enjoy. I see many happy and enthusiastic faces around, and I am sure you have learnt more about the impact of littering on the lives of marine animals through the story of “Bobby”.  This signature event of Project Blue WaVe, a year-long movement organised by the People’s Association (PA) Water-Venture, reminds us all to take ownership of our environment. 

The litter around us does not just affect our immediate surroundings, but has a major impact downstream – on our water bodies and their biodiversity. I want to thank Mr Desmond Lee, the People’s Association (PA) Water-Venture, the Water-Venture Committee (Jurong Lake), and the various divisions in Jurong GRC and Boon Lay for organising this event.

I am glad too that we have set up a Water-Venture Committee (Jurong Lake), led by the Citizen’s Consultative Committee (CCCs), comprising grassroots volunteers from the different Grassroots Organisations in Jurong GRC and Yuhua SMC, to help bring residents together through ground-up, eco-themed activities and educational programmes. There are many youths and families with your children here today – this is a very encouraging signal.  For the students who are here, don’t be surprised if one day, Bobby visits your school with the Water-Venture Committee. Take the chance to share what you have seen and learnt for yourself, with your friends and school mates.

Jurong Lake Gardens: Creating a unique leisure destination for Singaporeans

In his National Day Rally this year, our Prime Minister announced plans for the development of Jurong Lake Gardens and the longer-term possibilities around the lake. The Jurong Lake Gardens would consist of a revitalised Jurong Lake Park and the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, as well as the new Science Centre. The idea is to create an endearing place that offers Singaporeans from all walks of life access to the best green spaces. PM also described the long-term ideas we have for the areas surrounding the lake, including integration of our park connectors and ABC waters programme, and new transport networks.

It is a fresh vision for an area that has undergone a few transformations in the past. Jurong started out as swamplands. Dr Goh Keng Swee had the vision to make it not only our foremost industrial estate with jobs for many Singaporeans, but a place for recreation. A 28-hectare public park in the lake, comprising the Chinese Gardens and Japanese Gardens, was developed to bring nature close to the residents and workers in the area.

Since the 2008 Master Plan, we have developed commercial and residential spaces at Jurong Gateway. Now, we are in a new phase of this transformation that will change the image of Jurong. Jurong Lake Gardens and its surroundings will bring a new face to our Jurong heartlands.

The Jurong Lake Gardens is bigger than Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. We will develop it into a series of outstanding gardens and a place for families, singles, and friends within the community to relax or to pursue their interests, from bird-watching to kayaking, in a setting rich with nature. We will enhance the habitats for native flora and fauna. 

Jurong Lake is a place close to the hearts of Jurong residents. Many of you come here regularly to jog, cycle or simply take a stroll around the lake to unwind. However, while it is a serene place with its own special character, both the Lake and the Gardens can be much better used, both by Jurong residents and Singaporeans looking for a new and unique place for recreation.

The challenge therefore is to ensure that we retain its natural feel and sense of heritage, but inject life and enable many more Singaporeans to enjoy the place. It must be a ‘people’s garden’, as PM said, filled with activities, and where the spirit of community gardening comes alive. A people’s garden in the lake, for Singaporeans of all ages. 

The new Science Centre will also be built at the eastern bank of the lake, next to Chinese Garden MRT station and be integrated as part of the Jurong Lake Gardens. The combination of the Science Centre and the new Gardens offers many possibilities – for learning, development of sustainable technologies and horticulture.

Early next year, NParks will be inviting the public to give ideas which will be incorporated into the brief for the masterplan design competition for Jurong Lake Gardens. Some of you have already written in to give us your ideas. I encourage you to share your thoughts and contributions so that we can help shape what the Gardens will become together.

On top of plans to transform Jurong Lake into a unique leisure destination in the west, Jurong Gateway, our commercial heart in the west, is shaping up well with facilities to benefit residents, visitors and businesses. These include the two new hospitals (Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital), offices, shopping malls, as well as entertainment and F&B outlets.

In the longer term, residents in Jurong Lake District can look forward to better connectivity with a new integrated transport hub at the Jurong East MRT station,  upgraded North-South and East-West MRT lines, and two new MRT lines (Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line). LTA is also undertaking further road widening projects to relieve congestion in the Jurong Gateway area. 

On top of these enhancements, we are also studying how we can further improve the entire Jurong Lake District and its surrounding areas.

One idea is to integrate the Pandan Reservoir area south of the AYE with Jurong Lake District to form a larger and more cohesive area. We could create new housing options for Singaporeans, near the waterfront and beautiful parks.

We will also study how to accessibility between Jurong Lake District and surrounding residential and business nodes. For instance, we could make cycling a choice mode, with more dedicated cycling paths and park connectors, linking up Jurong and areas such as Pandan and Teban Gardens estates, Tengah New Town, Clean Tech Park, NTU and Bulim and Tengah industrial estates. This will reduce the need to drive within the west region and help promote a healthier lifestyle.

There is even a possibility that the future Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail terminus could be sited in Jurong. The final choice of location is being studied, and if it should be in Jurong, it will become a new gateway to Singapore and potentially our second CBD.

Steering Committee set up to drive Jurong Lake District’s development

These are ambitious plans involving many agencies and requiring close partnership with the private sector and community. The Government has thus formed a dedicated Steering Committee to drive and coordinate the plans and development of Jurong Lake District, including the Jurong Lake Gardens, and the surrounding areas. PM has asked Minister Lawrence Wong to chair this committee, which comprises members from the public and private sectors as well as the community. They will look at all the options, and gather ideas and feedback before the plans are finalised.

The new Jurong Lake Gardens will not be developed in a rush. We will take care that it retains its special character. It will be completed in phases over several years. It will start with the completion of Jurong Lake Destination Park on the western shore of the lake in 2017.

Conclusion

I am confident that under Minister Lawrence Wong’s leadership, the Steering Committee will provide a new dimension in Jurong’s transformation. Jurong started off as Singapore’s first industrial estate about 50 years ago. Today, it is becoming the biggest commercial and regional centre outside the city that will be complemented with unique leisure opportunities for Singaporeans of all ages.
 
Once again, I thank everyone for being here today and look forward to many more of such opportunities where we come together, to build a better home together.

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