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Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Advisor for Yuhua Grassroots Organisations at the opening of J Link and launch of Clean & Green Singapore @ Yuhua 2014

  Published: 23 November 2014

Good morning friends, residents, ladies and gentlemen

I am very happy to be here this morning for the opening of J Link and the launch of Clean & Green Singapore @ Yuhua 2014.

Transformation of Jurong Lake District

Over the past decades, Jurong has transformed from swamplands in the 1960s to become Singapore’s leading industrial and business hub. Jurong is now the gateway to over 1 million residents in the west region, with over 3,000 companies calling it home in the International Business Park, Jurong and Tuas Industrial Estates. It is also home to several major tertiary institutions. A green lung surrounding Jurong Lake, where the scenic Chinese and Japanese Gardens sit, is a much appreciated feature for residents and visitors alike.

In 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) unveiled the blueprint to transform Jurong into the biggest regional centre outside our Central Business District. Since then, Jurong Gateway, where we now stand, is shaping up very nicely. Today, residents can enjoy many new amenities and opportunities for work closer to home are aplenty. When fully completed in 2016, the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital will be a major boost in healthcare facilities for residents. After the announcement by PM at his National Day Rally, a new Jurong Lake Gardens and Science Centre are being planned at Lakeside, just across Jurong Town Hall Road. Singaporeans can look forward to a unique destination for recreational activities, learning opportunities, community activities, or simply to unwind in the greenery surrounding the scenic Jurong Lake.

A vibrant district that is highly accessible, connected, walkable and cycling-friendly

Our vision for Jurong Lake District is one outstanding live-work-play district that is sustainable, smart and connected. We envision a people-centric district, bustling with activities, where people can find easy mobility while exploring all that it has to offer. We therefore placed strong emphasis in enhancing accessibility, connectivity, and walking and cycling-friendliness. Many residents have said that they would like to be able to walk, run, and cycle around. And we are going to slowly but surely make that into reality.

As such, developments around Jurong Gateway are not only seamlessly connected directly to Jurong East MRT station but also with one another via a comprehensive network of Level 2 walkways called J-Walk. J-Walk will be extended to future developments such as the two new hospitals. At Level 1, park connectors will form a green network between homes, activity nodes and recreational areas like Jurong Lake. A comprehensive network of cycling paths will be built to connect the District and its surrounding areas.

J Link: Boosting walkability, vibrancy, and celebrating Jurong

The latest addition to Jurong Gateway is where we are today. I am pleased to announce the opening of J Link, a new icon of Yuhua. J Link is an initiative by URA to improve walkability, connectivity and inject vibrancy in Jurong Gateway and its surrounding areas.

Previously, many of you have told me that it is not easy to walk from the MRT station to the shops at Street 13 Neighbourhood Centre, the Jurong Regional Library and to the Science Centre. The path was uneven, crowded and in some parts obstructed by goods stored at the side walk. Some parts of the walkway were also not sheltered.

Now J Link has given us a seamless connection between the Jurong East MRT station all the way to the Science Centre. The addition of this new 270-metre route means we can walk comfortably under a wider, unimpeded sheltered walkway and enjoy the many unique features. It also links the shops at the HDB Neighbourhood Centre with JCube and the Library.

J Link is more than a walkway. It is a public green space with a distinctive design where we can gather, meet, socialise, and hold family and community activities. This pavilion, named the Canopy because of its beautiful green roof, provides space for community events and activities. The green roof brings down the ambient temperature and provides a cooler environment for the users. We have earlier held two events here and received many compliments from participants on the Canopy. I am very sure many more events will be held here which will bring crowd and vibrancy to the centre of Jurong Gateway!

There are many other features at J Link that is worthy of special mention - a children’s playground for the family to enjoy; an art exhibition corner to display the art work of our residents; and a heritage corner for us to learn about Jurong. Many features of Jurong have been incorporated into the design of the heritage corner, such as the old bricks from the kilns in Jurong, film roll structure depicting the first and only drive-in cinema in Singapore. Do look out for these interesting details as you explore the corner.

Partnering the community for a people-centric district

J Link was a result of close partnership between the URA, NHB, HDB, and the local community such as the Jurong East Town Centre Merchant Association. The community came together, provided very valuable ideas and suggestions, and you can see that it has cumulated in a very beautiful public area.

We will continue to involve the local community and Singaporeans in our plans for Jurong Lake District, so that it will truly be a district by the people, for the people. Yuhua GROs will curate and showcase arts and crafts by the Jurong residents. We welcome anyone of you who would like to showcase your art pieces, please contact Jurong Town Council. By early next year, you can give NParks your ideas about what you wish Jurong Lake Gardens to be – this will be incorporated into the brief for the master plan design competition.

I hope everyone will enjoy visiting J Link, not just today but anytime you are at the centre, when you are on the way to the MRT, take a breather and come enjoy this facility that is really built for you.

Clean & Green Singapore @ Yuhua 2014

This morning, we are also launching the Clean & Green Singapore @ Yuhua 2014. Clean & Green Singapore aims to inspire Singaporeans to care for and protect our environment. By working with partners and local stakeholders, we hope to galvanise community driven efforts to keep our estates clean by instilling pride for our environment and promoting good social values and behaviours.

Before this event, some of us have been involved in a mass cleaning activity at Blocks 101 to 116 Jurong East Street 13. A “No Cleaners’ Day” was implemented by Jurong Town Council to encourage community ownership of public cleanliness, and for the public to better appreciate the efforts of our cleaners. We hope to draw awareness to the extent of littering in some areas and instil a sense of responsibility among residents.

During the mass cleaning, we noticed that the estate was actually not very clean. Just a day of “No Cleaners” gave us a very different picture from what we are used to. Areas in front of the blocks where residents walk by were surprisingly litter-free, which means that people who walk to the bus stops and MRT station generally do not litter.

But we found lots of rubbish of all kinds at the spaces behind the blocks, near the kitchens and rubbish chutes. We are not very proud of the behaviours of residents, and it shows that there is a lot more public education to be done. What was heartening though, is that we have residents at the blocks stepping forward offering their help. They are not leaving it to the grassroots leaders or town councillors. So we came together and cleaned up the place.

We found that the cleaners’ job is not easy. There were many corners where a lot of strength is needed to lift up the coverings, clean the gaps between the carparks and so on. So I think the mass cleaning has achieved a certain social objective, but we need to do more in more areas. Residents need to realise that the place is clean not because it was kept clean by residents, but because of the cleaners. We need to really do our part not to impose inconvenience to others. There are many behaviours we are not really aware about which cause inconvenience to others. I think it is through this process that we realise what we are doing has an impact on others. We hope that when we have more of such movements and initiatives, more residents will realise that social amenities really need everyone to play his or her part. It cannot be just the cleaners or town councillors’ job. It is everybody’s responsibility.

In recognition of the contribution of our cleaners for keeping the compounds clean, we will be giving out the Best Cleaners Award to 16 deserving cleaners. This Award, which is given out annually, aims to commend the cleaners for their good work and show our appreciation for their efforts in keeping our estates clean.

I would like to remind everybody again that keeping our estates clean is not just the duty of cleaners. All of us can play our part by not littering and cluttering the common areas with unwanted items. We can together build a cleaner and greener home for everyone. This is your home, your neighbourhood. We can build good infrastructure but it would not be a place as enjoyable if it is dirty and littered. Please help us, help yourselves and others to keep this place clean, so it is a clean, pleasant and hygienic place for our families to enjoy.

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