21 November 2013

Pulau Ubin and northern shores in the Draft Master Plan 2013

What's new to me is the "Northern boardwalk" at Pulau Ubin. Also that the area managed by "Outward Bound Singapore will be opened up for organised visits".
It was reassuring to read that the planners acknowledge Pulau Ubin is "much beloved by Singaporeans" and "will remain as a rustic retreat". Coney Island Park is announced and it appears that there are no changes planned for Pasir Ris mangroves and Changi beach.

The Draft Master Plan 2013 (DMP2013) guides Singapore’s development over the next 10 to 15 years. All Singapore's wild places are treated under Recreation. In a section on In touch with nature, under the heading "Enhancing Nature Areas for Biodiversity and Education", the DMP2013 highlighted Pulau Ubin:
Pulau Ubin, much beloved by Singaporeans, will remain as a rustic retreat. There are plans to enhance its value as a nature area by restoring habitats on land that had previously been cleared as a result of activities like agriculture and quarrying. With new initiatives such as the Northern Boardwalk, it is more comfortable for visitors to get around on the island. Pulau Ubin will become a more inviting classroom for kids and even adults to learn about nature and environmental sustainability.

and included this cartoon diagram.
At the Master Plan Exhibition at URA Centre, the same diagram had the people in it but not the brown trail of the boardwalk.
click on image for a larger view.
Under details for "Recreation in the North-east Region" in a segment headlined "Landmark Parks", plans for Pulau Ubin are outlined as follows:
Our Rustic Playground – Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin is today a much-treasured nature haven in Singapore, with mangroves and waterbodies set amidst lush forests. The island will continue to be kept as a rustic playground for Singaporeans, with carefully planned improvement works to create more opportunities for recreation and nature enjoyment.

This will allow for greater appreciation of the island’s natural attractions, while at the same time enhancing biodiversity and preserving the unique characteristics that make Ubin a key area of natural beauty. The area currently used by Outward Bound Singapore will be opened up for organised visits for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Also announced under "Bringing Nature Closer to Homes" is Coney Island Park
A new rustic park on Coney Island in Punggol will be completed by 2015, providing an enchanting back-to-nature haven away from the bustle of mainland Singapore. The park will be well integrated with the wider park connector network within the North-East, with easy access to the upcoming Round Island Route as well as the North Eastern Riverine Loop.

Under details for "Recreation in the East Region" there is mention of "New park connectors will also allow residents to walk or cycle between areas like Punggol and Pasir Ris Park, as well as beyond. Existing parks will also be refreshed, like Changi Beach Park, which now enjoys new pavilions, paths, shelters and playgrounds."

In the brochure for Pasir Ris, there is mention of "Enhancements at Sungei Api Api and Sungei Tampines under Active, Beautiful and Clean (ABC) Waters projects by PUB, including the landscaping of river banks, new  lookout decks, shelters and seating ; and a kayak launch pontoon on the east bank of Sungei Api Api.

In the brochure for Changi, it is mentioned that there will be a realigned Changi Coast Road to serve Changi and widening of Tanah Merah Coast Road
There appears to be no new plans for the existing Changi Beach Park.

Looking at the land use plan for Pulau Ubin in the map of the Draft Master Plan 2013.
Draft Master Plan 2013
Compared to the Master Plan 2008, we can see some portions changed from yellow (reserve land) to olive (open space) and grey (agricultural use). Also, in the Master Plan 2008 exhibition, some areas were designated as a "Marine Nature Spot". Chek Jawa was one of them. In the Draft Master Plan 2013, there were no such highlights of Marine Nature Spots. In the Draft Master Plan 2013 website, while Chek Jawa was not mentioned in the write up on Pulau Ubin, there were photos of people at Chek Jawa on the boardwalk and shores nearby.
Master Plan 2008
The Draft Master Plan Exhibition at URA Centre repeats the information on the website, but has awesome huge models of the Plans. Alas, I couldn't find out more about the plans for the 'Northern Boardwalk' because the model chopped P. Ubin off in the north.

This is the map using the Parks and Waterbodies 2013 overlay.
I can't track down the online version of the Parks and Waterbodies Plan in 2008 that used to be available on the URA website, but this is snapshot I took in 2008 of the Plan. In the Draft Master Plan 2013, the western part of Pulau Ubin now under Outward Bound Singapore management is also green. I'm not really sure what this means because I can't find more detailed text explanations of the Parks and Waterbodies Plan 2013.And let's compare the Draft Master Plan 2013:
Olive green=Open space, bright yellow=Reserve site
With the landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development released in Jan 2013 in response to the Populations White Paper with a 6.9 million population target:
Light green=Open space/recreation/agriculture
Pale yellow=Reserve site.
I'm not sure what the differences in the areas covered in green in Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong imply for our natural shores and ecosystems there.

These are the existing natural shores that may be impacted by the 'Reserve sites' of both the Draft Master Plan 2013 and the Land Use Plan following the Population White Paper.
click on image for larger view
In the North, the Land Use Plan following the Population White Paper include a road link (black line) from the mainland jumping off at Punggol, crossing to Pulau Ubin through Chek Jawa to jump off to Pulau Tekong before circling back to the mainland on Changi East. Proposed reclamation (in yellow) will bury Pasir Ris shores, Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa as well as a large amount of shore at Changi Beach. Additional reclamation at Tanah Merah is also in the proposal. Beting Bronok, a tiny patch reef and Pulau Unum, both off Pulau Tekong have been granted 'Nature Area' status. As I understand it, this status means the area "will be kept for as long as possible until required for development". Here's an earlier post about what 'Nature Area' status seems to mean.

What can one person do about this?

Speak up for what you love!
  • Join the Conversation: "Our Singapore Conversation on Green Spaces" 30 Nov (Sat):

    What are specifically the “green spaces” that the majority of people prefer? More of the usual manicured public parks? More nature parks with an emphasis on conserving wild greenery and its wildlife? More managed green areas for recreation like golf-courses, football? It is important that the term “green space” be clearly specified by the people so that national planning can proceed on the right track and be relevant to the people. In this session, we aim to gather people from a wide variety of sectors (professionals, heartlanders, students, sportsmen, etc.) to thrash out these issues.
Organised by the Nature Society (Singapore) and Young NTUC.
Date: 30 Nov (Sat)
Time: 2.30 – 5.30pm
Venue: NTUC Centre, No.1 Marina Boulevard, Level 8 Room 801, One Marina Boulevard
Moderator: Ms Faizah Jamal (Nominated MP)
More details on the Green Drinks blog
Don't take our shores for granted!

You can make a difference!
Simply explore, express and ACT!

Visit our shores before they are gone. Join nature activities at our wild places, like those listed on wildsingapore happenings. Share what you've seen. Volunteer for them.

Related posts
What can be found at the affected shores?
Here's more info, photos and stories about our trips to these shores.

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