25 May 2010

Woodlands Waterfront promenade - a new seashore park

What natural shores are near the newly opened Woodlands Waterfront promenade?
A project by the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority), the waterfront at Woodlands will eventually span the shore from the causeway eastwards.

I did visit the shore nearest the causeway in 2008, which was soft, silty and full of tiny anemones. There is a tiny mangrove area at Sungei Cina which flows into the sea at this area. When I visited a few months ago, there were monkeys foraging naturally in these mangroves. Unfortunately, there are already signs of extensive fishing even in this tiny mangrove.

Further inland, and eventually to be connected to the Waterfront promenade is Admiralty Park which has mangroves and freshwater habitats. Among the natural highlights of Admiralty Park are the hoya climbers in the mangroves, lovely stands of Nipah palm that are very easy to look at closely and of course, a troop of Long-tailed macaques that seem to be behaving naturally so far.

The park is located on former warehouse docks. The 400m jetty that served the area has been refurbished and is now one of the longest coastal jetties in Singapore. (Like our other jetties, this will probably eventually become crowded with recreational fishermen).

A warehouse shed has also been restored together with other historical reminders such as a pulley system and hoisting system used to lift goods from the water.

Phase 1 of the park features the jetty, an event plaza and a playground and fitness area which includes a two-storey Sky Walk, the first of its kind in Singapore. This is a self-contained ‘meshed bridge’ system, allowing people to crawl from one tree pod to another.
Phase 2 will feature, among other things, nature trails and a 700m promenade which overhangs the sea. It is scheduled for completion at the end of the year.

When fully completed, the entire Woodlands Waterfront will be a 1.5km long waterfront promenade, which includes a 9-hectare coastal park. It will also be linked to Admiralty Park and the park connector along Woodlands Centre Road and Admiralty Road West in future.

It's great to introduce more ordinary people to their coastlines. Indeed, besides providing much needed recreational space for residents in the area, the thinking behind the Park was to highlight the fact that "Singapore is an island, surrounded by water on all sides" and to allow residents "a good view of Johor Baru, our closest neighbour".

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