Wednesday 20 August 2014

NDR 2014: Jurong Lake District

First phase of Jurong Lake Gardens to be ready by 2017: Khaw
The Jurong Lake Gardens will retain the heritage elements of the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden, but these will be refreshed as part of the overall development, says National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
By Sharon See, Channel NewsAsia, 18 Aug 2014

Residents in the city-state, particularly in Jurong, can look forward to enjoying the 70-hectare Jurong Lake Gardens "as early as 2017", said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blogpost on Monday (Aug 18).

He wrote that heritage elements at the Chinese and Japanese Gardens will be retained, but refreshed as part of Jurong Lake Gardens. The Gardens will be developed in phases, with Jurong Lake Park being the first to be completed in 2017, and implementation plans will dovetail with the greater plans for Jurong Lake District.

Mr Khaw also called on the public to share their ideas with NParks on how it can develop the area. NParks will invite ideas from planning and landscape design professionals and the local community next year for the development of the Gardens, he said.

The Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden were both built in the 1970s, and visitors comprise residents in surrounding neighbourhoods and the occasional tourist. Dr Harvey Neo of the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Geography department said he believes redevelopment would elevate the gardens' standing and create greater national interest in them.

"We're talking about a fairly radical imagination of the gardens, so I won't be surprised if (the gardens) look completely different. But that's almost inevitable because we're really trying to create new space, we're trying to incorporate new ideas," he said. And while he does not feel that the Japanese Garden had any iconic features, Prof Neo said the Chinese Garden's pagoda deserved to be retained. Still, "if they do not want to retain that, I think it's understandable as well because we're really talking about a major shift in how we use the space there," he said.


Mr Khaw also reiterated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech, which highlighted the new Science Centre as the "jewel" in Jurong when completed around 2020. The new Centre will be located at the eastern bank of Jurong Lake, next to the Chinese Garden MRT station.

"We will make it fun, educational and spectacular, in keeping with changing times and our achievements over the decades. Its location will enable NParks to integrate the future Science Centre with the new Gardens, combining themes such as science, technology and horticulture in a uniquely Singaporean way," Mr Khaw wrote.

Dr Neo said the site of the future Science Centre next to Jurong Lake presents new opportunities. "I hope they will make full use of the location and think of educational activities that involve the lake," he said. "The sky's the limit here. They can really push the boundaries of scientific learning. This is a unique opportunity for them to think big about the kinds of experiences we want to give to the visitors.


The Ministry of National Development (MND) also provided more details on developing the Jurong Gateway, as indicated by Mr Lee.

One idea being considered is to realign the stretch of the AYE from Yuan Ching Road to Jurong Town Hall Road to free up land south of Jurong Lake for residential development, and to integrate the Pandan Reservoir area with the district to form a larger and more cohesive development area, it said.

"Environmental improvements can be made to the surrounding parks and water bodies such as Jurong River, Pandan River, Pandan Reservoir and Teban Gardens to create an attractive waterfront residential district with good quality living environment amidst lush greenery, similar to those found in Punggol and around Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park," MND said.

But Dr Neo urged caution when it comes to moving the AYE southwards, saying it should be studied further. "Of all the initiatives that were announced, that strikes me as a little bit hard to understand because I cannot see its relative advantage. I don't know how much southwards they want to move," he said. "I assume it is to free up a certain amount of space, so that the entire area can be bigger and development can be more seamless but this freeing up of extra space has to be weighed against the extra cost and the inconvenience."

The cost of the endeavour is hard to estimate without knowing what the freed-up land would be used for, he noted, pointing out that shifting entire expressways is not common abroad due to high costs. "I'm very sceptical. It was mentioned that (the land) will be used for housing in the plan, but how much extra housing are we talking about here? The details are not (furnished) yet."


Mr Khaw added in his blogpost that there are many other "exciting plans" in store for Jurong, including major improvements to the transportation networks. "All these will take years to realise. We shall stage the implementation," the minister said.

For instance, as part of the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) Land Transport Master Plan 2013, the current East-West and North-South MRT lines serving the region are currently being upgraded. Two new lines - the Cross-Island Line and Jurong Region Line - are expected to be completed by around 2030 and 2025, respectively, MND stated.

It added that agencies will explore building more dedicated cycling paths and park connectors to strengthen connectivity and accessibility between Jurong Lake District and the surrounding residential and business nodes such as Pandan and Teban gardens estates, Tengah New Town, JTC’s proposed integrated R&D and industrial township centred around Clean Tech Park, NTU, and Bulim and Tengah industrial estates.

"This will reduce the need to drive within the district and help promote a healthier lifestyle," MND said.

As for plans to site the future Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail terminus in Jurong East, MND said the Government is currently studying possible locations. These plans will undergo detailed planning and technical studies and will be progressively implemented in the next 20 to 30 years, it added.


Once the Jurong Lake District development is complete, property experts believe there will be high demand for houses near the lake or coastal area, and they expect authorities to continue focusing on infrastructure development in Jurong.

Professor Sing Tien Foo of NUS' Department of Real Estate noted that the the plans for the Cross Island and Jurong Regional lines go hand in hand with the land use plan. "You cannot wait for the area to be developed then you put in all the infrastructure and roads. So some of these developments may have to take place earlier to support the future expansion of the area and land use intensification of the area," he said. "With more businesses and residents moving into the area, I think the demand for infrastructure capacity is also expected to increase. Early planning will actually minimise some of these interruptions in the long term and also allow for smoother transition into more integrated land use."

Jurong makeover 'will breathe new life into estate'
Residents cheer plans, but are disappointed over delay of hospital opening
By Danson Cheong, Lester Hio And Tjoa Shze Hui, The Straits Times, 19 Aug 2014

LAKE gardens in the heartland, a new science centre and maybe even Singapore's first high-speed rail station.

Jurong, the gritty industrial hub of the country, is transforming into a jewel in the west, and residents and workers in the area are cheering the prospect.

Almost all 24 Jurong residents and business owners The Straits Times spoke to said the changes would breathe new life into an old estate, though a few expressed disappointment that a planned hospital will open six months later than originally scheduled.

That aside, new plans for the Jurong Lake District include a new Science Centre, a possible terminus for the Singapore-Malaysia high-speed rail network, and an expanded park that will combine the decades-old Chinese and Japanese gardens, and the Jurong Lake Park, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday in his National Day Rally speech.

Taxi driver Patrick Ong, 54, told The Straits Times yesterday: "The upgrade will be good, it will give Jurong a younger feel."

Together, the Jurong East and Jurong West Housing Board estates are home to 358,000 residents. The Jurong constituency spans more than 12 sq km.

One retiree, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Cheong, is looking forward to the new 70ha Jurong Lake Gardens. "The gardens are a national treasure and so beautiful, but so few people come here. It's such a waste," said the 62-year-old.

The new gardens will be completed by 2017, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in his blog yesterday.

Long-time fans of the Science Centre were also excited to find out it will have a new home, on the north of the lake just beside the Chinese Garden MRT station.

Madam Prabavathi Natarajan, 34, started taking her son to the science centre when he was still in a stroller. Now he is six and "knows about motors, electromagnets and things like that", said the housewife, who lives in Jurong Town Hall Road.

She plans to take him and her older son to the new centre even more often.

Over the years, 29.5 million students have visited the Science Centre, which was built in 1977.

The new centre, the "jewel" of the district, said Mr Lee, will be integrated with the lake gardens.

Others were happy that there might soon be one more way to travel to Malaysia. The terminus of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail link - slated to be completed by 2020 - may be located in Jurong.

It would make life easier for people like Malaysian Sha Chia. The 38-year-old retail associate, who lives in Johor Baru, takes a bus to Woodlands and then the MRT to get to work at a Jurong shopping mall.

"If there is a train, it will be very convenient for me," he said.

Businesses said they were looking forward to increased traffic.

"The new developments will only make the area more exciting," said Mr Tan Jian Da, 26, a deputy assistant outlet manager at Sync restaurant in Westgate mall.

On another note, three of the 24 interviewed were disappointed that the new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will not be ready this year, because of a shortage of manpower and delay in getting construction parts from Thailand.

"When my son had food poisoning a year ago, we had to rush him to the National University Hospital (in Kent Ridge)," said Mr Lim Swee King, who lives at the Park Vista condominium in Lakeside.

And there were those worried they would be left behind as Jurong modernises and moves ahead.

Mr Tay Lye Whad, 60, who has been running the Bao Sheng Minimart in Jurong Street 13 for more than 30 years, said business has been flagging for more than a decade. "Nowadays people stop and shop at the shopping malls like Jem," he said. "It's hard for shops like us to stay open."

The shops beside his store are shuttered and empty.

"Business was so much better last time. The Government should do something to help old businesses like mine," he said.

Wanted: Big ideas for new Science Centre
By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 19 Aug 2014

IF YOU have big dreams for the new Science Centre, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat wants to know about them.

He will be setting up a committee to "re-imagine and develop" the new centre, and is encouraging the public to contribute ideas.

"If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them," he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

The Science Centre, he observed, is "a good place where many generations of Singaporeans have been able to imagine, experience, discover and dream".

Speaking about the make-up of the committee, he added: "I hope to have a diverse group of talented and passionate people on the committee."

These include educators, researchers, industry practitioners and people "with a deep sense of wonder and love to share this".

On Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally speech that a new Science Centre will be built on the north shore of Jurong Lake.

It will be part of the expanded Jurong Lake Gardens, which will combine the existing Chinese and Japanese gardens and Jurong Lake Park.

Science Centre Singapore chief executive Lim Tit Meng said yesterday: "We will take this opportunity to see how the Science Centre can leverage themes such as science, technology and horticulture to integrate with the surrounding environment at the new site."

In the meantime, he added, the centre will continue to "regularly review and refresh" its exhibits.

For instance, it is planning new attractions such as a digital planetarium and a virtual aquarium.

It also launched a new children's science centre in June, which has more than 6,000 members so far.

Business-leisure hub plans will boost home prices: Experts
By Rennie Whang, The Straits Times, 19 Aug 2014

AMBITIOUS new plans to make Jurong a business and leisure centre will likely boost home prices, property consultants told The Straits Times yesterday.

Optimism about the area was lifted with the Sunday announcement that a new Jurong Lake Gardens will be developed in conjunction with other projects already under way nearby.

A Science Centre will also be built and there is also a possibility that the terminal for the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail will be in Jurong.

The new plans underscore Jurong's development as the largest commercial hub outside the Central Business District (CBD), which has been going on apace for some years.

"It's going to be an all-encompassing township where a person can work for a multinational corporation two MRT stations from his doorstep, get home in less than 10 minutes and enjoy the leisure lifestyle by the lake," said PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor.

Housing Board flats in the area may command a premium of about 20 per cent once plans for the district materialise, he added.

That is similar to the premium paid in estates like Bishan with its major park and schools, and Queenstown, which is close to the CBD.

Jurong rents could be pushed up by about 20 per cent over the next three years, partly because the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is due to open in the middle of next year. That, in turn, should boost housing values.

Lakeside, which along with Jurong Gateway forms the Jurong Lake District, has become a "significantly private residential" area, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Most of the newly completed 99-year leasehold condominiums are priced about $1,000 per sq ft (psf), with more recent launches like Lakeville in May at about $1,300 psf.

But the key game-changer is the possibility of the rail terminal.

"This would put it above other regional centres in Singapore. Tampines is near the airport, but that's not as direct as having a terminus regionally linking a capital city to another," said Dr Chua Yang Liang, Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia.

Singapore Business Federation chief operating officer Victor Tay added: "The longer-term prospect that the rail will cut across more than 10 Asean countries, linking to Guangxi in China, presents immense trade potential for businesses.

"Many will look to Jurong as a strategic gateway to Asean and China."

Jurong Lake area to be new draw for developers
Leisure elements, potential high-speed rail terminus to boost area's value
By Kalpana Rashiwala, The Business Times, 19 Aug 2014

Developers are expected to take a keener interest in future state land tenders in Jurong Lake District - whether for residential, commercial or hotel projects.

The buzz created from efforts for greenery attractions in the area is expected to give a fillip to home values there.

Attention will be heightened further if a decision is made to house the future Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail terminus in Jurong Gateway, said property consultants yesterday. They were giving their views on plans announced on Sunday night by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to liven up Jurong Lake District.

"Going forward, the plans to realign Ayer Rajah Expressway, convert some of the old industrial estates to waterfront housing, etc, could greatly enhance the liveability of Jurong as it enjoys an image overhaul, thanks to all the leisure elements that the government will put in place," said Christine Li, research head at OrangeTee.

"Existing property owners can look forward to one of the most liveable housing estates in Singapore outside the central and fringe areas," she added.

CBRE' Singapore research head Desmond Sim too thought the changes will "remove the stigma of an industrial township that Jurong was originally planned for".

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan blogged yesterday: "Since 2008, Jurong has made steady progress to be our largest regional centre, outside of the city."

Jurong Lake Gardens, spanning over 70 hectares, will integrate the revitalised Jurong Lake Park (to be completed by 2017), as well as the Chinese and Japanese Gardens which are set to be spruced up, and not forgetting the new Science Centre, which will emerge next to the Chinese Garden MRT Station around 2020.

Giving her take on the announcements on residential property values, DTZ's regional head (SEA) research, Lee Lay Keng, said: "Even though the overall conditions in the residential property market remain tepid, the buzz created could provide a minor boost to existing projects and help support prices and transaction volumes in the area."

"In the longer term, the development of Jurong Lake Gardens will enhance the living environment for residents, similar to the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and increase interest in the area," she added.

The plans are expected to fuel developers' interest in a 99-year private housing site just above Jurong Lake - between The Lakeshore and Lakeville condos - that will be launched in December through the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales Programme. Said CBRE's Mr Sim: "While the number of bids is expected to be prices are expected to be dampened by current market sentiment and confidence."

Ms Li of OrangeTee expects development sites for residential, commercial as well as integrated uses (eg office, retail and residential elements) to whet developers' appetite - if they are released over the next year or two. "Hotel sites are also likely to be released once the terminus of the high-speed rail is confirmed," she added.

Mr Sim added that should the terminus be located in Jurong Gateway, it could further boost the currently nascent office market in the area, he added. "The inclusion of the high-speed rail terminus will be the final jigsaw piece to cement Jurong Regional Centre as a unique lakeside destination for business and leisure."

JLL's head of research, SE Asia, Chua Yang Liang, said the realignment of the AYE will generate the opportunity to develop "more lakefront homes for the masses". "Beyond the current slowdown in the residential market, the opportunity would be much sought after by developers in future...We can expect the regenerative efforts by the state to be capitalised into higher real estate values in the long term."

Jurong Lake Gardens will be developed sensitively

WE THANK Madam Chan Ching Wei ("Don't turn Jurong Lake Gardens into tourist playground"; Aug 22), Mr Lee Ju Guang ("Maintain tranquillity of Chinese and Japanese gardens"; Forum Online, Wednesday) and Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip ("Tourists needed to fund Jurong revamp"; Forum Online, Wednesday) for their feedback on the plans for the future Jurong Lake Gardens that were announced recently.

Jurong Lake Gardens, which will comprise Jurong Lake Park, the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden, will be developed as a garden for the people. The grounds of the new Science Centre will also be developed and managed as an integral part of Jurong Lake Gardens.

We agree that the existing parks and gardens hold a special meaning not only for Jurong residents, but also for many other Singaporeans. This is why the National Parks Board (NParks) envisions the new Jurong Lake Gardens to be an endearing green space for the community to enjoy.

In line with this, a key objective is for the Gardens to be a place where community gardeners from all over Singapore can come together to co-create and maintain show gardens of high horticultural quality. They will be supported by NParks, local landscape designers and industry partners. The community gardeners will be able to display their collective talent and passion for gardening, take pride in their gardens, and forge meaningful relationships with one another through the love of gardening.

The development of the new Gardens will be done sensitively to preserve the current charm, while incorporating fresh elements to inject life and vibrancy into the Gardens. Nature and community involvement are two key components that will be featured strongly at Jurong Lake Gardens. The Urban Redevelopment Authority will also work with the relevant agencies to develop future family-centric attractions and developments that will cater to both the local community and visitors.

NParks will be seeking ideas from the community on the masterplan design of the Jurong Lake Gardens next year. The design of the Gardens will then be formulated based on the suggestions and feedback received. In the meantime, members of the public who would like to share their ideas with us can e-mail us at

Kartini Omar (Ms)
Director (Parks)
National Parks Board
ST Forum, 30 Aug 2014

Transport improvements in Jurong: Land Transport Authority replies

WE THANK Mr Alfred Yeo Chi Jin for his feedback ("Speed up Jurong MRT line"; Aug 22).

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been working to improve transport in the Jurong area. Several projects like new train lines are in the works, and many other improvements are completed or are making good progress.

In 2016, the Tuas West Extension (TWE) will open. Four additional stations after Joo Koon station will serve communities in Jurong and Tuas industrial areas.

Come 2025, a 20km Jurong Region Line (JRL) will serve residents of Chua Chu Kang, Boon Lay and future developments in Tengah.

While TWE and JRL are in the works, LTA is increasing train capacity on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL).

We are progressively adding 41 new trains to the NSEWL, which will boost capacity by about 30 per cent.

The new signalling system for the NSEWL, when completed in 2016 (NSL) and 2018 (EWL), will improve train frequencies.

LTA is also injecting more bus capacity and improving the bus connectivity to help residents and workers get around.

Under our Bus Service Enhancement Programme, we added City Direct Bus Service 651 to take commuters directly from Jurong West into the city during peak periods, Service 49 to improve connectivity between Jurong West and Lakeside MRT station, and more buses to beef up Service 79 to improve its frequency.

Commuters in the area will be among the first to enjoy higher bus service standards under the new government Bus Contracting Model, as some bus services originating from Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi bus interchanges fall under the first package of routes that will be put up for bidding in the second half of this year.

Commuters will experience shorter waiting times and greater frequencies from 2016.

We assure commuters in the Jurong region that LTA is doing all it can to meet current and future transport demands in the area.

Helen Lim (Ms)
Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority
ST Forum, 1 Sep 2014

Jurong Lake Gardens to be 'immediate focus' for redevelopment of Jurong Lake District
By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits Times, 12 Nov 2014

SINGAPORE - The new Jurong Lake Gardens will be the "more immediate focus" for the redevelopment of the Jurong Lake District, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday.

This follows the first meeting on Tuesday by the Jurong Lake District steering committee, which is overseeing the area's redevelopment.

Spanning more than 70ha, the "new national gardens in the west" will be a combination of a revamped Jurong Lake Park, Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden, and be integrated with the new Science Centre grounds.

A public consultation on plans for the Gardens will be held in March, and the ideas gathered will go into the brief for a design competition for the Gardens next year, the URA added.

"The view was unanimous around the table that it is rare in any city to find such extensive greenery and water bodies in one area," said Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and chairman of the committee.

"We will engage the public extensively to gather feedback to help shape the district into an outstanding live, work, play district that is sustainable, smart and connected," he added.

The committee also tabled the idea of enhancing the district's connectivity and accessibility with a comprehensive pedestrian and cycling network. It also noted the possibility of transforming the district into a second Central Business District, by siting a high-speed rail terminus there and linking it to the upcoming Jurong Region Line and Cross-Island Line in the area.

The URA added that three workgroups will support the steering committee in overseeing projects in the area. The workgroups will focus on the district's land use master plan, transport infrastructure and Jurong Lake Gardens respectively.

Formed in October, the 14-member committee also includes Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, and experts in areas such as urban planning and science and technology.

National Day Rally 2014
Re-imagining Jurong
Steering committee formed for Jurong Lake District developments
New Jurong gardens will retain heritage, says DPM Tharman
Jurong Lake District Steering Committee starts work
Envisioning a Science Centre for the People: Formation of Steering Committee to Lead in its Conceptualisation & Development

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