Tuesday, 13 October 2015

First waterfront CC opens at Marina Bay

Fancy a kayaking session after line dancing? Head to 'specialist CC'
By Olivia Ho, The Straits Times, 12 Oct 2015

The Marina Bay waterfront is now home to the first community club here offering water and adventure sports.

The new "specialist CC", PAssion WaVe @ Marina Bay, was officially opened yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at a launch event attended by more than 2,000 people.

Thanks everyone who came down to support us at the launch of PAssion WaVe @ Marina Bay - PA's first specialist CC. This...
Posted by PA Water-Venture on Sunday, October 11, 2015

Located at Rhu Cross by the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, the community club will offer water- based activities such as kayaking, pedal boating and bell boating, alongside niche lifestyle classes such as urban gardening and coffee appreciation, and CC staples such as zumba and line dancing.

More than 20,000 people a year are expected to benefit from the new community club, which aims to serve residents in the Mountbatten and Jalan Besar constituencies.

It is the eighth of the People's Association's Water-Venture outlets offering water-based activities islandwide. Plans are under way to upgrade the other outlets to specialist CCs that offer land- based activities as well by the end of next year, starting with East Coast and Pasir Ris.

The 3,757 sq m community club broke ground in 2012. It has a Building and Construction Authority Green Mark Platinum Award for its sustainable design and low environmental impact.

Said DPM Teo, who first mooted the idea for the community club in 2007: "I like the whole idea of making use of themed community spaces, particularly for water. The community can make very good use of the water resources we have.

"I hope we have more themed activity centres where residents who share the same interests can come together."

People's Association chief executive director Ang Hak Seng said that while existing Water-Venture outlets tend to draw young people, the new community club is also pitched at senior citizens and the disabled.

For instance, Water-Venture members aged 55 and above can rent a pedal boat for just $2 an hour. The community club will also have boats for those with disabilities.

Kolam Ayer resident Madeline Lee welcomed the focus on water sports at the new community club.

Said the 50-year-old secretary, who has been passionate about kayaking for the past 20 years: "It is more convenient for me to come here by bus than go to Changi."

Retired clerk Lye Ah Soo, 70, who lives in Woodlands but often walks along the Kallang Basin and Marina Bay area with his wife, said it was good that the waterfront will now be more vibrant, and also expressed interest in the pedal boats.

He said in Mandarin: "I have always thought boats are very dangerous, but these look okay. I will see if I can go sign up at the CC."

* No need to miss the boat with this PA pilot venture
Young people with disabilities get to sail on boats that are easier to manoeuvre
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 17 Dec 2016

Student Emma Chan, 18, has scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, and her two legs are of different lengths.

Walking can be challenging and she gets tired more easily. But oh how she flew in a sailboat yesterday and on Thursday, with the wind in her hair and a big smile on her face.

"It was fun and enjoyable. I liked feeling the wind in my face. It was very refreshing," said Emma, a beneficiary of SPD, which serves people with disabilities.

Like Emma, who does not know how to swim, nine other young people aged up to 18 from Grace Orchard School, SPD and Children's Cancer Foundation took part in a pilot programme to allow people with disabilities to try sailing.

They were each accompanied by an instructor from the People's Association (PA) Water-Venture group in Hansa sailing boats, which are designed for up to two sailors.

The group, which offers outdoor water activities to the public, initiated the programme to help the young people develop confidence and encourage them to continue leading an active life, regardless of their circumstances.

PA Water-Venture assistant director Norhayati Daud said the group hatched the idea after learning that the Singapore Sailing Federation had the Hansa sailing boats, which are slower but easier to manoeuvre and less likely to capsize.

This makes them ideal for people with disabilities and the elderly.

These boats were also used in the Asean Para Games last year.

Ms Norhayati, 38, told The Straits Times: "We decided to borrow them, make our sailing programmes more inclusive and try this out with the beneficiaries. We want to build an inclusive society."

She said PA Water-Venture will review the programme and could partner other welfare groups eventually.

The group had run a similar course earlier this year, using a different sailing boat, for 10 people with mental illness.

Yesterday's session was the last in the programme which started on Dec 1. Each of the participants attended two classes, each lasting three hours. They first spent an hour in a sheltered area, learning the basics of sailing and water safety skills. The rest of the time was spent on the water. They set off from PAssion WaVe @ Marina Bay and sailed on the Kallang River.

On Thursday, after about an hour of sailing, two of the beneficiaries from Grace Orchard School did it on their own, with trainers guiding from another boat nearby.

Trainer James Leong, 60, said people with physical impairments in their legs and limited arm strength can still manoeuvre the Hansa boats with their hands. "We just need to emphasise and repeat some points, and guide them along, so they get familiar with it," he added.

Madam Tamil Selvi, a Grace Orchard School teacher, said: "I didn't expect it. I recorded the whole thing on video. I think the programme has built up their confidence."

Yesterday, Emma got to sail on her own. "At first, I was a bit scared about sailing. But now, no more."

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