Photo: Artist impression of Jurong Lake Gardens; NParks
West-siders in Singapore can look forward to never ever having to leave the neighbourhood from 2017, when favourable structures like the Jurong Lake Gardens, the new Science Centre and possibly even the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail terminus start to materialise.
At the National Day Rally (NDR) on Aug. 17, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that an ambitious transformation is being planned to revitalise the area that was a long time ago only a swamp, beginning with the merging of the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden and Jurong Lake Park into Jurong Lake Gardens (see satellite image by National University of Singapore). PM Lee described the result, produced and maintained by the country’s top “community gardeners” will be “the people’s garden”, “bigger than Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, maybe even better”. The gardens will be developed in phases, with the first expecting to complete in 2017, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the National Parks Board (NParks).
Aside from revealing that he’d suggested the new development as a location for the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail terminus to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Mr. Lee also talked about plans for a new Science Centre, which he believes will be the “jewel” in the Lake Gardens crown. The centre will be located near the Chinese Garden MRT station when it is complete in 2020, extending into the Jurong Lake Gardens (see site image below, courtesy of NUS). According to Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is setting up a committee to coordinate the plans for the Science Centre. He wrote in a Facebook post, “I hope to have a diverse group of talented and passionate people on the committee, including, for instance, our best educators in the sciences and maths; scientists and researchers here and overseas; industry practitioners and technologists who use the insights of science and technology in their daily work; and people with a deep sense of wonder and love to share this.”
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has also contributed his dollar’s worth on the Jurong developments in a blog post, saying the government will make it “fun, educational and spectacular, in keeping with changing times and our achievements over decades”.
Other plans for the area include new waterfront homes that would need a realignment of the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), as well as more cycling paths and park connectors to reduce the need to drive in the district.