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Over 50 parks to be built or upgraded, with communities involved

Over 50 parks to be built or upgraded, with communities involved.

Over the next five years, more than 50 parks will be built or upgraded, with local communities being involved in the projects from the start. Speaking at an annual gathering yesterday, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said at the MND Huddle at Fort Canning Park that it is important for the Government and the public to work together to shape Singapore's landscape. He pointed to the upgrading of parks as an area for such cooperation, adding that the works will be for both new and existing parks.

"We will invite communities to come together to envisage what the parks will look like, and indicate to us your preferred features," he said.

For example, some may prefer allotment garden plots, while others may wish for park amenities catering to elderly folk, Mr Wong added.

The idea is to get as many people involved as possible. The minister said: "So, these will be citizen parks... where Singaporeans will truly have a hand in designing and developing parks for our fellow Singaporeans."

Mr Wong said that such cooperation is part of the wider emphasis on partnerships between the Government and Singaporeans. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had emphasised this when he launched the Singapore Together movement earlier in June, Mr Wong said.

Apart from the parks, MND is also exploring other ways to build ground-up initiatives in the community. For example, anyone with good ideas on how to liven up housing estates can submit their proposals to the MND family via a single portal under the "Lively Places Programme". The Government will provide funding of up to $20,000 per proposal, along with assistance to implement the project, such as getting regulatory clearance.

Bukit Gombak to get new park with walking trail next year. Mr Wong cited an example of a project earlier this year, in which a group of residents started a hydroponics farm on a plot of empty land in Woodlands.

"We thought it was a very good idea. So, we got the team together and with HDB's assistance, the team brought their residents along and they built a farm within two months," he said. "They plant all sorts of different vegetables and they harvest it together for all the residents to share and enjoy."

At yesterday's dinner, Mr Wong also said the Urban Redevelopment Authority will work with the Singapore Institute of Architects and Singapore Institute of Planners to develop new areas such as the Greater Southern Waterfront and Paya Lebar Airbase. He encouraged the associations to guide and mentor the younger members as such projects "take many decades to implement".

SHAPING THE FUTURE CITY - Mr Wong said: "Let them dream and imagine what our future city can be. Let them provide inputs in shaping this future city. Because they will ultimately be the ones responsible for taking care of this city and making it better."

MR WONG, encouraging the Singapore Institute of Architects and Singapore Institute of Planners to guide and mentor the younger members.

Adapted From The Straits Times, Oct 12 2019