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Today Voices, Jun 15, 2011

Why destroy natural habitat when other land available?

Letter from Ronald Chan
I REFER to the debate over the conservation of Bukit Brown. Let us not take into account the heritage value of Bukit Brown in this discussion. After all, we have bulldozed other national monuments like the old National Library despite their sentimental value.

There is also no operational value in "Bukit" Brown, which reportedly stands at only 1m above sea level.
Neither is it exactly in the Central Catchment Area, being excluded from it by Lornie Road.

The question is, why destroy this green area at the heart of our island when it is not the only place in Singapore left to develop? It is, after all, a pristine, untouched ground since it has been used as a cemetery.

As former Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan noted, the next two areas to be developed are Simpang and Tengah. These two areas have been trampled by National Servicemen and their value as a nature reserve is no longer high.

A huge plot of land also remains available in Punggol West. It is a sparsely populated private housing area and not an untouched natural habitat either.

So as we can see, there is no shortage of land in Singapore for housing. These three plots of land can easily sustain a substantial number of residents, and using these plots would not really compromise Singapore's natural habitats since they have already been interfered with.

Already we are not far off from the projected 6.5 million population. Do we really need that many more flats? Besides, we can make up the numbers with the Selective En-Bloc Redevelopment Scheme in selected estates.

Why touch a prime natural habitat when there is no urgent need to do so? I urge the authorities to reconsider their plans to develop Bukit Brown. After all, readers have remarked that we need these green lungs in the heart of our island to prevent the flood waters from rising. It remains to be seen, pending further research by the floods panel, whether this is indeed the case.

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