Bukit Brown should be a destination park

ST Forum
Apr 6, 2012

Bukit Brown should be a destination park

OUR position is to recommend to the relevant authorities that Bukit Brown be made into a public or heritage park for the benefit of all Singaporeans, not just for nature lovers or nature romantics ('Don't get carried away by biodiversity' by Mr Heng Cho Choon; last Saturday).

Bukit Brown should retain its natural and cultural values and be simultaneously promoted as an area for recreational pursuits like hiking, jogging, strolling, family picnics or appreciating nature.

Our view is very much in line with the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) laudable plan to open 20 new parks in the next five years ('Coney Island set to become nature park'; Feb 19).

Bukit Brown, with its multi-faceted values, qualifies as a top candidate for a 'destination park'. Because of its cultural assets, it has great potential as a tourist attraction too.

As there is room for 20 new parks anyway, given whatever plan the authority may have for population increase and new settlements, it should be made part of URA's park scheme.

Our concern now is the planned dual four-lane expressway which will destroy the existing features of the area that are valuable assets for such a park.

The road will damage if not wipe out a beautiful valley and the service roads around it, apart from the adverse impact on the adjacent woodlands and wildlife.

This portion of Bukit Brown is also the most popular and most frequented part of Bukit Brown for visitors.

Given the value at stake, we think it is necessary to explore more carefully the possible alternatives to the planned expressway.

Being an area of more than 200ha in greenery, such an ecosystem serves all Singaporeans.

Its eco-functions include carbon sequestration, free natural air-conditioning and flood control.

Although globally small, it is highly significant in its contribution in terms of the percentage of Singapore's total land mass or population. It is imperative that we think globally but act locally.

Ho Hua Chew

Conservation Committee

Nature Society (Singapore)