Cable car link would have adverse impact on nature reserve

Mr Hwang Soo Jin's suggestion that the Mandai nature hub of five wildlife parks be linked to the Beauty World MRT Station via the top of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) is alarming ("Cable car system could be way to link up Mandai"; last Thursday).

For many months, the National Parks Board has been very carefully renovating many of the BTNR's walking tracks with the intention of protecting the integrity of the forest ecosystem, especially on the steeper parts of Bukit Timah Hill.

The construction of a cable car tower at the summit would be in direct contrast to the duty of care currently being so well exhibited by NParks.

Very large machinery would have to be transported to the summit, and deep foundations for the tower be excavated.

Noise and erosion would likely occur, and the installation of cables would almost certainly damage branches and foliage.

If heavy-lift helicopters are used in the operation, the sea eagles, colugos (flying lemurs) and other wildlife will surely be affected. Birds are particularly affected by helicopters hovering at lower altitudes. There are also other wildlife conservation issues.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is special. It is an Asean Heritage Park and is in the regional network of 30 protected areas... It is the green jewel within Singapore.

It is not necessary to route a cable car to the hilltop in order to view the lush greenery.

The greenery of the BTNR and much of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve can quite easily be viewed from its edges, from near the Hillview area or the Thomson area.

One can envisage the construction of rather appealing elevated restaurants around the edges of the nature reserves, and these could be served by cable car.

I am not an anti-development person, but the BTNR is special.

It is a world-renowned reserve. It is an Asean Heritage Park and is in the regional network of 30 protected areas, forming the complete spectrum of representative ecosystems in Asean.

It is protected by the Parks and Trees Act 2005 for the conservation of our native biodiversity. It is the green jewel within Singapore.

Mr Hwang has very worthy intentions, but the BTNR must not be included in any cable car plan.

David John Court

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2016, with the headline 'Cable car link would have adverse impact on nature reserve'. Print Edition | Subscribe