Committed to developing Mandai project with care

We thank Dr Ho Hua Chew for his feedback ("Reconsider 'eco-tourism' plans for Mandai"; Monday).

One of Mandai Park Holdings' core objectives is to ensure Mandai is established as a strong habitat for our plants and animals, available to the public and managed sensitively to showcase the richness of Singapore's biodiversity.

The new Bird Park and Rainforest Park will be located on impacted land that was formerly occupied by a village, farmland and most recently, the Mandai Orchid Garden.

The plot was subsequently set aside by the Government for use.

The new wildlife parks will be a very good neighbour to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

We are committed to protecting Singapore's biodiversity in the project site for the long term, and we will continue our partnership with nature groups as we go forward.

Right at the conceptualisation phase, we commissioned an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to guide our master planning.

After consulting with nature groups and experts, we incorporated additional measures into the plans to reduce environmental impact, especially during the development phase.

We will continue to work towards this goal as the project evolves.

The EIA was guided by international best practices. The assessment of impact and mitigation measures was based on expert advice. Government agencies and nature groups were extensively involved throughout the process, and will continue to be.

Over the past two years, we met nature groups, including Nature Society (Singapore) members, and have discussed concerns such as loss of natural habitats, nature reserve fragmentation and wildlife displacement.

We shared some of the important measures already undertaken to safeguard important habitats, such as the design of an eco-link bridge to give animals a safe passage over Mandai Lake Road.

We agreed to the setting aside of buffers along the nature reserve to reduce edge effects, as well as a wildlife shepherding programme to protect animals.

The mitigation measures for the project have been captured in an environmental management and monitoring plan (EMMP).

An environmental advisory panel comprising experts from the scientific community, academia, nature groups and private sector has been set up to monitor the implementation of the EMMP during construction and operation. This is chaired by Professor Peter Ng, head of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

As a responsible steward of nature, we remain committed to managing this process carefully as the project evolves.

Mike Barclay

Group Chief Executive

Mandai Park Holdings

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Committed to developing Mandai project with care'. Print Edition | Subscribe