Keep Outward Bound Singapore campus out of Coney Island

The news that there is going to be a new Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) campus built on Coney Island ("$250m Outward Bound campus for Coney Island"; last Friday) is extremely disappointing.

I believe that I speak for many a resident in the area in describing the elation we felt when Coney Island was opened to the public last year.

The island is rustic, untouched by development and, simply, nature at its best.

This is something that is rare in Singapore - understandably so, given our constant need for more space for man-made endeavours.

Most of our parks already have numerous man-made touches which may make them more comfortable, but ironically, nature by itself does not always have comfortable and modern amenities.

OBS already has two campuses in Pulau Ubin, just across from Coney Island.

Unlike Pulau Ubin, the latter is not big enough for one part to be built up into a campus and the other to remain truly untouched.

So, perhaps expansion within Pulau Ubin could be considered instead.

Yes, students, and indeed all Singaporeans, need to experience and learn through the outdoor experience.

But often, the crux of that lies in experiencing the true reality of untouched nature rather than through a built-up campus.

I truly hope that the authorities will leave Coney Island true to its natural self and not turn it into yet another "developed" nature spot.

Alternative possibilities for the expansion of OBS should be considered.

Aishworiya Ramkumar (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'Keep Outward Bound Singapore campus out of Coney Island'. Print Edition | Subscribe