Cedar Girls' school to lose 400m track to make way for Bidadari estate

The field behind Cedar Girls' Secondary has been used as a track by the school for the past 56 years, but the latest lease on the parcel of land, which began in 2007, will not be renewed.
The field behind Cedar Girls' Secondary has been used as a track by the school for the past 56 years, but the latest lease on the parcel of land, which began in 2007, will not be renewed.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

The well-known Cedar Girls' Secondary School track will make way for the new Bidadari estate.

This was confirmed in Parliament on Monday, when the Ministry of National Development (MND), replying to a question by Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin, said the lease on the 400m track will not be renewed when it ends in 2017.

The latest lease on the field, which began in 2007, was given the green light as the Government had no immediate need for it. "It was understood and agreed that the lease... will be a temporary one," the statement read.

Now the field, which is also used by Cedar Primary, is set to make way for around 600 public flats, a road, a medical facility and a place of worship, leaving those who had been fighting to keep the track disappointed.

For the past 56 years, Cedar Girls' Secondary has been using the parcel of land behind the school as a track.

While queries sent to the school went unanswered, Singapore Athletics Association chief of sports development Loh Chan Pew said the loss of the track was a pity, given that few girls' schools featured such facilities. "It is a very good track, and good facilities are always a boon to the school team," he noted.

A Facebook page titled "Why Cedar Running Track should be saved", which garnered more than 2,800 likes, pointed out that the track is also "regularly used by other schools".

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, in reply to another question from Mr Sitoh, said secondary schools are provided with a standard set of sports facilities, which are sufficient to meet the curriculum.

Cedar Girls' Secondary currently has a 110m track on its premises. He also recommended that students make use of nearby 400m tracks in stadiums in Toa Payoh and Serangoon if need be.

"At the end of the day, I think everybody tried very hard," said Mr Sitoh, adding that he had meetings with the school's representatives several times after the Housing Board revealed its plans for the area in August.

"I understand MND even went back to the drawing board and relooked at the plans, but it looks like it's been decided."

darylc@sph.com.sg