Explore 'Venice of Punggol' at ST Run

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 25, 2013  

THE "Venice of Punggol" - as some have nicknamed it - was an idea that evolved from a simple pipeline to connect two reservoirs to a waterway flowing through Punggol Town.

While it might not feature gondolas or piazzas, its distinctive bridges and reservoir views are a breath of fresh air for residents and joggers.

On Aug 25, Punggol Waterway will host the inaugural Straits Times Run in the Park, giving some participants the chance to experience it for the first time.

Punggol is one of the oldest settlements in Singapore and used to be a village predominantly occupied by farmers and fishermen.

There are five footbridges along the 4.2km-long waterway that was built in 2009.

Engineers tried to make them functional, beautiful and accessible.

Ramps were constructed with a gentle slope and grab bars have been provided for the elderly and the disabled.

The $225 million construction has won several awards including the grand prize for excellence in environmental engineering from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, for its thoughtfulness in combining practicality, green practices and social needs.

The 2 1/2-year project was unveiled in 2011 and is divided into three zones: urban, undulating and rustic.

Fixtures such as park benches, lamp posts and shelters have different architectural styles to match these themes while soft landscapes including trees and shrubs also complement the zones' colour and design.

One highlight of the park is the Heartwave wall, which contains heritage panels that detail the area's rich history.

Its earliest settlers were Malay and there were also plantations that attracted Teochew immigrants.

Catholic missionaries set up the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1852, which is still standing today.

The 280m-long wall features neon lighting and mini-waterfalls that make for an eye-catching display at night.

The park also contains sand and water play areas for children.

Mr Tan Zhen Yang, 25, has lived in Punggol for 12 years and enjoys the occasional stroll there.

He said: "It's a pretty place and it offers quite a good break from the urban landscape of Singapore that we are used to.

"It is also different from the usual parks like East Coast in terms of the scenery. It doesn't feel so commercial."

Runners can sign up online at or through the event's interactive ad on ST's app on iPad.

More information is available on 6319-2087 or via e-mailing

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 25, 2013

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