Over 100ha reserved for landscape nurseries

Mr Desmond Lee trying his hand at a battery-powered wheelbarrow while wearing a cordless fan jacket at the Landscape Industry Fair in HortPark yesterday. Both items are equipment used in landscaping work.
Mr Desmond Lee trying his hand at a battery-powered wheelbarrow while wearing a cordless fan jacket at the Landscape Industry Fair in HortPark yesterday. Both items are equipment used in landscaping work.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Land set aside in Lim Chu Kang, Sungei Tengah; first plots up for tender in November

More than 100ha of land in north- west Singapore will be set aside for landscape nurseries, with the first plots open for tender in November.

It is the first time that land has been specifically reserved for these businesses, said Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee.

The news comes as a relief to those firms, some of which have land leases that expire in two years.

The owners hope that the targeted move will also help to grow the industry, which was worth around $480 million in 2015.

"Currently, we don't have land specifically earmarked for nurseries," Mr Lee said. "Our nurseries are now on land that had been tendered out for agriculture generally, and they have had to compete with other farming businesses."

He was speaking at the National Parks Board's Landscape Industry Fair held yesterday at HortPark.

The new land parcels will be located in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah, and will come with basic infrastructure so that nurseries can move in quickly.

Being located in the same area as other firms could provide opportunities for collaboration, said Mr Veera Sekaran, managing director of urban greening firm Greenology.

"For example, it helps to share equipment and resources. Many firms might not have the capital to buy equipment on their own."

Mr Veera, who currently operates out of a 0.5ha plot in Changi and plans to bid for a 1ha plot, added that the changes could result in better business. "There will be more footfall for everyone," he said.

For a start, around 30 1ha and 2ha plots - totalling over 40ha - will be released. Half of these plots will be put up for tender between November and the end of next year.

The smaller plots will have a nine- year tenure, with monthly payments and renewal every three years. This is so that smaller firms do not have to pay large sums upfront.

The larger plots will be leased out for 20 years, with businesses required to pay an upfront sum of 10 years' worth of land lease fees.

Mr Choo Jun Wei, project director at Mao Sheng Quanji Construction, said the announcement is good news. His firm is one of 62 in Lim Chu Kang that will not have their existing leases renewed.

Mao Sheng Quanji has been occupying a 5ha plot in the area for 20 years. It intends to squeeze its facilities into a single 2ha land parcel and find ways to compensate for the reduction in space.

"The land yield has to be increased and we hope to use new technology to improve productivity," said Mr Choo.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 20, 2017, with the headline 'Over 100ha reserved for landscape nurseries'. Print Edition | Subscribe