SINGAPORE - Hougang residents can look forward to three more community spaces along waterways within the neighbourhood by 2018.
A total of 2.2km will be made over from April at Hougang Avenue 10, Sungei Pinang and Serangoon Reservoir, under national water agency PUB's Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) programme.
Some new features that residents can expect include a new deck over the canal at the Hougang Avenue 10 project, which can be used for community events.
There will also be more greenery at the three locations to liven up the concrete structures, and a new fishing spot along the edge of the reservoir for the Serangoon Reservoir project.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated the groundbreaking ceremony for the three projects on Sunday (March 20) morning. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli was also present.
In his speech, Mr Lee urged residents to keep the waters clean and the surrounding beautiful. He added that otters may visit if waters are well looked after, which drew applause from the crowd.
The event also marked the 10th year of the ABC Waters programme, which aims to beautify Singapore's blue spaces and transform concrete canals and drains into areas that can also be used for community events and recreation.
Since 2006, 32 projects costing about $150 million have been completed so far under the scheme, including a 3km stretch of the Kallang River located within Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
Instead of a concrete canal, visitors will now find a meandering river which allows them to get up close to the river bank. That project drew more than just humans, with otters spotted frolicking there. Birds such as the purple Heron and the collared kingfisher have also been seen along the naturalised river.
On top of the 32 completed projects, nine more ABC Waters projects at areas such as Pang Sua Road and Siglap Canal Outfall are ongoing.
The PUB also has plans for 11 additional projects, including the three at Hougang. The 20 are expected to be completed in the next five years and beyond.
Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB's chief sustainability officer, said: "Over time, conventional water infrastructure will be replaced with treasured blue spaces, creating an even more liveable and sustainable City of Gardens and Water."
PUB is also rolling out exhibits to mark the 10th anniversary of the ABC Waters programme. They include a roving exhibition called Water Wally Explores ABC Waters, a collection of 10 life-size Water Wally figurines, PUB's mascot.
They will be visiting malls and community spaces and members of the public can keep tabs on PUB's Facebook page for details on their appearances.