Pretty new waterfront for Potong Pasir

A 400m stretch of waterway along the Kallang River that runs past Potong Pasir has been improved with the addition of viewing decks. Students from St Andrew's Secondary School helped plant rain gardens along the stretch. Rain gardens treat rainwater
A 400m stretch of waterway along the Kallang River that runs past Potong Pasir has been improved with the addition of viewing decks. Students from St Andrew's Secondary School helped plant rain gardens along the stretch. Rain gardens treat rainwater run-off using specially-selected plants, for instance, before it is discharged into the river.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Residents of Potong Pasir have a new and improved waterfront near their homes, with viewing decks and a plaza for community events.

The 400m stretch of waterway along the Kallang River was officially opened yesterday by Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir Sitoh Yih Pin.

Rain gardens and vegetated swales will clean rainwater run-off, decks with timber seats offer a view of the waterway, while a new open plaza can accommodate 750 people for community events and outdoor lessons.

Madam Irene Ong, 62, who has lived in the estate for more than 20 years, said: "The water is very clean, and the scenery, with different types of plants and flowers, really makes people want to come down to have a look."

Last month, students from St Andrew's Secondary School helped to plant rain gardens along the stretch. Rain gardens treat rainwater run-off using specially-selected plants, for instance, before it is discharged into the river. The school has conducted clean-ups and projects along the river since 2005.

The Potong Pasir waterfront has been 1 1/2 years in the making, under national water agency PUB's Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) programme to spruce up the Republic's water bodies.

The $7-million project is the 28th under the programme to be completed. Over 100 potential locations have been identified for implementation by 2030.

Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB's Chief Sustainability Officer, said he was heartened to receive the support of schools, residents and community groups who helped to shape the project and enhance the vibrancy of the community space.

"Under the ABC Waters Programme, we endeavour to revitalise pockets of blue spaces along Kallang River, the longest river in Singapore, serving a large catchment area that includes estates like Toa Payoh, Bishan and Potong Pasir," said Mr Tan. "Together with our partners, I hope everyone can take ownership of our waters and play an active role in keeping them clean and free of litter."

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines, Mr Sitoh cited other work that has benefited residents including lift upgrading and the home improvement programme.

Potong Pasir was held by opposition MP Chiam See Tong for 27 years, but voted for the People's Action Party candidate in 2011.

"There are still a lot of things to be done," said Mr Sitoh. "We want to carry on and complete the journey that we have started."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'Pretty new waterfront for Potong Pasir'. Print Edition | Subscribe