Letter of the week #1: 'Downtown South' not good use of Pulau Brani site

An artist’s impression featuring a bird’s eye view of developments on Sentosa and Pulau Brani. Attractions will be built on Brani, while Sentosa’s beach areas will be revitalised, among other things. PHOTO: SENTOSA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

It does not make sense to set a two- or three-star resort like Downtown South on a Pulau Brani site that can fetch five- and six-star land bid prices ('Downtown South' resort likely to be built on Pulau Brani, Aug 19).

The site can also inspire concepts to enhance Singapore's attractiveness as a world-class leisure destination to high-yielding vacationers from all over the world.

One NTUC-managed resort on Sentosa - Costa Sands - is enough. The facility most certainly needs a major facelift to keep up with the times as well as the evolution of Sentosa's brand proposition up the value chain.

For example, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) may work with the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre and the Education Ministry to design and transform Costa Sands into a leading Asia-centric hospitality school cum resort in the Indo-Pacific region, with a world-class Swiss or American partner.

Such an endeavour will help the labour movement, the Government and the hospitality industry to fulfil their noble tripartite objectives of providing high-quality, hands-on training to students and workers, as well as affordable leisure options for the labour movement.

It will also help to better manage the overall opportunity costs of re-imagining, remaking and renewing Singapore amid a rise in fiscal spending on education, healthcare, climate change infrastructure and so forth.

However, if the authorities still see value in developing and maintaining yet another "standard" government-sponsored resort - to add to the various clubhouses run by Safra and the Home Team - the planned private and public residential development at the nearby Keppel Club site would make a far more sensible location. Partners for this joint venture could comprise the NTUC, People's Association and the Housing Board.

The resort would be open to all, but union and PAssion card members may, for example, have exclusive or priority access to key facilities at certain hours.

This co-sharing facility for different constituencies with almost similar interests would represent a unique opportunity to create a novel multi-purpose community hub on what was formerly the grounds of a private club, and is a far more sustainable and inclusive developmental option for an island grappling with climate change.

Toh Cheng Seong

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