NParks working to preserve Ubin's rusticity

NParks is part of the Friends of Ubin Network, which includes over 40 interest groups ranging from nature and heritage enthusiasts to villagers and researchers.
NParks is part of the Friends of Ubin Network, which includes over 40 interest groups ranging from nature and heritage enthusiasts to villagers and researchers.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

We thank the public for their feedback (Many rules, fewer visitors, say Pulau Ubin Islanders, Feb 24; NParks need to be more transparent on Ubin; and Myriad rules killing feel of kampung life, both March 4).

Since taking over as the central managing agency for Ubin in 2016, the National Parks Board (NParks) has sought to maintain and enhance the island's much-loved rusticity.

Our priorities were to ensure the safety of residents and visitors, and protect Ubin's natural and built heritage. And NParks has maintained the status quo, as much as possible.

The quarries on Ubin have been fenced off for safety since 1996, after visitors fell into them leading to a drowning. Fishing along the quarries' edges was disallowed for the same reason.

Instead, NParks created lookout points to allow visitors to enjoy the quarries safely.

NParks introduced restrictions on campfires as many of the homes and buildings on the island are made of wood. This also reduces the risk of forest fires. Open fires are allowed at designated campsites.

NParks engages residents regularly on their concerns. We stopped allowing fishing at the jetty-head following feedback from boatmen that fishing lines were getting entangled in their engines, and that fishing hooks posed a hazard.

Fishing is allowed along most of the coastline except at Chek Jawa wetlands and natural areas undergoing habitat enhancement.

Separately, Ubin villagers had concerns about their leases and the structures they built.

We have been working with them to ensure these concerns are resolved, and will continue to do so.

NParks is part of the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN), which includes over 40 interest groups ranging from nature and heritage enthusiasts to villagers and researchers.

All of them collectively aim to protect and enhance the rusticity of Ubin for future generations. FUN-led initiatives raise awareness of Ubin's cultural and natural heritage.

NParks will continue to work together with FUN to do this.

Adrian Loo (Dr)

Group Director, Conservation

National Parks Board

N. Sivasothi

Friends of Ubin Network

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2019, with the headline 'NParks working to preserve Ubin's rusticity'. Print Edition | Subscribe