Pasir Panjang Power District as a showcase of S'pore's green ambition

Pasir Panjang Power District was built during the 1950s and 1960s to supply the country's burgeoning power needs.
Pasir Panjang Power District was built during the 1950s and 1960s to supply the country's burgeoning power needs.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The conservation of our heritage buildings and natural environment cannot simply be largely about retaining the facades of monuments and systematically planting trees.

This is especially so when longstanding practices have yielded negative unintended consequences, including the irrevocable loss of idyllic hamlets to indiscriminate land clearing and construction works.

I sincerely hope we do not make the same mistake with the Pasir Panjang Power District (Call for ideas to rejuvenate Pasir Panjang Power District, May 11)

The precinct can be an inspiring, automobile-free, green commune that runs on electricity powered by bio-energy.

Such a refreshing eco-friendly remix of its main power station building's original purpose would be emblematic of Singapore's own green ambitions and sustainable future.

Ditto, a simultaneous re-adaptation of the facility as a destination food lab, farm, factory, barn and farmhouse.

Can food company Impossible Foods not be lured to set up an innovation lab, farm, factory, test kitchen cum restaurant and regional HQ at this exciting venue for agritech and the production of genetically modified foods?

We could invite Spain's Alicia Foundation - a social enterprise founded by the maverick godfather of molecular gastronomy Ferran Adria - to plant a base at the district's barn and farmhouse.

Shall we nourish the seeds of Singapore's slow food movement and our island's leading farmers' market at the Pasir Panjang Power District?

With the right ingredients and guidance, the district can certainly become the soul-stirring station of a lush and serene green belt comprising Mount Faber, the Southern Ridges, Kent Ridge and Hort parks, and the Alexandra estate.

Add to that the probable transformation of the Gillman Barracks area into an iconoclastic park hosting green sculptures and installations, along with some multi-disciplinary art galleries or performance spaces that could include a branch of Britain's famed Serpentine Gallery or New York's iconic jazz stage, the Village Vanguard, at its core.

As such, the idea to transform the Pasir Panjang Power District into a mega performing arts venue would be better served for the revival of the St James' Power Station as a cultural, lifestyle and hospitality haven in the buzzing centre of the Greater Southern Waterfront.

Toh Cheng Seong


Correction note: This letter has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2019, with the headline 'Pasir Panjang Power District as a showcase of S'pore's green ambition'. Print Edition | Subscribe