Forum: Lookout tower will adversely impact nature reserve

Visitors at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill near the Visitor Centre at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
Visitors at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill near the Visitor Centre at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

We thank Mr Edwin Pang and Mr Freddie Gerald Stewart for their letters (Lookout tower at Bukit Timah Hill summit would enhance view, March 2; and More can be done to enhance experience atop hill, Feb 29).

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is one of the four gazetted nature reserves in Singapore and an Asean Heritage Park. It is protected for its rich flora and fauna and diverse ecological system.

Constructing a lookout tower and other facilities - such as toilets and sheltered pavilions - at the summit would severely impact the fragile ecosystem of the hill and its primary forest, as extensive work would need to be carried out.

This includes excavations and piling, which would result in forest being cleared.

The transportation of heavy machinery and building material to the summit would not be feasible without destabilising the steep slopes beside the narrow, winding road, which has sharp corners, and damaging trees of conservation and heritage value.

Instead of a lookout tower at the summit at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the National Parks Board has plans to develop a viewing platform overlooking a quarry in Rifle Range Nature Park.

This is a former quarry area that is situated next to the nature reserve.

The Rifle Range Nature Park, which is currently being developed, acts as a buffer park for nature-based recreation. When completed, the viewing platform will offer visitors a view of the nature park.

In addition, visitors can find basic public facilities, including toilets, at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve's visitor centre.

Adrian Loo (Dr)

Group Director, Conservation

National Parks Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2020, with the headline 'Lookout tower will adversely impact nature reserve'. Print Edition | Subscribe