Forum: Retain and include existing green spaces in new estates

I agree wholeheartedly with Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher de Souza when he urged the authorities to "think long and hard before making irreversible decisions".

He had identified in Parliament several vacant sites for public housing instead of zoning Dover Forest for residential use.

He said: "A 40-year-old forest is home to creatures over many life cycles" and is "part of the wider shared landscape" of Singaporeans, particularly nearby residents (Tap vacant sites nearby instead of clearing forest: MP, Feb 2).

In this regard, when the authorities do eventually decide that they do not have alternative, non-forested sites to consider, and must destroy the forests to build new housing estates, may I urge them to try to retain and incorporate, as much as possible, the trees, shrubs and streams into the housing estate as parks, neighbourhood gardens or as a part of the park connector network.

Kudos to the Bidadari housing estate planners who retained and incorporated part of the original vegetation into a new park-cum-bird sanctuary.

Though large tracts of forests in Tengah are being cleared, I also appreciate the efforts of the authorities in trying to retain some of the original vegetation in the forest town.

I hope that for the housing estates of the future in Tengah, Ulu Pandan/Dover, Clementi and even Bukit Brown, our urban planners will do the same and not bulldoze the existing mature forested areas, which act as crucial carbon sinks for our little island, only to have to pump in resources to build new parks with young shrubs and tree saplings.

Edwin Pang