$90m project to link Sentosa's north, south shores

Work to demolish the towering 37m-Merlion statue, which sits at the heart of Sentosa, will begin by year-end, when construction on the $90 million Sentosa Sensoryscape project (left) will commence.
Work to demolish the towering 37m-Merlion statue, which sits at the heart of Sentosa, will begin by year-end, when construction on the $90 million Sentosa Sensoryscape project (left) will commence.PHOTOS: JASON QUAH, SENTOSA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

Merlion to be demolished as Sentosa and Pulau Brani are reshaped

One of Sentosa's famous structures will be making way for a themed thoroughfare that will link its north and south shores.

The demolition of the Merlion statue is part of long-term plans to reshape the resort island and the adjacent Pulau Brani into a premier leisure and tourism destination.

The last day of operations for the Merlion will be on Oct 20.

Work to demolish the towering 37m statue, located in the heart of Sentosa, will begin by the year end, when construction on the $90 million Sentosa Sensoryscape project will commence.

The new double-level thoroughfare, which will occupy about 30,000 sq m, will connect the mainland-facing Resorts World Sentosa with the beaches in the south, and replace the existing walkway.

Lookout points, water features and other architectural elements will create a multi-sensory experience for visitors strolling across the island, Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) said yesterday.

Its completion by 2022 will mark the first milestone of the blueprint for the two islands, to be rolled out in phases over the next two to three decades.

Details of the Sentosa-Brani masterplan, announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally last month, were revealed at a media briefing on Sentosa yesterday.

The two islands will be divided into five zones. The Vibrant Cluster zone, which spans the two islands, will have large-scale attractions. Island Heart will feature hotels, conference spaces, dining and shops, while the Waterfront zone on Pulau Brani will house a Discovery Park.

The Ridgeline zone will connect green spaces from Mount Faber to Mount Imbiah and feature nature and heritage attractions, while Sentosa's beaches will be rejuvenated with a water show, fairgrounds and other attractions in the Beachfront zone.

Transport connectivity will also be enhanced, and a "Downtown South" resort modelled after the labour movement-run Downtown East in Pasir Ris will likely be built on Pulau Brani.

The 1.22 sq km Pulau Brani, about a quarter the size of Sentosa, now houses a port terminal, which will move to Tuas by 2027, along with the terminals in Keppel and Tanjong Pagar.

SDC chief executive Quek Swee Kuan said that rather than having distinct identities, the islands will be linked and integrated in their development, leveraging their island charm and proximity to the city.

 
 
 
 

When the Merlion statue was constructed in 1995, visitorship to Sentosa was between four million and six million, compared with more than 19 million last year, said Mr Quek. There is thus a need for a wider thoroughfare, and the Sensoryscape will double the current pedestrian capacity, he said.

"We won't relocate the Merlion because of its size, but we are considering how to commemorate it," said Mr Quek.

A new icon for Sentosa is also being considered, he added.

He confirmed that the Police Coast Guard headquarters on Pulau Brani will remain, but said that other plans for the island are still being developed.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who revealed plans to reshape the two islands in line with plans for the mainland last year, said that the blueprint aims to position Singapore as a leading tourist destination over the coming decades.

"There are also plans to see how we can, in the short and medium term, enhance the value of... the Southern Islands for eco-tourism, for families to visit and learn about a part of Singapore," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2019, with the headline '$90m project to link Sentosa's north, south shores'. Print Edition | Subscribe