East Coast Park to get multi-generational wellness garden

East Coast Park, Singapore's most popular park, looks set to draw even more visitors when a multi-generational wellness garden is completed at end-2023.

The KPMG Wellness Garden, which is expected to be just bigger than one football field in size, aims to be an inclusive space with features such as ramps for the elderly and those with impaired mobility.

The garden, which will be near the Cyclist Park, will have four zones to cater to different generations of visitors - the Therapeutic Garden, Nature Playgarden, Pond Trail and Nature Fitness Area.

The Therapeutic Garden will have a rustic coastal theme that will facilitate visitors' interactions with nature and improve their mental well-being. Therapeutic horticulture sessions will take root here, with raised planter boxes opening access for those in wheelchairs.

This therapeutic garden is set to be the first in East Coast Park and is part of a National Parks Board (NParks) plan to have 30 throughout Singapore by 2030.

Children can go wild at the Nature Playgarden that is also designed for those with impaired mobility, with features such as a raised sand play box, a lookout platform accessible by ramp and a raised musical play station.

The Pond Trail allows visitors to stroll around a pond and appreciate coastal flowers planted by NParks.

For those who prefer more strenuous physical workouts, they can head to the Nature Fitness Area, which is for people of all ages and built with materials like recycled logs.

The plans for the KPMG Wellness Garden were unveiled yesterday by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration.

A ceremonial tree-planting event at the site of the future garden was held to commemorate the occasion.

Mr Lee said: "Having amenities that cater to every visitor, from the young to the elderly and for users of different abilities, all together in one space will make the Wellness Garden a wonderful place for people to bond."

Mr Lee also touched on the importance of private and public partnerships in driving Singapore towards sustainability goals, with a mature Penaga Laut tree in East Coast Park, conserved under NParks' heritage tree scheme, dedicated by the board to KPMG for the latter's significant efforts towards greening Singapore.

The funds to set up the KPMG Wellness Garden were contributed by the multinational accounting firm as part of its global commitment worth US$1.5 billion (S$2.1 billion) to drive environment, social and governance solutions over the next three years.

Mr Ong Pang Thye, managing partner of KPMG in Singapore, said: "It is only through collective thought and will that we can seek a paradigm shift - core to KPMG's belief as it works with governments and businesses to build a lasting world for many generations."

East Coast Park is Singapore's most popular park and draws about 7.5 million visits annually.

Recent developments include the opening of Coastal PlayGrove, a 4.5ha attraction with tube slides and water play areas. The family-friendly destination was opened on the site of the defunct water theme park, Big Splash, in March this year.

Another highlight that Singaporeans can look forward to is a 15km nature trail running the entire length of East Coast Park in about 10 years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2021, with the headline 'East Coast Park to get multi-generational wellness garden'. Subscribe