New ideas to shape Jurong Lake Gardens

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam having some fun with children during a tree planting activity at Jurong Lake Gardens West yesterday. The western segment of the new gardens will open early next year, with other parts to follow.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam having some fun with children during a tree planting activity at Jurong Lake Gardens West yesterday. The western segment of the new gardens will open early next year, with other parts to follow.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam having some fun with children during a tree planting activity at Jurong Lake Gardens West yesterday. The western segment of the new gardens will open early next year, with other parts to follow.
An artist's impression of the Jurong Lake Gardens development. Highlights will include aquatic gardens showcasing more than 140 varieties of water lilies, with boardwalks allowing visitors to get up close to them. PHOTO: NPARKS

Aquatic garden with biggest water lily collection, bike paths added to plans based on public feedback

Singapore's next national gardens will have an aquatic garden feature showcasing the largest collection of water lilies here, as well as walking trails and cycling paths.

These features have been added to the masterplans for the central and eastern segments of the Jurong Lake Gardens development, based on public feedback about the proposed designs.

Popular suggestions included requests for more park amenities like food and beverage outlets, recreational areas and improved connectivity around the gardens.

More than 14,000 suggestions were taken into consideration by the National Parks Board (NParks). The public engagement exercise, which consisted of roving exhibitions, town hall sessions and online surveys, was conducted from November 2016 to April last year.

The finalised designs were unveiled yesterday at an exhibition held in conjunction with a tree-planting event at Jurong Lake Gardens West.

Ms Kartini Omar, group director of parks development and Jurong Lake Gardens at NParks, said that the focus of the exercise is to make the gardens a place where the community can come together for various activities, ranging from water sports to gardening.

"It will be a people's gardens, where the community will be able to enjoy the spaces," she added.

The 90ha gardens are part of a larger transformation of the Jurong Lake District. It comprises three parts: Jurong Lake Gardens West, Central and East.

The construction tender for the central area, which consists of the Chinese and Japanese gardens, and the east side, which will house the new Science Centre, will be called in the middle of this year.

An East-West cycling route will be provided across the Chinese Garden to connect Taman Jurong to Jurong Town Hall and Jurong East.

Visitors will also be able to walk or jog along trails.

The aquatic gardens will showcase more than 140 varieties of water lilies, including more than 100 varieties that are new here, such as the Australian giant water lily.

Boardwalks will allow visitors to get up close to them.

Many features in the Chinese and Japanese gardens will also be retained, as they hold special memories for Singaporeans.

The western segment of the new gardens will open early next year, with other parts to follow.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also chairman of the Jurong Lake District steering committee, said: "Our parks belong to all Singaporeans, and so this is an important ground-up process to shape our national gardens in the heartland together."

At the event yesterday, Mr Wong joined Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, MPs and residents to plant some 50 trees.

Residents who were interviewed welcomed the improved plans for the gardens.

Mr Nicholas Kee, 25, who has been living in Jurong for 10 years, suggested having more recreational facilities and event spaces.

"It is good that we get to choose what we want in the gardens, and to see some of those suggestions being implemented," said the National University of Singapore student.

"The changes would give me and my family something new to look forward to during the weekends."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 25, 2018, with the headline 'New ideas to shape Jurong Lake Gardens'. Print Edition | Subscribe