Founders' Memorial: Govt gives nod for Bay East Garden site

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his National Day Message at Bay East Garden. He said that siting the Founders' Memorial there would allow Singaporeans to "remember the values of our founding leaders, see what they have built and commit ours
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his National Day Message at Bay East Garden. He said that siting the Founders' Memorial there would allow Singaporeans to "remember the values of our founding leaders, see what they have built and commit ourselves to continue building Singapore".PHOTO: MCI

A memorial to commemorate Singapore's pioneer leaders will be located at the eastern section of Gardens by the Bay.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that the Government has accepted the recommendation of the Founders' Memorial Committee for the memorial to be located in the garden.

In his annual National Day Message, Mr Lee noted that a clear majority of people who responded to the committee's calls for views had supported having the site at Bay East Garden. The other option was Fort Canning Park.

"This is a wise choice," said Mr Lee, who delivered his message at Bay East Garden. "Here, looking across the bay and beyond, we can remember the values of our founding leaders, see what they have built and commit ourselves to continue building Singapore."

The 15-member committee in charge of conceptualising the memorial submitted its report to the Government last week. More than 32,000 people had given their views on the memorial over a period of two years.

The report, which was made public on Monday, recommended that the memorial sit by the waterfront, in a family-friendly park with a view of the city skyline showcasing Singapore's progress.

The memorial could be completed by 2025, in time to "capture public enthusiasm and hopes for the memorial" when Singapore's 60th year of independence comes around.

The committee suggested that the memorial have an indoor gallery with space for permanent and temporary sections. It could also house artefacts, said the panel, which proposed that the memorial's programming calendar dovetail with important events like National Day and climax in a Founders' Day or Week.

With the Government having given the green light, the project will now go into the implementation phase.

Professor Lily Kong, a committee member and cultural geographer, told The Straits Times that the committee is "very gratified that the Government has accepted the proposal, which reflects the desires of a lot of Singaporeans".

She said another committee will be formed to oversee the project. This new team, which would include some existing members of the current committee for continuity, will have to hold further consultations when conceptualising the memorial, she added.

Some things it will consider are the memorial's design features, its cost and funding, how to make the site accessible to visitors, and what other facilities could be built in the surrounding area, Prof Kong said.

In its report, the committee had noted that some visitors to an earlier showcase at Bay East Garden had highlighted the site's inaccessibility by public transport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Founders' Memorial: Govt gives nod for Bay East Garden site'. Print Edition | Subscribe