SINGAPORE - Once a sleepy fishing village, the Jurong Lake District is preparing for yet another reincarnation as a new gateway to Singapore - one which will create more jobs and new homes in a car-lite town of the future.
On Friday (Aug 25), the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) unveiled its draft masterplan to transform the industrial town into Singapore's second Central Business District (CBD), an ambitious undertaking that was first announced in 2008.
In a statement, URA said it will tap on the district's proximity to the upcoming High Speed Rail terminus and Tuas mega-port to create 100,000 new jobs, which could come from sectors like maritime, infrastructure and technology.
There are also plans to build 20,000 new homes and develop more parks and waterways. The new CBD, which will span 360 ha, will also be a car-lite town with energy-friendly infrastructure.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong noted at the launch of the Jurong Lake District masterplan at the URA Centre Atrium on Friday that Singapore is embarking on a new phase of infrastructure development in the coming decade.
He said that the Government is "not just building another ordinary district" with the Jurong Lake District. Instead, the Government is "creating a better, smarter and more sustainable business centre, which will provide more jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans".
The minister also pointed out that the district was close to industries and businesses in the west, and is located between Nanyang Technological University and National University Singapore.
"With industries and academia as close neighbours, Jurong Lake District can also become an innovative district for knowledge sharing and collaboration between the public and private sectors," he said.
The ideas for Jurong came about after consultations with public and private industry players. In February this year, a Dutch-led team was selected to help develop a detailed masterplan for the district. The team's proposals included interconnected parks, 30 to 40 storey-high buildings with rooftop gardens, and a canal that borders the district centre.
As the plans for the Jurong Lake District are expected to be fulfilled only in 2040 and beyond, the URA said on Friday it wants to give itself the flexibility to adapt to changing needs. For example, the area's grid structure means the Government can sell land parcels of varying sizes easily.
Most of the area will also be zoned "white", a flexible arrangement that allows a variety of land uses ranging from residential to business.
The URA is planning 16ha of new parks, which will include a Central Park above the HSR terminus, and the area around the former Jurong Town Hall. The High Speed Rail linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur will reduce travelling time between the two cities to 90 minutes, compared with about four hours by car now. Train services are targeted to start by Dec 31, 2026.
There will also be a "green connector loop" encircling the new business area, which could be used for sports and recreational activities. Coupled with the existing 90ha Jurong Lake Gardens, there will be more than 100ha of greenery in the district.
URA's proposals also call for a new water channel by the eastern shore of the lake, which will create another island in Jurong Lake, making a total of three islands after its completion. The other two islands are the Chinese Gardens and Japanese Gardens, which are part of the new Jurong Lake Gardens.
The design of the district will devote a "significant amount" of road space to public transport, as well as make more space for pedestrians, cyclists and personal mobility device users.
The goal: to encourage commuters to use public transport for eight out of 10 trips in the district, compared to 66 per cent of all trips on the island. This is believed to be the highest target set to date.
The agency is also looking at building at least four underground consolidated car parks, where every development is no more than 400m from such a hub, to reduce travelling time.
It is also exploring the idea of an offsite consolidation centre outside the district, where deliveries can be consolidated, minimising the number of trips made to the district. This would cut the number of delivery trucks by at least 65 per cent during peak hours, the URA said.
Other energy-friendly infrastructure innovations include a common services tunnel to house water pipes, telecommunications and power cables to minimise road disruptions; a pneumatic waste collection system to reduce vehicle movements in the district and maintain complete odour control; and a district-wide cooling system to pipe cool air directly to homes to save energy.
Where possible, these systems will be placed underground so that the land above can be used for homes, offices and parks, URA said.
The draft masterplan is exhibited at the URA Centre Atrium in Maxwell Road until Aug 31, and at Westgate Mall in Jurong East from Sept 8 to 17. Admission is free.
The plans can also be found online at www.jld.sg and members of the public can give their feedback on the website.