SINGAPORE - A new Jurong Lake Gardens will be created in western Singapore by combining the existing Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden and Jurong Lake Park, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The upcoming "people's garden" will also include a new Science Centre which will be completed around 2020.
These developments are about "making every corner of Singapore an outstanding living environment", he said as he sketched plans to transform the Jurong Lake District in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday night.
The area has come far from its origins as a swamp decades ago, he said. Part of the area - Jurong Gateway - is now a new commercial region with several institutes and shopping malls.
But the other part, known as Lakeside, has gardens which have not changed much in years and seem under-utilised, despite being pretty and peaceful, PM Lee said.
He spoke on some transformations he had in mind, including reshaping the lake and merging the gardens to "create one beautiful set of gardens in the heartlands".
A call for garden design ideas will go out in 2015, and PM Lee encouraged Singaporeans to chip in: "These are your gardens; we want to hear from you."
He promised that the new gardens will be well-integrated with its surroundings, including the park connector network, spruced up Jurong River, and housing.
There are some flats in the area, and there are plans to build more Housing Board homes to the north. More housing will also be built around Pandan Reservoir when some of the industrial leases there run out over the next 20 to 30 years, he added.
The Jurong Region Line and Cross-Island Line will improve traffic flow in Jurong, he said, as will the ongoing improvements to the North-South and East-West MRT lines.
PM Lee also spoke about "even bolder possibilities" such as shifting the Ayer-Rajah Expressway southward to create more lakeside housing. Singapore's terminal of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail may even be situated in Jurong.
"One day, the High Speed Rail may come to Jurong ... and I've told (Malaysian) Prime Minister Najib (Razak) that in Singapore, why don't we site the terminus in the Jurong Lake District. So we're discussing with the Malaysians," he said.
"We haven't settled this yet, but if we get the High Speed Rail terminus in the Jurong Lake District, then that will make Jurong a truly exciting gateway to Singapore."