SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joined some 1,500 Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West SMC residents on Sunday (Nov 4) morning at an annual tree planting event, where new facilities for the neighbourhood were also unveiled.
Armed with shovels, PM Lee and fellow Ang Mo Kio GRC MPs, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Mr Ang Hin Kee, Mr Gan Thiam Poh and Sengkang West MP Lam Pin Min braved the sun to plant seven Agathis borneensis trees, commonly known as the Borneo Kauri or Malayan Kauri, in front of Block 405A Fernvale Lane in Sengkang.
At the event, residents also took part in a family carnival, which featured game booths and performances.
PM Lee also unveiled a new sheltered linkway that will allow residents of the Fern Spring and Fern View estates bounded by Fernvale Lane and Fernvale Road to access the nearby bus stop along Yio Chu Kang Road.
It links the third storey of the multi-storey carpark at Block 404 Fernvale Lane to the bus stop.
Mr Gan, who oversees the Sengkang South division, said that the linkway project was a community initiative mooted last year by grassroots leaders, who raised a sum of $388,000 to build the linkway, which was completed just last week.
As most of the housing blocks are built on a slope, residents will normally have to walk up a 40-step staircase from the ground floor of the carpark to reach the top of the slope, where the bus stop is located .
But the linkway will allow them to take a lift to the third storey of the adjacent carpark and get to the bus stop without having to climb any steps.
"This is part of plans to make the neighbourhood more accessible for elderly residents and families with young children in prams," he said. About 1,600 households live in the Fern Spring and Fern View estates.
Retiree Teng Mei Foong, 65, a former garment factory worker, is glad to see the new linkway.
She said: "Walking up the stairs is very tiring for older people like us and residents have been complaining about this for the past four years or so. Now it'll be easier to get to the bus stop when I go to Chinatown for errands, or when I go to visit my relatives."
On Sunday morning, Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, also planted a tree.
She planted a coconut tree at the open space behind the multi-storey car park at Block 108 Spottiswoode Park at an event organised by the Tanjong Pagar Spottiswoode Park Residents' Committee.
Another coconut tree, which was first planted by the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1990, was also transplanted to the same as its former site would be affected by construction work for the upcoming Cantonment MRT station on the Circle Line.
Ms Indranee said the tree planting tradition, started by Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1963 to create a greener Singapore, has taken on added significance in view of climate change.
Just last month, a report published by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that the world has to take radical action to avert climate calamity.
She said: "Today's occasion reminds the current generation and future generations of the importance of keeping the planet green. Planting more trees helps the Earth to breathe, (and) that's what we want to do."