SINGAPORE – The 60ha Lakeside Garden, one of three within the 90ha Jurong Lake Gardens, has been fully redeveloped with the completion of the northern section.
Among its key features is a 17,000 sq m skate park, the largest outdoor skate park here.
The skate park, located in the northern section of Lakeside Garden, is about the size of two football fields, and is the first in Singapore with a parkour park and a bouldering wall.
Speaking at the opening on Saturday, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said the skate park was developed in consultation with the skateboarding community.
“The Jurong Lake Gardens is Singapore’s third national gardens and the first in our heartland. We started work to rejuvenate and enhance these gardens more than 10 years ago, in 2012,” said Mr Lee, who is also Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration.
The other national gardens are Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay.
“We reached out to residents and stakeholders and consulted extensively on the design of the area, gathering close to 32,000 suggestions,” said Mr Lee. “We carefully studied these ideas and incorporated a number of them in our plans to create a space that Singaporeans of all ages and abilities can enjoy.
“The design of the Lakeside Garden, which was opened in 2019, centres around the themes of nature, play and the community. We developed this sensitively to retain the area’s quiet serenity, while injecting spaces to meet community and recreational needs.”
Besides the skate park, some other features include the Grasslands, a popular spot for photos, and a nature play garden for children, which at 2ha to 3ha is the largest in the heartland.
Lakeside Garden is also home to Singapore’s largest allotment garden, with over 300 plots for those with a green thumb, added Mr Lee.
The new active zone in the northern section, located next to Lakeside MRT station, offers more recreational options set within lush green space.
More than 180 members from the skateboarding, in-line skating, cycling and parkour communities contributed to the design of the skate park through consultations and workshops held from 2018 to 2023.
Mr Lee said: “One popular suggestion we received was to have a sheltered area for skaters. We have therefore created the sheltered Plaza Pod that we are standing in now. Another suggestion was to create spaces for skaters of different skill levels so that both beginners and advanced skaters can use these facilities, interact and exchange tips. We have taken this on board.”
The NParks tapped experts from Convic Design, a professional skate park design company from Australia.
The park has five skate pods with names like Learn to Skate Pod, Skate Drain Pod, Mini Bowl Pod, Big Bowl Pod and Plaza Pod to cater to skaters of varying skill levels. These pods are designed with various obstacles such as deep bowls, ramps and edges posing different challenges to skateboarders.
Polytechnic student Janiel Irishzan, 21, said: “This skate park is very different from all the others we have in Singapore. Compared with the one at Somerset, this has more flow.”
Mr Janiel started skateboarding around the age of 10 and said it has helped to shape his character.
“It teaches you about patience and not to give up easily. You need to persevere and keep trying to be able to perform a trick (stunt),” said Mr Janiel, who has travelled to South Korea, Bali, Malaysia and Batam to take part in skateboarding competitions.
Student Oliver Sung, 15, who started skateboarding three years ago, said he did not mind travelling from his home near Clarke Quay to Lakeside Garden because he likes the space at the Plaza Pod and its shelter.
Earlier phases of Lakeside Garden’s redevelopment involved the restoration of a freshwater swamp forest, as well as grassland and wetland trails. These attractions were completed in 2019 and the garden has since drawn more than 17 million visitors, said the National Parks Board (NParks).
The Lakeside Green, a 4,000 sq m lawn area, has a unique waterfront venue for performances and community activities. Other amenities include the Rainforest Pavilion, a cafe which also sells skateboarding accessories, and a pet-friendly Starbucks outlet at the Lakeside House.
The Chinese and Japanese Gardens, which are scheduled to reopen in 2024, are also part of Jurong Lake Gardens.
Jurong Lake Gardens is the first here to implement the Integrated Gardens Management System, which uses smart technology for sustainable operations.
“For example, weather information is collected by a weather station within the gardens and used by a smart irrigation system that allows lawns to be automatically watered during hot or dry periods,” said Mr Lee.
Jurong Lake Gardens is part of a broader effort to develop Jurong Lake District as an urban centre outside the downtown area to bring jobs, amenities and recreational options closer to homes.
Ms Kartini Omar, NParks group director of parks development and Jurong Lake Gardens, said: “In designing the gardens, we aimed to create a space which Singaporeans of all ages can enjoy, and its key themes are nature, community and play. For example, we have provided various park features in Lakeside Garden, including a nature play garden for children, allotment gardening plots for avid gardeners, and a therapeutic garden with sections for adults and children.”