A "good blend of something familiar, with many new elements which are exciting and fresh". That is how National Development Minister Lawrence Wong described the transformation that the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, over 40 years old now, will undergo.
The facelift will add community and nature spaces to both gardens, which will form the central portion of the future 90ha Jurong Lake Gardens, it was revealed yesterday at the start of a public exhibition showcasing the masterplans for the area. The gardens will nonetheless retain their iconic structures.
The project, which will start construction in end-2018 and be progressively completed from 2020, will create new spaces for park goers - such as a courtyard with a 3m-high waterfall, and an event lawn for up to 7,000 people.
These will be built around iconic landmarks such as the Chinese Garden's pagodas and Stone Boat.
From now till Dec 4, the public can visit an exhibition at the Canopy @ J Link in Jurong East and give National Parks Board (NParks) their views on the proposed plans. There, the public can also view plans for Jurong Lake Gardens' eastern section.
While it is "mostly a grass patch" now, Mr Wong said the plans being proposed will involve adding a waterfront promenade and amphitheatre, and a skate park at the northern tip. The area will also be home to the new Science Centre, expected to be ready in 2020.
The central and eastern parts of Jurong Lake Gardens will complement a western portion - undergoing construction - which will be ready in 2018.
Mr Wong said studies are being done to connect the Gardens around the perimeter, and link the three parts to form a 6km walking, jogging and cycling trail. "The only part that is missing is a plot of land, which is now the Jurong Country Club. But in the future, it will be the location of the High Speed Rail Terminus that connects to Kuala Lumpur," he said.
To help senior citizens, families with children and wheelchair users move about in the Jurong Lake Gardens, NParks will also look into options such as self-driving vehicles, buggies and shuttle buses.
Plans for the Jurong Lake Gardens Central and East were proposed by a team comprising Liu & Wo Architects, Landscape Design Inc and SALD.
SALD's director Chang Huai Yan said that in the team's proposal, plants have a practical role as well as an aesthetic one.Water lilies, for example, are used in aquatic gardens for "phytoremediation", tapping the plants' natural processes to take up contaminants from the lake's water.