SINGAPORE - Construction of the Punggol Regional Sports Centre (RSC), originally scheduled to be ready by 2023, will start as soon as possible but may take longer than planned due to the coronavirus outbreak, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said in a virtual media interview on Monday (June 22).
The new facility will have a 5,000-seater football stadium, a swimming complex with five pools, an indoor sports hall with 20 badminton courts and a team sports hall with three convertible basketball courts. It will also include a gym, fitness studio, sheltered tennis and futsal courts, a water activity centre and an archery training centre.
Ms Fu noted the possibility of making the RSC more pandemic proof, citing examples like designing with the idea of compartmentalising facilities better so that various parts can be shut out if needed.
She said: "When it gets into detailed designs, we will get lessons from the pandemic to make the facilities more resilient."
Residents in Bishan and Toa Payoh can look forward to the Toa Payoh Integrated Development, which will be developed over the next 10 years and will have a sport centre, polyclinic, library and town park.
It and the Punggol RSC are a part of the Sports Facilities Master Plan, a key initiative of national sports blueprint Vision 2030 and are covered by the $400 million that is pumped into developing the sports sector annually.
The Toa Payoh project is a multi-agency collaboration comprising Sport Singapore (SportSG), the Ministry of Health, National Library Board and National Parks Board. More information about it will be announced at a later date.
During the 50-minute session, Ms Fu also elaborated on the measures to support the local sports industry adversely impacted by the Covid-19 contagion.
MCCY and national agency SportSG have reached out to over 500 companies and over 10,000 freelancers like coaches in the sector to understand their challenges and the latter has rolled out measures worth $23 million to help those affected.
These include the $3 million Enterprise, Innovation and Capability grant, the $2 million Active Enabler Programme, digital content initiatives and training opportunities.
SportSG has also created 900 temporary jobs - up from the initial 500 - and more than 85 per cent of these vacancies have been filled.
Applicants have been deployed to work at sports centres that are functioning as foreign worker dormitories for essential workers who do not have Covid-19 or assigned to more specialised roles in the ActiveSG academies and clubs, high performance sports and digital development.
Ms Fu also highlighted the importance of staying physically active for Singaporeans and its benefits towards physical and mental health.
SportSG unveiled its latest national sports participation survey and noted the number of Singaporeans who actively participate in sports rose from 54 per cent in 2015 to 66 per cent last year.
In the first quarter of this year, this figure reached a high of 73 per cent although it dipped during the circuit breaker period, which lasted from April 7 to June 1.
Ms Fu said: "We want to see how we can enable more Singaporeans to do that so it is our objective to make available more facilities in a safe way. If we are able to keep the infection down, Singaporeans can look forward to more programmes, more facilities and larger infrastructure over the next few years."
Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.