Water sports site 'good news'

Associations say new NS Square facility will widen venue choices and also spur interest

Several national sports associations have welcomed the prospect of a new water sports facility to be located at the future NS Square at Marina Bay.

The new building is set to replace The Float @ Marina Bay, built initially as a temporary National Day Parade venue while the new National Stadium was under construction.

The Straits Times reported on Monday the NS Square - a new, permanent space - is targeted to be completed and handed over by the third quarter of 2025.

One of the requirements stated in the tender documents is for a waterfront sports facility, a multi-purpose field with turfing converted from the stage area when it is not required for events, and a gym space comprising an open hall and studio spaces.

ST understands the water sports facility will complement existing facilities in the precinct for athletes and recreational users.

Besides the DBS Marina Bay Sailing Programme, the area also hosts the annual DBS Marina Regatta, which attracts more than 100 international and local teams.

Singapore Canoe Federation (SCF) president Yip Kwan Guan said yesterday: "This is definitely good news for the local water sports scene in terms of providing more space for training and competition, even if Marina Bay is not as big as the Marina Channel, which was the 1km race site during the 2015 SEA Games.

"However, at such an early stage, we are not sure what the masterplan is, and if canoeing is one of the sports involved; we will have to study how to make the area conducive for training and competition."

The SCF and the Singapore Dragon Boat Association (SDBA) use four sites at the Marina Reservoir: Geylang River, Kallang River, Marina Channel and Kallang Basin. The latter is where the Sports Hub Water Sports Centre and Kallang Water Sports Centre are located.

Despite their proximity to the NS Square, SDBA general manager Raizal Abdol Jalil said there is no fear of an oversupply of similar offerings.

ADDED OPTION

It would be good news for the local dragon boat scene if we are given a base to enter Marina Bay, as we currently need permission from PUB for dragon boat activities there due to the motorised vessel traffic there.

RAIZAL ABDOL JALIL, SDBA general manager, on the new centre complementing existing ones.

Take-up rates for dragon boat programmes at the Kallang Water Sports Centre, a facility shared by SCF and SDBA, are as high as 90 per cent on regular weekends and weekdays during school holidays.

Raizal said: "It would be good news for the local dragon boat scene if we are given a base to enter Marina Bay, as we currently need permission from (national water agency) PUB for dragon boat activities there due to the motorised vessel traffic there.

"There is a beautiful ambience with the Marina Bay skyline, and having a dragon boat facility at Marina Bay will help us be more visible in the area and hopefully attract more interest and investment in the sport.

"It is also more practical and convenient for novice dragon boaters who want to enjoy the skyline, as a base at the NS Square would be at the Marina Bay doorstep.

"Beginners may not be able to handle the current 10km journey from the Kallang Water Sports Centre to Marina Bay and back."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Water sports site 'good news''. Print Edition | Subscribe