SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) will take over as the central managing agency for Pulau Ubin, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced at Ubin Day celebrations on the island on Saturday morning (Jun 4).
The island is currently managed by 12 agencies with technical and land ownership responsibilities, including Land Transport Authority (LTA) and national water agency PUB.
For example, the Pekan Quarry is managed by PUB, the National Environment Agency manages the drains on the island, while LTA handles the roads and bridges.
With the centralised management of the island, NParks hopes to respond more quickly and directly to issues raised by residents and visitors to the island.
"NParks will be able to respond more quickly to queries and issues raised by residents and members of the public, instead of having to refer these queries to other agencies," Mr Wong said.
He added: "NParks' entire DNA is about nature and greenery. And it has the expertise, it has the people who can conserve and enhance the rich biodiversity we have in Ubin. So we are very happy that NParks will now take charge of the entire Ubin Island, which means going beyond the park-related, nature-related portfolio.
"It will look at roads, buildings, being the central agency, overseeing everything that's related to Pulau Ubin ... it will also look at how to have a better overview of all the activities on Pulau Ubin. It will also look at how to facilitate ground-up projects."
The idea to designate NParks as the central managing agency for Pulau Ubin was first raised by the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN).
The handover of the island will be done in phases and NParks will take over fully as the central agency by mid-2017.
About 3,000 visitors joined in the fifth Ubin Day celebrations on Saturday. It is supported by more than 10 community groups, including Singapore Heritage Society and Nature Society (Singapore).
Members of the public were treated to kampong games and tours, cycling and kayak trips, and even took part in coastal cleanups and did some nature sketching.
This year, Ubin Day is part of a month-long series of events called "Pesta Ubin", that celebrates the heritage of the island.