SINGAPORE: A Pulau Ubin accommodation that has been closed for years is being demolished to make way for an environmental research lab.
The Ubin Living Lab, which opened in 2016, is an integrated facility for field studies, environmental education, research and community outreach.
It currently occupies 2.1ha of the former Celestial Resort site. When completed, the living lab will span 5.4ha.
When CNA visited on Wednesday (Jun 9), a section of the site was marked the Ubin Living Lab. Other areas were disused and appeared to be in the early stages of demolition.
Most of the remaining buildings were still standing, although some of the doors and windows had been taken out. One part of the site was being torn down by a crane and three excavators.
Located at the southwestern part of Pulau Ubin, the former Celestial Resort used to house visitors looking to stay the night on the island. The last time it posted on its Facebook page was in 2012.
The lab was first announced in November 2014 as one of the National Parks Board's (NParks) initiatives for The Ubin Project, which aims to preserve the island’s natural environment, biodiversity and heritage.
According to NParks’ website, the main block of the Ubin Living Lab houses a field studies laboratory, meeting and seminar rooms, as well as two dormitories. There is also an NParks office and first-aid room for visitors who need assistance.
Another building, named the Hall Block, has a multipurpose hall for group activities, as well as a dedicated space with wood-working equipment and workbenches to support the restoration of kampung houses by the community.
The Endut Senin Campsite can accommodate up to 100 campers, while a mangrove arboretum showcases a living collection of mangrove plant species that are native to Singapore.
“This new facility will be a catalyst for community participation in conserving the island’s biodiversity and heritage and promoting sustainability, through citizen science programmes, outdoor camps and scientific research,” said NParks in 2016.
Three years later, it announced work to improve accessibility, including a wheelchair-friendly floating pontoon jetty, which has “calmer waters and facilities to accommodate wheelchair users and persons with low mobility”.
“The floating pontoon jetty at ULL (Ubin Living Lab) will also enhance boarding safety for these users and act as an alternative access point for other groups to easily reach areas in Pulau Ubin designed for learning,” said NParks in 2019.