New Labrador Nature Park network to be established, adding more parks and 30km of nature trails, park connectors
SINGAPORE: A new Labrador Nature Park network with more than 200 hectares of green spaces will be established, adding 30km to Singapore’s nature trails and park connectors, the Minister for National Development Desmond Lee announced on Tuesday (Apr 12).
This is almost 1.5 times the size of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, he noted.
The new nature park network will include core habitats like Labrador Nature Reserve, the mature secondary forests along the Southern Ridges, as well as the surrounding green spaces like Labrador Nature Park, Berlayer Creek and Pasir Panjang Park, said Mr Lee.
The green spaces set aside on the Keppel Club site will also be a part of the network, he added.
On Tuesday, Mr Lee announced that about 6,000 Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats will be built there, with the first Build-To-Order project expected to launch in three years.
The ministry’s ecological profiling exercise showed that the Keppel Club site serves as an “important ecological connection” between the mature secondary forests along the Southern Ridges and Labrador Nature Reserve, said Mr Lee.
Within the Keppel Club site, about 10 hectares of green spaces will be set aside as parks and open land, amounting to 20 per cent of the area, or 18 football fields, he added.
“These green spaces will form four green fingers through the estate, which will serve both as habitats and connecting pathways for flora and fauna to surrounding nature areas, and as recreational spaces for residents as well.”
The ecological profiling exercise also revealed “important ecological connectors” between the Southern Ridges and the Labrador Nature Reserve, across parts of Alexandra through Keppel Club, and the forested area at Berlayer Creek, said Mr Lee.
These corridors will be strengthened through the network, by introducing several new green spaces that make up more than 25 hectares, he added.
These include a new nature park along Alexandra Stream, a new extension of Pasir Panjang Park, a new nature park at Berlayer Creek, and a new park at King’s Dock, on top of the spaces set aside at the Keppel Club site, said Mr Lee.
“We will also restore and enhance existing habitats at the Labrador Nature Reserve, including the coastal hill and coastal beach forest,” he added.
The new nature park network will add close to 30km of new nature trails, park connectors and nature ways, said Mr Lee.
“This will provide a total of 40km of such spaces for Singaporeans to explore in that area,” he added.
MND commissioned an environmental impact study covering about 77.8 hectares, to ensure that the development plans are “sensitive to the surrounding terrestrial and coastal environments”, he added.
The study found that the site contains more than 390 plant species and 380 fauna species, and most of them were found in three areas of high conservation value, said HDB in a separate fact sheet.
This includes a native-dominated secondary forest at Bukit Chermin and the mangrove forest abutting Berlayer Creek, which is one of the two mangrove habitats in the south of mainland Singapore.
A native-dominated secondary forest refers to forests regrown on sites cleared before the 1950s, and are dominated by native tree species.
The third area is made up of the Seagrass meadows and rocky shore habitats formed naturally in the marine coastal area, which are utilised by many flora and fauna species, said HDB.
“Other mitigating measures” will be adopted to minimise the potential impact on flora and fauna in the surrounding areas, it said in the fact sheet.
“We will also phase clearance activities to avoid the bird breeding season, as well as conduct shepherding of wildlife before site clearance. Tree protection zones will also be set up to protect large trees,” said HDB.
It added that it will put in place an environmental monitoring and management plan to ensure the effectiveness of the mitigation measures, and closely monitor and manage any potential environmental impact arising from the infrastructure and building works.
Mr Lee added: “When we need land to meet our development needs, we strive to make good use of brownfield sites first where possible.
“And even in doing so, we remain sensitive to surrounding natural areas, and are conscious of minimising the environmental impact should we need to develop greenfield sites. And we use a science-based approach to identify and enhance ecological connectivity throughout our city.”
The development at the Keppel Club site and the wider nature park network exemplifies this approach, he added.
“Working with our community to weave nature into our urban fabric. Transforming Singapore into a City in Nature, where our people and our biodiversity can thrive side by side.”