Punggol Vision A Step Closer

As published in The Straits Times
15 Aug 09 (Saturday)


By Jessica Cheam

It has so far offered about 6,500 new flats in Punggol since it unveiled grand plans for the former fishing village to become the only waterfront public housing project in August 2007. -- PHOTO: NP
THE date is March 2011. From an elevated viewing platform at Punggol Point, residents are looking out onto tranquil waters, and strolling along a sandy beach while enjoying the sea breeze.

Along a 4.9 kilometre promenade which begins here, they can also access playgrounds, fitness corners, fishing spots and even a horse riding school, flanked by eateries on this route which are set alight when the sun sets.

This $16.7 million Punggol Promenade - part of the grand vision to transform the former backwater village into Singapore's iconic suburban waterfront town - took a step closer to reality yesterday as construction began.

With this ground-breaking, 'we are one step closer to realising the vision of Punggol as a beautiful waterfront town with an array of leisure opportunities,' said Deputy Prime Minister Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday at the ceremony. 'We're all very excited by... the developments.'

He noted that fresh plans for the walkway, released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday, had integrated feedback from residents such as including fitness corners along the route.

This walkway is part of a 150km 'round-island route' which will allow users walk, cycle, or jog around the whole island eventually - connecting Singaporeans 'not only psychologically, but physically', added Mr Teo.

He was accompanied by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, north-east district mayor Teo Ser Luck, and MPs from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC at the ceremony.

Developments in Punggol have accelerated in the last two years since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered a new vision for it - called Punggol 21-plus - in his 2007 National Day Rally speech.

It has not always been smooth sailing for Punggol, which more than 10 years ago had a population of only 500. The vision for its transformation began as early as 1996, when it was announced by then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong.

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