'Venice of Punggol' opens

Housing estate Punggol saw a new addition to its facilities today when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the Punggol Waterway.

Speaking at the opening, PM Lee said he was happy to witness the completion of the waterway, which some call 'Venice of Punggol'.

He recounted how it was a long journey to complete the waterway, after initial plans for Punggol 21 were affected by the Asian financial crisis.

However, the plans for the waterway were revisited and improved after the economy recovered.
PM Lee said in his speech that Punggol Waterway was a central feature of the Punggol 21 Plus plan to transform Punggol into the "Waterfront Town of the 21st Century".

He also said there will be 23,000 families living in Punggol by the end of 2011, with a new commercial hub and town plaza by Punggol MRT by 2015.

The project cements Punggol's claims as Singapore's first 'eco-precinct', where every aspect, from building orientation to solar panels to rainwater harvesting, is based on sustainability.

PM Lee said he hoped Punggol residents would treasure their new surroundings as it was doubtful such a waterway could be built in other estates.

The Government will also be investing $10 billion over the next 10 years in upgrading projects to improve living conditions in older estates like Yishun and East Coast.

He also asked for Singaporeans' support and residents' partnership in these upgrading projects.

paullim@sph.com.sg

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