Speech by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at Ubin Day 2020 on 26 September 2020.
I am speaking to you from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. a) From where I am, Pulau Ubin is only a bumboat ride away.
Today is Ubin Day.
Since 2014, Ubin Day has served as an “open house” for Singaporeans to discover what the island has to offer.
Whether it is nature walks, heritage tours, or cycling off the beaten track, there is something for every family.
This year’s activities have been modified so that everyone can explore the island safely.
I enjoyed visiting Ubin, to meet our residents, local businesses and community groups.
Many of them are part of the Friends of Ubin Network. This Network is a tightly-knit community of passionate individuals, who come together to preserve Ubin’s culture, heritage, and rich biodiversity.
The Network brings together diverse perspectives, expand our common space through dialogue, and turn good ideas into action. The Friends of Ubin Network has implemented many programmes over the years, including Ubin Day itself!
This is the spirit of Singapore Together. And I hope we can partner more Singaporeans to build our future Singapore.
Beyond the jetty is Changi Beach Park, one of our oldest coastal parks. It is a popular spot for family picnics and swims, and a running route with great coastal views.
Today, we have more than 350 parks across our island, and pervasive greening of our streets and some of our buildings. This came about because of the foresight of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and through careful planning and hard work over the years.
Successive generations of Singaporeans have contributed to making Singapore greener.
Today, we are one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Singaporeans have taken to our nature reserves and parks. We have seen a significant increase in visitorship.
As we emerge from this crisis, we must continue to grow, and even accelerate, our greening efforts.
In the next bound of this journey, we are working to transform Singapore into a City in Nature, where we will redouble efforts to integrate nature into our urban environment, and intensify nature in our city.
Today, I am very happy to share with you our plans to further transform the eastern part of Singapore.
Many of us have not only visited Pulau Ubin and Changi Beach Park, but also East Coast Park – our largest and most visited park. As part of our enhancements, we will be creating a new central green corridor connecting East Coast Park to Changi Beach Park. This new corridor will run along New Upper Changi Road and Loyang Way.
We will also build a network of community corridors to link the central green corridor to other parks and gardens.
These corridors will be planted with lush greenery for a cooler and more comfortable experience for pedestrians and cyclists.
A variety of native trees and shrubs will be planted to resemble the look and feel of natural forests along these corridors. These corridors will also connect our pockets of green space and enhance their overall biodiversity.
New nature-based amenities will also be built and connected to the network of corridors.
There will be more community gardens in our neighbourhoods.
We will build more therapeutic gardens in our parks. Coupled with therapeutic horticulture programmes, these gardens will enable our residents, especially our seniors, to enjoy better well-being. We will also build nature playgardens to grow our children’s love for nature through play. Inclusive playgrounds will also be built so that all children can play together, regardless of their physical abilities.
I look forward to partnering our people, especially residents of East Coast, to turn these plans into reality. We will reach out to you soon to gather your ideas and vision for these green spaces. This will be an opportunity for us to work together to turn ideas into action, develop programmes for our green spaces, and for our residents to take greater ownership of these spaces.
We will also be organising community tree-planting activities as part of the One Million Trees movement. And I encourage you to take part – plant a tree for future generations to enjoy.
I invite all of you to join us on this journey to transform Singapore into a City in Nature, and to build a greener, more caring and vibrant East Coast.
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