Wanted: Ideas for facilities at new Bukit Timah park

SINGAPORE – Members of the public can have a say in deciding the kind of facilities the upcoming linear park along Bukit Timah Canal will have.

A six-week public consultation process by the National Parks Board (NParks) is under way, as part of efforts to gather ideas from the public about the design and management of the Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor.

The corridor, first announced in August 2019, will be constructed in phases. The first phase – a 1km-long stretch from Rifle Range Road to Jalan Kampong Chantek – is set to be completed by 2025, barring any construction delays arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Plans for the corridor to eventually reach the Kallang Riverside Park – making the stretch 11km long – are being explored.

NParks’ group director of parks development Kartini Omar told The Straits Times last week that the consultation seeks public input on ways to beautify the park, as well as ideas for facilities to enhance the area as a community space.

Feedback that will make the corridor more accessible to different segments of the community is also welcome.

She added that such engagements are part of NParks’ routine for park developments, giving the community an opportunity to work with the board on the creation of parks with facilities that meet its needs.

Current plans are for the corridor’s first phase to be an elevated sky park above the canal, which will connect to the Rail Corridor near the former Bukit Timah Railway Station.

Subsequent phases will see the corridor either elevated or at ground level, and are subject to further study.

NParks is also working with national water agency PUB to ensure that the corridor’s construction will dovetail with canal improvement works along Bukit Timah Road.

Lookout points, shelters and seats will be located across the park for visitors to rest and enjoy the view, while features like bird nesting boxes will encourage wildlife to also utilise the corridor, which NParks said will be designed to resemble a tropical riverine forest.

The corridor is proposed to be 3.5m wide, with wheelchair-friendly access points via existing pedestrian overhead bridges at Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road.

NParks has said that elevated sections of the corridor will likely be made pedestrian-only, with cyclists encouraged to use the existing Coast-to-Coast Central Trail along Bukit Timah Road, which will run parallel to the corridor.

Those who wish to provide feedback during the consultation may either sign up for virtual focus group discussions or complete an online survey.

Mr Tan Wee Yeow, who has already taken part in these discussions, said he felt the consultative approach is important as it gives park users a voice.

“Gathering ideas from a diverse group of users is good, but these will be wasted if not implemented and realised,” the 62-year-old retiree said.

He also suggested designating “advocates” from within NParks for various user groups, such as wheelchair users or families with young children, who would represent each group throughout the design and implementation phases, to ensure that their needs are met.

Details on the consultations are available at this website.

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