New Paper, 31 Mar 04
Road to link Sentosa
to St John? | Plans for the Southern Islands
| Visibility problems
Road to link Sentosa to St. John's Island?
by Teh Jen Lee
Bumped off a bumboat headed for St. John's? Fret not. One day you
could be taking a scenic drive from Orchard Road all the way to St.
John's and Lazarus Islands south of Singapore. Or walking to St. John's
With a land link, visitors could well drive from the city to the islands,
via Sentosa, in about 30 minutes. It's a possibility that is being
considered by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) as part of
a move to turn the Southern Islands into a world-class holiday resort,
it's spokesman told the New Paper: "A transport link is one of
the considerations we will look at as we study the development of
a world-class resort on the Southern Islands".
If the project gains momentum, industry experts forsee a road link
between Sentosa and the Southern Islands becoming a reality in just
3-5 years. Under the ambitious tourism plan disclosed by Trade and
Industry Minister George Yeo in Parliament earlier this month, this
chain of islands could be turned into a glamorous resort to attract
international jet-setters. It will have beaches, hotels, marinas,
sports complexes, convention centres, health spas, retail shops, restaurants,
theme attractions, and maybe even a casino.
BG Yeo mentioned Dubai's Palm Resort and the Bahamas' Atlantis when
he talked of what the new resort might look like. The development
would cover 500ha, which would make it about 10 times the size of
the Botanic Gardens.
A local reclamation expert, who has worked on the Southern Islands
project, told the New Paper that this can be done in 2 and a half
to 3 years, if material such as sand is available.
Before reclamation, the original size of the Southern Islands, consisting
of the two Sisters' Islands, St. John's Island, Lazarus Island, Pulau
Seringat, Kusu and Pulau Terkukor, was 108ha.
Some reclamation has been done since 2000 because of an earlier "resort-lifestyle"
plan that would cost $280million. But an MTI spokesman said that with
the new development, the plans for the Southern Islands will be "reviewed".
We contacted Mr Bernard Spoerry, who conceptualised the first Southern
Islands plan, to ask what the new plans could mean. The French architect,
who has been a consultant of the Singapore Tourism Board since 1990,
said: "The figure of 500ha is only consistent with the extension
of the Sentosa land mass all the way to the Southern Islands".
So the net effect of the reclamation could be a road from Sentosa
to the islands. Or it could be a causeway, like the $238-million one
linking the mainland and Jurong Island, a 3,200ha industrial complex
formed by the reclamation of seven islands.
Mr Spoerry said the idea of linking Sentosa and the Southern Islands
was discussed at length in the mid-90s. However, there was concern
that this would reduce tidal flow of water around Singapore harbour.
He said: "The water quality is fully dependent on the flushing
effect of tidal currents passing between Sentosa and the Southern
Islands. Without it, the water would just stagnate."
The MTI spokesman told the New Paper that the study of its plans will
take into consideration the various issues raised, including the marine
environment and nature conservation. This was done in 1997, when the
Housing Board engaged the National University of Singapore to carry
out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the neighbouring waters
and islands. She said: "The EIA covered water quality and the
coral reef community in these areas. If further reclamation is required,
an EIA will be carried out before the work commences."
She noted that the developments on the Southern Islands will make
Singapore a more vibrant and attractive place, and contribute to the
tourism industry and economic growth. The online Government consultation
portal is soliciting feedback for the project until Apr 16. Comments
can be submitted throught his website http://app.feedback.gov.sg/asp/dis/dis00.asp.
articles: Plans for the Southern Islands
| Visibility problems