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The New Paper, 31 Mar 04

Road to link Sentosa to St John? | Plans for the Southern Islands | Visibility problems

Various plans for Southern Islands
by Teh Jen Lee

Before BG George Yeo's announcement, there had been various plans for the islands. The first were conceived in 1989, with the Government agreeing to fund the project in 1996. However, the development was delayed.

In 1999, the Urban Redevelopment Authority's plan was to use reclaimed land for a marine village resort.

In 2000, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) proposed converting the islands into an Asian version of Capri, an idyllic resort off the west coast of Italy. The islands of St. John's, Lazarus and Pulau Seringat would be linked through land reclamation and the building of two causeways. The three islands total 88 ha, with 34ha of reclaimed land to be added.

While 80% of the forests would be retained, there would also be a five-star 290-room hilltop hotel, a three-star 170-room beachfront hotel, 70 waterfront homes and 1,700 units of housing. Costing $280 million, it would bring in $460 million in land sales an dup to $600 million in construction business, said STB.

Based on 1999 tourism figures, STB had anticipated that 5% of the 7 million visitors to Singapore would visit the islands. Nearly 7 out of 10 would spend one or two nights there.

The islands were also touted as a nature park for Singaporean day-trippers a year later.

In 2001, STB also said eco-tourism capitalising on the species-rich forest and coral reefs would take priority, with resort development following only when the economy improved.

Related articles: Road to link Sentosa to St John? | Visibility problems

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