Other than the upcoming Madonna concert and the TOTO grand prize, chatter online has mostly been about the construction of the Cross Island Line (CIL) that will go through Singapore’s last remaining green belt – The MacRitchie Central Catchment area.
Singaporeans were up in arms about the construction of the line that will impede on the nature reserve.
Too much has been lost in the name of progress they said.
Corals lost due to land reclamation
Forest cleared for housing and transport
An island that is all concrete and stone – save for a few sacred green spaces such as the MacRitche Central Catchment area and Bukit Timah nature reserve
Singapore is a garden city without gardens. (We had to spend millions just to build Gardens by the Bay and convince people that we are a green city).
We take heart that we are a bustling metropolis and a shining red dot – but perhaps the central catchment area is just not good enough for the lion city.
Callers berate the government in newspaper forum letters and radio programmes. They implored the Government to weigh the cost of their actions because once we lose the primary rainforest in MacRitchie, there is no getting them back. (And no Gardens by the Bay and its fancy lighted trees and waterfall are not even a worthy replacement).
Singapore is set to get denser in the coming years and transport lines will be a key factor in urban mobility. Overall, the views were mixed, with many questioning if construction was necessary and if we could divert the line elsewhere
Singapore’s Land Transport authority (LTA) was quick to make transparent on the findings of their Environmental Impact assessment on the land and emphasised that no decision has been made.
Seems to me that the LTA thoroughly understands the value of this natural heritage and are in extensive consultations with nature groups and other stakeholders to find the most viable solution, taking into account the environmental impact, commuters benefit, cost to taxpayers and impact to residents and businesses (land acquisition).
The LTA never said that they will be ploughing our natural heritage to make way for steels beams and concrete.
Instead (if you read their reports here) they said that they are looking at options to accomplish an engineering feat (like no other) that will marry both nature and urban mobility by building the transport lines beneath the central catchment area, incising through the hard bedrock like a surgeon with precision skills, causing minimal disruptions to the surrounding area. (i.e. its like you never knew its there in the first place!)
(Image from Lta.gov.sg)
Perhaps LTA could have communicated their intention and their methods better.
Attention should have been on their efforts to balance engineering feat and preserving the natural heritage, instead, headlines seems to suggest that they are making a u-turn on their decision because nature groups lobbied against them. (when in fact, preserving the central catchment area has been their main consideration all along)
Singapore spent decades molding its image as an Eco and a garden city and I do not think they will jeopardize decades of work and bulldoze through the nature reserve to cause irreversible damage.
Car-lite, Smart Nation, Eco-city.
This is Singapore for the future.
A better home for all (and you are damn right that nature are part of our plans)