BY JUNE 2011, Pasir Ris will be home to Singapore's first "green" sports complex, which will have environment- friendly and energy-saving features.
The 1.4ha complex - the size of about two football fields - will have solar panels to save on energy use, walls covered with plants to cool the air naturally, and a rainwater- harvesting system to trap water that can be used to water plants, among other features.
Most sports complexes here have just two or three "green" features, such as energy-efficient fittings, but this new one will have at least five, said Mr Kenneth Hui, chief of sports-facilities group at the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), which runs public sports complexes here.
The "green" electrical equipment alone can help save up to 15 per cent in operating costs, he added.
Yesterday, construction of the complex began after a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan, Members of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and the SSC's senior management.
Mr Teo, who is also an MP for the area, said: "Residents have long expressed a need for a proper sports centre with more purpose- built facilities."
The complex will be a "convenient place where residents can unwind after a hard day's work, or go to with their families and friends for sporting fun during weekends", he said.
It is not clear how much of the $40-million budget will go towards eco-friendly features, but "as much as possible will be set aside to put in the green features", Mr Hui said.
The actual number of such features will be finalised in about six to nine months' time.
The SSC aims for the complex to attain the Building and Construction Authority's Green Mark platinum award, the highest accolade given to environment-friendly buildings here.
The complex will be equipped with a multi-purpose sports hall that can seat up to 2,000 spectators, three swimming pools, a gymnasium and a dance studio.
Its two outdoor tennis courts and indoor volleyball court will meet international standards.
The volleyball court will have a 12.5m-high ceiling, instead of the usual 9m-high one, which will allow international competitions to be held there.
It will also have 950 sq m of retail shops and food-and-beverage outlets.
The SSC will bring in shops that complement those in nearby shopping mall White Sands, so that "residents will get things they don't get there", Mr Hui said.
Sales executive Ang Gek Yew, 44, is looking forward to the new swimming pools, which would be a five-minute walk from his flat.
He said: "We live 10 minutes away from water-theme park Wild Wild Wet, but it's not practical to take my kids there all the time because of the entrance fee.
"Having this new complex will be...much more convenient."
For more my paper stories click here.