SINGAPORE - The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a "little jewel in the middle of the city" which must be expanded and nurtured, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday.
As he opened the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum, PM Lee laid out the many plans the Government has for the Gardens, which include expanding it and adding new attractions.
"We have a little, beautiful jewel in the middle of our city for us to enjoy and treasure, develop and improve. So we have to continue to expand and nurture the Botanic Gardens, to make sure it remains a beautiful landmark for generations to come," he said.
The Gardens will be increased by a sixth in size to about 74ha, after the merger of a 9.8ha plot of state land across Tyersall Avenue. This new area will be called the Tyersall Learning Forest.
While the expansion was originally slated for completion in 2015 after a one-year delay, PM Lee said yesterday it is now being targeted for completion in 2016.
The Straits Times understands it is related to plans for a stormwater detention pond under a carpark at the extension.
The Jacob Ballas Children's Garden will also be doubled in size to 4ha, and a new Ethnobotany Garden will be planted to showcase how plants were used in the past.
The Prime Minister also shared personal memories of the Gardens, which he said is a place he has been going to since he was a child, and continues to go to today.
He called on Singaporeans to get involved in public consultations as the Gardens prepares for its bid to be a Unesco World Heritage site. "I hope Singaporeans participate fully and support this national effort, and get us onto the list."