SINGAPORE - Beyond being a test bed for new technologies like driverless vehicles, and transforming itself into a bustling retail and commercial centre, Jurong will be getting a green makeover.
The Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden and Jurong Lake Park will be merged into a single set of gardens.
The new gardens, to be named the Jurong Lake Gardens, will be made into a "people's garden" - bigger and perhaps even better than the 62ha Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In his National Day Rally speech yesterday, he said the new gardens will also be linked up with existing amenities.
These include the islandwide Park Connector Network and Jurong River. More housing will also be built in the industrial land down south, around Pandan Reservoir, before they are integrated into the Jurong Lake District.
PM Lee noted that both the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden were dated and underutilised, with few visitors during a recent visit in June. This is unlike Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, where thousands go daily, he added.
NParks will invite design ideas for the gardens next year.
There will also be a new Science Centre which will be extended into the Jurong Lake Gardens. The plan is for the new Science Centre to be built near Chinese Garden MRT station. Even though the centre has educated and entertained Singaporeans for almost 40 years and remains popular, it can be made better, said PM Lee.
Estimated to be completed around 2020, it will have an entirely new concept and will be a "jewel" in Jurong, he added.
PM Lee also said that Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, which was supposed to be completed in December, will have its opening pushed back by about six months due to construction delays.
These announcements come on the back of Jurong Gateway's transformation in recent years. Once seen as the poorer cousin of Tampines because of its industrial estates, the area has undergone a makeover, with malls such as Westgate and Jem sprouting up.
The Big Box Warehouse Retail Outlet, which will house electronics and furniture companies as well as a hypermart, will open next year.
PM Lee acknowledged that traffic in the area is an issue, but said efforts are under way to improve the capacity of the existing North-South and East-West lines. He also said that the Jurong Region Line and Cross-Island Line will be built.
Get MyPaper for more stories.