By Amit Roy Choudhury
FOUR government agencies have together set in motion a plan to transform Yishun Pond and its surroundings, with a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday.
The move is part of a larger plan to revitalise Yishun town under the Housing and Development Board (HDB)'s Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) initiative.
Yishun Pond and its environs will be rejuvenated with new community spaces and gardens to create a waterfront park for Yishun residents and patients of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).
The project is a collaboration between Alexandra Health, the National Parks Board (NParks), water agency PUB and HDB. It is is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The pond area will be aesthetically enhanced, with plenty of space for users to rest, exercise and engage one another socially. People will be able to move easily between Yishun Pond and Yishun Park for recreation and community activities.
Local residents will have a more pleasant walk to Yishun MRT station and the bus interchange via a path running along KTPH's perimeter, while hospital patients can move out of the wards to an extended garden environment.
A barrier-free lakeside promenade will be built to connect the hospital's central courtyard to the garden, an upgraded footpath for walking and jogging, and fitness corners. Benches will be placed around the garden, while social spaces are planned to promote inter-generational activity and other interaction.
All of this will complement KTPH's existing green features which include an urban farming initiative, lush gardens populated by birds, butterflies and indigenous fish, and greenery throughout the hospital for patients' benefit.
Yishun Pond itself will get a makeover. Marshland will be created along the shore to soften the water line, and water quality will be improved by using aquatic plants to filter pollutants. The marshland is expected to attract wildlife, enhancing the area's bio-diversity.
As part of HDB's plans to improve pedestrian accessibility for Yishun residents and the public at large, an 84-metre overhead bridge will connect Yishun Pond to Yishun Park, which is located across the road from the pond.
NParks will plant a flower trail along the east perimeter of Yishun Pond. The trail will feature indigenous flowering species, creating visual interest for visitors and people travelling along Yishun Central.
NParks also plans a forest area that will feature indigenous shade and canopy trees in the north-eastern corner of the pond redevelopment. The forest will have a dry stream bed with boulders, river stones and water-edge planting to provide drainage for the area while adding to the natural ambience.