90-tonne raintree transplanted to Civic District

An eighth raintree was successfully transplanted to a new location in front of the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall yesterday, adding to a row of seven other raintrees that had been moved there earlier as plans to pedestrianise the Civic District progressed.

With the nearby Old Parliament Lane paved over to turn it into a pedestrian path by July, walking in the Victoria Theatre and Asian Civilisations Museum area will be even more of a breeze.

Stepped waterfront plazas and a playground will be built at Esplanade Park.

The walkway in front of the National Gallery will also be widened.

Writing in the Ministry of National Development's blog yesterday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "We are putting a lot of thought and passion into the rejuvenation of the Civic District. We want an integrated art, culture and lifestyle precinct set in a lush, green environment."

The eighth raintree, which weighs 90 tonnes, was the second largest and final tree to be transplanted.

The process took two weeks to complete, which included having the tree pruned to minimise stress from water loss.

The seven other trees transplanted earlier are in good health, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the National Parks Board (NParks).

Other works are also under way around the Civic District to enhance its greenery, including the installation of structural cells at Queen Elizabeth Walk, which are being placed under roads and paved surfaces.

They allow tree roots to branch out wider and deeper without becoming obstructed. From mid-this month, biostimulants will be applied to mature trees to improve soil structure, among other benefits.

NParks is also reinstating five Angsana trees to Esplanade Park in October. The place was a popular meeting place for couples between the 1960s and 1980s.

The five Angsana trees were removed in the 1990s as they were affected by a fungal disease that also killed many mature Angsana trees elsewhere in Singapore, Mr Khaw said in the blog.

New Angsana trees that are genetically resistant to the disease have since been propagated by NParks' horticulturists.

The five new Angsana trees at Esplanade Park will be from among these trees.

During a media tour of the area yesterday, Mr Bernard Chan, senior architect at URA's conservation and urban design group, said there are also plans to provide infrastructure such as electricity and water at the new lawn in front of the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.


This article was first published on May 8, 2015.
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