Govt to call for Rail Corridor proposals soon

Work on planning for the future of a 24km green stretch of former railway track will begin soon, with the authorities set to make a formal call for ideas.

The upcoming request for proposal (RFP) is for a masterplan and design concepts for the Rail Corridor, which runs from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, said Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee yesterday.

"The RFP will enable us to firm up the overall plan and design for the Rail Corridor, which will then guide how it will be realised in the coming years," said Mr Lee in the debate on his ministry's budget.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority has incorporated public feedback into the planning and design goals, which will be part of the RFP brief, he added.

A public exhibition will be held later this year to showcase the proposals received.

"However, given that the length of the Rail Corridor is 24km, there is no rush to work on the whole stretch all at once."

Mr Lee was replying to MPs' questions on green topics such as tree conservation.

To Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC), who wanted protection for old trees, Mr Lee said that removing old trees is done "only after very careful consideration".

"Where possible, we will find new homes for these mature trees, and have transplanted some 2,100 trees just last year alone," he added.

Mr Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) of the Workers' Party wanted specific guidelines - perhaps set out in legislation - for when environment impact assessments are required for development projects.

In reply, Mr Lee said only that these assessments are applied "to projects that may most adversely impact our protected natural spaces, and coastal and marine environments".

Separately, the Building and Construction Authority yesterday gave details of a $20 million fund to test new energy-efficient technologies, such as under-floor cooling systems, in actual buildings.

The GBIC-Building Energy Efficient Demonstrations Scheme aims to mitigate the financial risk of testing out new technologies, by co-funding costs such as equipment and installation. It will also cover the cost of removing the technology if the trial fails.

The scheme is one of three activities under the $52 million Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) programme launched in September.

This article was first published on March 12, 2015.
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