Jurong's new eco-garden offers green relief

The official opening of Jurong Eco-Garden, a venue for social and recreational activities for the neighbouring community. The event will be graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr Gan Kim Yong, adviser to Choa Chu Kang grassroots organisations and Minister of Health.

SINGAPORE - Those living or working in Singapore's west can look forward to more green space in their midst with the launch of a new eco-garden in Jurong.

Located in CleanTech Park, the eco-business facility next to Nanyang Technological University, residents and workers in the area can immerse themselves in the greenery.

The 5ha Jurong Eco-Garden features a freshwater swamp forest, which serves as a central retention pond for storm water.

About 65 per cent of the storm water run-off collected will be filtered for toilet-flushing and watering plants, among other purposes.

Speaking at the official opening yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the eco-garden will become a "focal point for community interaction".

Mr Gan, who is an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, said that grassroots organisations are working with the National Parks Board to make the eco-garden part of the 150km Round Island Route, a green corridor that goes round Singapore.

Much care was taken to ensure that there were sustainability features in the park, like reusing wood from felled trees in the area to make signage and park furniture, as well as incorporating excavated rocks from JTC Corporation's previous building projects.

"When we created the Jurong Eco-Garden, we had to strike a balance between development needs and the natural environment," said JTC Corporation chief executive officer Png Cheong Boon.

In order to increase the garden's butterfly population, butterfly-attracting plants have been planted. So far, 15 new butterfly species have been recorded, "some of which are of conservation interest in Singapore", said Mr Png.

Going forward, JTC will see how it can apply the experience of sustainably developing the business park to future projects, where appropriate.

Bukit Batok resident Mike Goh, 46, said that he enjoyed spotting wildlife in the garden.

The engineer, who works at CleanTech Park, said: "Personally, I like greenery. I would bring my kids here to expose them to nature and take pictures."

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.