Pulau Ubin to get a coastal boardwalk

Artist's impression of the coastal boardwalk at Noordin Beach.
PHOTO: National Parks Board

MORE will be done to protect Pulau Ubin's flora and fauna, including plans to restore its northern shoreline, build a coastal boardwalk and support the recovery of endangered plants and animals.

Announcing these initiatives yesterday at Pulau Ubin, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee said more must be done to protect the rich biodiversity teeming on the island.

Noting that it has more than 720 native plant species and over 500 animal species, including some not found on mainland Singapore, he added: "This is remarkable but we must do more.

"We have plans to restore Ubin's eroding shoreline, which will serve as a base for more of Pulau Ubin's flora and fauna to be restored in the near future."

Shoreline restoration was one of the earliest priorities for The Ubin Project, announced in 2014 to generate ideas from the public on how to retain the island's rustic charm.

Erosion has badly affected about 40m of northern Ubin, threatening critically endangered species like the Eye of the Crocodile tree and leading to the closure of Noordin Beach - a popular camping site - in 2013 for public safety.

A year-long study, which was concluded this month by the National Parks Board (NParks), found that changes in wave conditions partly as a result of ship wakes, or waves generated by the movements of vessels, as well as changes in land use were among the key causes of erosion.

NParks has identified possible measures to restore the shoreline, such as using man-made rock structures and sand to widen the existing beaches, growing more mangroves and adding wooden poles along the shoreline to mitigate the impact of waves.

NParks will call a tender and works are expected to start next year and end by 2020.

An impact assessment will be done, said NParks' director for Pulau Ubin, Robert Teo.

"Until we call a tender, we won't be sure how much (the work) is going to cost. It depends on the magnitude of the designs and the amount of work that's going to be done," he added.

A coastal boardwalk of about 500m, part of which will extend into the sea, will be built at Noordin Beach, which will reopen when restoration works are completed. From the boardwalk, visitors can view coastal mangroves and hills.

Yesterday, NParks also unveiled a design for new otter holts - which are dens for the critically endangered Oriental Small-clawed Otter. By the end of this year, two holts will be installed on the island which will allow researchers to monitor and study their behaviour.

Other species' recovery efforts include installing 30 bat boxes across the island for bats to roost, and reintroducing endangered native orchids to parts of the island.

At the event to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity, which was yesterday, Mr Lee joined more than a hundred participants to plant 100 saplings at the mangrove arboretum in the Ubin Living Lab.

Among them were executive manager Sean Lam, 47, and his wife and son.

He said: "This is one of the last places in built-up Singapore where you can enjoy such nature. Without the mangroves, the soil will be eroded and the next generation, they won't have anything to see."


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