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Support The Green Corridor in Singapore

Posted on November 23, 2010 by derek

 

As most of us would have heard, train services on the KTM railway track will cease. This follows a land swap deal reached between Singapore and Malaysia.

Although the Singapore Government has not publicised any plans for the 173.7 hectares of land that spans the entire breadth of the island, the question of what to do with it will naturally arise. One proposal, which was submitted by Nature Society (Singapore) on the 21st of October 2010, is  to Keep the Railway Lands as a Continuous Green Corridor.

Here’s the main reasons from the proposal.

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1. Connecting Our Green Spaces.

Preserving the Railway Land as a Green Corridor will not only make it possible for Singaporeans to hike from the wetlands in Kranji to Rainforests in Bukit Timah and the hilltops of Henderson through a continuous nature trail; the Green Corridor is also important for preserving our Natural Heritage by acting as a connector for flora and fauna movement across the island, to some extent mitigating the effects of the fragmentation of our Nature Reserves.

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2. Connecting People

This Green Corridor has the potential to directly or almost directly serve 1.2 million people living in estates along the entire stretch of railway.

There are currently scenic vistas of forests and rivers, canals and wetlands right at our doorstep. The construction of simple walking trails, lighting, resting points and directional signage would make all of this accessible and inviting to hundreds of communities nearby.

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3. A Clean and Green Transport Route

Singapore aspires to be a leading Eco-City in South East Asia, if not the world. Pollution from urban transportation and traffic jams are common problems in major cities in the world. One way to solve this urban evil is to encourage cycling as an alternative means of transport. Cycling partially solves transportation needs and provides recreation.

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4. Preserving History

The railway line is a physical historical record of the relationship between Singapore and Malaysia. These 2 countries were once one and the same country called Malaya. There was no border until 1965. This railway line serves as a reminder of this historical fact. The whole stretch of the railway line can be turned into an outdoor ‘museum’ with ‘walking commentary’. Because of its linearity, points of historical interests can be planned along the route to educate the public about life in the 50s, 60s and up to the 70s.

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Arguably, some people won’t find this idea attractive. After all, we live in an overcrowding place that is land scarce, and there is a heavy opportunity cost involved in every land decision that is made. So before the development junkie and progress obsessed side of us starts ringing the alarm bells, please consider first, what we stand to lose.

The Railway Lands is something that was carved out of unique historical circumstances. It is also a rare occasion in urban Singapore, where politics had allowed for the unhampered growth of a lush ecology, relatively untouched by the urbanisation around it. It is part of our relatively young heritage, and it’s value is something that cannot be replaced by any amount of engineering.

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Oh yes, here’s what I came across on SG Polls:

photo(Disclaimer: I’m not saying that this is statistically indicative of the Singapore population)

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What can I do?

1. Read the proposal – The Green Corridor: A Proposal to Keep the Railway Lands as a Continous Green Corridor

2. Send your feedback and suggestions to Nature Society (Singapore)

3. Like the “We support The Green Corridor in Singapore” Facebook page.

4. Follow them on Twitter.

5. Most importantly, tell everyone you know about the proposal.

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