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  Today Online, 3 May 05
Do not allow Pulau Ubin to become another East Coast Park
Letter to Today by Liana Jeffrey

MY HUSBAND and I are adventure lovers. We have always enjoyed being out in the wild, surrounded by nature and away from the bustle and conveniences of the city. The only place we can find such tranquillity and independence is on Pulau Ubin.

In the city, everything is made for our convenience. The most popular camping spot is the East Coast Park. Yet, it is the most crowded place to be during the weekend or holidays. Though there is a barbeque pit at every shelter, starting a campfire is not allowed. Because bicycles and pedestrians don't really stick to their paths, collisions happen all the time.

As soon as we arrive at the jetty on Pulau Ubin, however, the ambience is totally different. We start our campfire and cook our food in mess tins. We make use of the salt water to boil and wash. We can ride our bicycles and stroll into the jungle and the mangroves. We could get lost, but that's part of the thrill.

Where is the adventure now if we are walking on man-made trails? Having a campsite and a bicycle park will make the place like East Coast Park.

Why can't Pulau Ubin be preserved? Why must it be turned into an attraction? The island is the last rustic spot in Singapore.

Today Online, 11 May 05

Ubin's charms to stay
Reply to letter to Today

We refer to the forum letter, "Do not allow Pulau Ubin to become another East Coast Park" (May 3) and thank the writer for the feedback.

We are glad that Ms Jeffrey and her husband treasure the sense of adventure, and the natural and rustic charm that Pulau Ubin offers.

We have the same feelings for Ubin, which is increasingly popular with people who seek a more natural environment away from the mainland for recreation and to de-stress. NParks will be careful not to destroy the very ambience that is sought after.

The proposed campsite and bike park will help to enhance the unique wilderness experience of the island as both projects are sited on derelict land that had been severely impacted by past granite quarrying activities.

When completed, the sites will be reforested and this will enhance their value as wildlife habitats, and at the same time, made conducive for public recreational activities.

Jelutong Campsite will cater to visitors who like camping, already a popular activity in Pulau Ubin. The campsite will be planted with trees and shrubs found commonly in kampongs or villages to complement the surrounding landscape, and the existing trails will be left unpaved. Plants that are attractive to butterflies and birds will also be planted.

Cycling is also a popular recreational activity on the island. The bike park at Ketam Quarry will cater to more adventurous mountain bikers as the earth trails will be routed over undulating hills. The entire site will be planted with shrubs and trees, and a freshwater pond will provide habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife.

We thank Ms Jeffrey for her feedback. For further feedback and suggestions, Ms Jeffrey is welcome to contact our QSM (Quality Service Manager) Helpline on 1800-4717300.

Letter from Wong Tuan Wah, Director of Conservation (NParks)

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