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  Channel NewsAsia 5 Nov 05
Plans to transform Bedok Reservoir into a recreational attraction
By Wong Siew Ying

SINGAPORE : A million-dollars worth of new facilities have been installed at Bedok Reservoir and more ideas have been floated to make the place hip and happening.

Launching this year's 'Clean and Green Week', Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong encouraged Singaporeans to upkeep the environment and preserve the country's assets.

National wakeboarder Matthew Christian is riding on the wake of plans to liberalise the use of Bedok Reservoir. His performance has improved by leaps since he started training there a few weeks ago. Matthew said: "Since I came here, I landed two new tricks in three weeks instead of in open water. I learned two tricks in two years, so I learned quite fast here. In open water, it is harder to train because of the tide and the wind."

Jason Chen, Dragon Boat Enthusiast, said: "I am hoping for more places to be opened up, so you can have different skyline, different environment to row in, different atmosphere."

Also taking to the waters, Mr Lee who later suggested a few ideas to add more buzz to the place. They included having shops and pavilions around the reservoir, or perhaps something more novel. Mr Lee said: "Why not arrange weddings here? Let the bride arrive by the boat. If you have two more dragon boats to accompany the bride, so much the better."

Being near the heartlands, Bedok Reservoir is the first to be upgraded as part of PUB's "Active, Beautiful, Clean" Waters Programme. Visitors can now enjoy new facilities like a kayak rental station, a fishing deck and better lighting at night.

Mr Lee added: "Our old attitude is our water is for our reservoir, don't go near it, keep far away, keep it clean, no canoeing, don't walk near it, if possible don't even look at it. "As a result, George (Yeo) tells me that there is a path around the reservoir, no lamps on the path because you do not want people to be walking there at night. "But I think it's not a right attitude. I think we can educate our people to enjoy the amenities. At the same time, we can keep the water quality clean and we can have the best of both worlds."

PUB also hopes to roll out other features like a tree tracking course, sailing facilities, a floating viewing gallery and ways to make the reservoir more accessible. PUB conducted a public survey last year where 80 percent of the respondents supported the move to have more activities like canoeing, kayaking and sailing at the reservoir.

PUB also says measures are in place to make sure the water quality is not compromised.

And for not compromising on keeping public places clean, the South West District won the Best Community Award for the third straight year.

Several Singaporeans who have championed for a better environment were also honoured. - CNA/de

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