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  Straits Times 7 Mar 07
Rent a kayak for family outing at Lower Seletar

$300k water sports centre to be ready in May; look out for kayaking courses
Tan Hui Yee

THE Lower Seletar Reservoir will be the site for a $300,000 water sports centre by May. The People's Association (PA) is setting up the centre there, at the southern edge of the Yishun housing estate, to introduce water sports to areas away from the coast.

Kayaks and dragonboats will be available for rent starting from $10 an hour. Life jackets, smaller paddles for children and kayaks that can seat two adults and a child will also be available, so families can enjoy being on the water together. Kayaking courses will also be conducted.

The water sports centre, to be designed in wood and landscaped to blend in with its park surroundings, will also offer space for storing boats and kayaks.

Already, the Republic and Nanyang polytechnics have expressed interest in storing boats used by their students there, said the PA.

The only water sports facility now in the area is run by Seletar Country Club. It has kayaks and sailing boats, but these are for its members, although some schools and corporate groups have used its facilities.

The upcoming water sports centre will be the third that the PA is setting up in the heartland, after the first two facilities in Bedok Reservoir and Jurong Lake.

These facilities are part of a concerted drive by the Government to introduce recreational activities in Singapore's water catchment areas under the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme.

The authorities hope that people will be moved to appreciate and conserve water if they have greater access to the island's water bodies for recreation.

The centre in Bedok Reservoir ran about 50 water sports courses for 2,000 people last year, in addition to pulling in between 60 and 80 walk-in customers every week.

Lower Seletar Reservoir itself will be the magnet for water-related activities in the coming years: In the next five years, the area will have a waterside stage for outdoor performances, a viewing gallery for rowing competitions and a bridge spanning the reservoir.

Yishun resident Mavis Ong, 26, who lives in a housing block overlooking the reservoir, is looking forward to the changes. The system administrator said she has never kayaked before, but may pick up the paddle for the first time when the centre opens.

Fellow Yishun resident Bernard Tan, a 34-year-old business manager, hopes there will be boats that couples can rent for a slow glide out to the reservoir to take in the scenery. 'It will be romantic,' he said.

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