wild places | wild happenings | wild news
make a difference for our wild places

home | links | search the site
  all articles latest | past | articles by topics | search wildnews
wild news on wildsingapore
  Today Online 23 Jul 07
Much greenery at aerospace saved
Letter from Kelly Wee Director, Communications Department, JTC Corporation

Straits Times Forum 20 Jul 07
Restore Seletar Camp residential areas to the paradise they once were

Letter from Christina Tan Siew Boon (Ms)

Straits Times Forum 20 Jul 07
By all means, redevelop Seletar, but don't take away its charm and beauty
Letter from Fiona Lim Huimin (Ms)

Today Online 17 Jul 07
Keep Seletar green
Letter from George Pasqual

Today Online 2 Jul 07
Aerospace park needs the space
Location vital for viable, dedicated industrial park
Letter from Kelly Wee Director, Communications Department, JTC Corporation

Straits Times 2 Jul 07
Seletar Aerospace Hub: We should be preserving our wild places for our children and theirs

Letter from Chng Siok Hwee (Ms)

Straits Times 2 Jul 07
Jurong Town Corp should set aside a small area to remember Seletar's rich heritage
Letter from Yeo Chi Ming Melbourne, Australia

Today Online 28 Jun 07
Save more Seletar pre-war houses they're living history
Letter from Jayandran Sandra Alison

Straits Times 27 Jun 07
Relief for some Seletar residents
204 of 378 colonial houses in the area will be spared demolition, says JTC Corp
By Theresa Tan

Straits Times 27 Jun 07
Seletar gets ready for makeover as aerospace hub
Multimillion-dollar plan unveiled; tranquil nature of area to be retained
By Karamjit Kaur

Today Online 27 Jun 07
Seletar's new (old) face
Masterplan for new aerospace park will preserve some 200 bungalows, rare trees
Valarie Tan and Lin Yanqin

THE JTC Corporation has finalised its masterplan for the new Seletar Aerospace Park and it will preserve some of the old-world heritage charm Seletar is known for. The blueprints include a new airport with a bigger runway and an industrial area.

But while pieces of history will have to make way for the aerospace park, there are plans to preserve about 200 of the heritage black and white bungalows. The bigger ones will be converted into food and beverage outlets similar to those at Dempsey Road and Rochester Park.

Affected residents are expected to move out when their leases expire in December 2008. Another 131 houses will be left untouched for residential purposes.

JTC made known their development plans to the residents at a closed-door briefing yesterday evening.

Mr Roger Low, who moved into the area over a year ago, said: "When I first moved in, I knew they wanted to do something here. But I still wanted to come and experience it. So, I'm glad that I will get to stay for at least two or three more years."

When JTC's plans were first unveiled last year, it caused an outcry among residents, who responded with impassioned letters to the media and a petition to save the area.

Some, like Mrs Cheryl Edwards, came to last night's meeting hoping their house would be spared. "But now we know there's no hope," said Mrs Edwards, who has lived there for eight years. "This place is like a village, where everyone knows everyone. Even for those who can stay, the place will be different."

Another resident left the meeting in tears. "They don't realise they are tearing down people's lives," she said. "I've been living here since 1972."

Even some whose homes have been spared were disappointed. "Why would I want to live next to a runway?" said Mr Eugene Wong, who moved to Seletar six years ago.

Other key features in the masterplan include a wider and longer runway to allow bigger planes, such as the Boeing A320, to land. A new 140-hectare industrial park, about the size of 100 football fields, will accommodate hangars and workshops for plane maintenance and repair. The park will also have an aviation training school and an F&B area. Two new exits will be created at the Tampines Expressway, purely for industrial purposes.

The masterplan also took into account the area's lush greenery area. Some of it will be conserved, said the JTC, including rare species of trees or trees that have stood for a long time. A small stream will also be saved because, according to the Nature Society, it is home to a variety of crabs and turtles.

The JTC said nearly all plots of the industrial area have been taken up under phase one of the development. When completed in 2018, the park is expected to generate 10,000 new jobs and contribute $3.3 billion annually to the economy. Channel NewsAsia

Straits Times 27 Jun 07
Relief for some Seletar residents
204 of 378 colonial houses in the area will be spared demolition, says JTC Corp
By Theresa Tan

SELETAR Camp resident Rosy Tan heaved a huge sigh of relief last night - she will not have to move. Her house is among 204 of the 378 black-and-white colonial ones in the area which JTC Corporation said will not have to make way for the $60 million Seletar Aerospace Park.

Some of them will be converted into F&B and other outlets while 131 units will stay as residences.

Miss Tan, 59, described the area as 'a kampung... Everyone knows everyone and the ambience is just gorgeous'. 'It's the perfect retirement home,' added the retired engineer, who has been living in a semi-detached house with two dogs and a maid for the past year and a half.

Nurse Juliana Husaini couldn't agree more. 'You can't find a community like this anywhere in Singapore,' said Mrs Husaini, 37. 'There's an open-door policy here, everyone goes to everyone else's house.'

But the Husainis, who have been living in a rented house in the area for the past five years together with their two cats and dozens of fruit trees, are planning to move out.

The serene environment and ambience will be changed forever, she said last night after attending the unveiling of the project blueprint at a briefing for residents. When the aerospace park is built, the birds, frogs, cats and dogs which drop in at the Husainis' Maida Vale house may no longer be there, said the mother of four.

This also worried fellow resident Annie Naidu, who said it was only a matter of time before the noise from the new development got to them.

Mrs Naidu, 43, grew up in rural France and said Seletar Camp is the closest thing to the countryside Singapore has to offer. At any rate, the teacher, who is married to a Singaporean, believes she is lucky as her rented house will not be demolished.

Sales manager Jacqueline Tan, however, was told last night that her home was standing in the way of progress. 'I'm very disappointed as you can't find a place like this in Singapore.' said Mrs Tan, 38. She was among several residents interviewed who will have to move out by December next year when their current lease expires.

Straits Times 27 Jun 07
Seletar gets ready for makeover as aerospace hub
Multimillion-dollar plan unveiled; tranquil nature of area to be retained
By Karamjit Kaur

THE blueprint for the multi-million dollar makeover of the sleepy surroundings of Seletar Airport into a major aerospace hub was unveiled yesterday. The new Seletar Aerospace Park will have a bigger airport and a longer runway, to handle larger aircraft. New roads, better infrastructure and more than 100 football fields of space will also be available to the cluster of companies that design and manufacture aircraft components and small jets, as well as run training schools.

The park will be developed at a cost of more than $60 million. When completed by 2018, it will create 10,000 jobs and help double the output of Singapore's fast-growing aerospace sector, from last year's record $6.3 billion.

The need for the park was clear, said Mr Leong Hong Yew, JTC Corporation's deputy director for industrial development (East). Aerospace activities are now carried out in Loyang and Changi North, but space is fast running out there, he explained.

In finalising the masterplan for Seletar, however, his team retained, as much as possible, the idyllic, tranquil nature of the area with its more than 300 black-and-white colonial bungalows, old trees and open fields.

He said: 'This is not going to be another run-of-the-mill industrial park.'

Of the 378 black-and-white bungalows in the area, 204 will be retained. Some will be converted into aerospace training schools and food and beverage outlets, while 131 units will be set aside for residential use.

He said: 'The houses will be retained and conserved so the ambience of the environment is maintained.'

For the same reason, more than 30 distinctive trees will not be cut down, he said.

The plans have been received well by industry, with one-fifth of the 120ha set aside for commercial use already booked. The first few tenants are expected to move in to their new premises in October, said Mr Leong. Among the front runners are Singapore Technologies Aerospace and Jet Aviation, both with plans to expand their current facilities at Seletar.

For Jet Aviation, the location and timing made sense. Vice-president and general manager for Asia, Mr Michael Sattler, said: 'Singapore is a very good location and offers many advantages. The upcoming integrated resorts are also expected to attract more corporate and business jets here.'

Residents in the area were also briefed on the plans last night. For some families there was good news, as they were told their homes were not affected and they will have the option to extend their current leases which expire at the end of next year, for a further two years.

After that, it will be up to the Singapore Land Authority which owns the land, to decide on future plans for the area. The rest will have to move out when their leases expire next year.

There was some excitement at Seletar Base Golf Course where the briefing was held, when a few residents including children, turned up with signs protesting against the plans. But it ended without incident.

Sales manager Jacqueline Tan, 38, who will have to move out of Seletar after living there for three years, will miss the greenery and close neighbours. She said: 'This place is unique... You can't find a place like this in Singapore. It's also a very close-knit community here. Everyone knows everyone.'

It was a reponse Mr Leong had anticipated. 'We tried our best to balance the needs of industry and community, and at the same time attempted to integrate the surroundings of the area into the plan... But there will be some who will not be happy,' he said.

Today Online 28 Jun 07
Save more Seletar pre-war houses they're living history
Letter from Jayandran Sandra Alison

I refer to the report, "Seletar's new (old) face" (June 27), which talked about JTC Corporation's plans for the new Seletar Aerospace Park.

I cannot help but wonder why most of the redevelopment seems to be centred on and near the residential areas or the golf course. Looking at the map, it appears a lot of land in the outer lying areas are untouched.

Many residents are understandably upset by the masterplan. Even those who have the option of renewing their leases will, in future, not be able to enjoy the way of life they are so used to.

Instead of tranquil and idyllic surroundings, they will soon have to bear with construction noise, dust and other activities.

It was also reported that about 200 black-and-white heritage bungalows will be saved. What about the remaining 170 or so homes? Could nothing more be done to spare them as well? Could the plans not be tweaked to at least reduce the number of affected homes?

This is history we are talking about; most of these buildings were built before the war. I feel it is not too late to urge the authorities to consider the public's pleas and try to save more of Seletar's heritage.

Today Online 2 Jul 07
Aerospace park needs the space
Location vital for viable, dedicated industrial park
Letter from Kelly Wee Director, Communications Department, JTC Corporation

We refer to Ms Jayandran Sandra Alison's letter, "Save more Seletar pre-war houses they're living history" (June 28). We would like to thank Ms Alison for her interest in the Seletar Aerospace Park project.

She raised three main concerns in her letter. Firstly, she questioned why the redevelopment had to be centred on or near the residential areas including the golf course while land on the outer lying areas seemed untouched.

Secondly, she was concerned over the potential loss of tranquillity for the remaining residential tenants due to the impending construction activity.

Thirdly, she hopes that more of the heritage buildings could be preserved.

The Seletar Aerospace Park is a dedicated 140ha industrial park surrounding the Seletar Airport. It will host a new integrated aerospace industry cluster incorporating aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul; design and manufacturing of aircraft systems and components; business and general aviation activities; and an aviation campus for the training of pilots, aviation professionals and technical personnel.

The Seletar Aerospace Park is expected to contribute $3.3 billion annually in value-add (1 per cent of gross domestic product) and create employment for 10,000 people by 2018.

A sufficiently large site is required to enable the co-location of the various aerospace related commercial enterprises for economies of scale. For a viable aerospace park, the aerospace companies have to be located near the runway and the airport. In addition, the runway has to be extended to enable larger aircrafts to land.

This required expansion of the Park into the existing golf course land and the sites occupied by some of the heritage buildings.

We share Ms Alison's desire to retain as much of the architectural heritage and the environmental charm of the area as possible.

Great effort was thus spent in the planning process to balance economic and infrastructural space needs with the preservation of the architectural and environmental heritage of the area. Consequently, we have retained 204 (or 54 per cent) of the 378 existing buildings of interest.

JTC will work closely with our partners to minimise inconvenience to the tenants during the construction period. We seek the residents' understanding during the period of the construction and completion of the Seletar Aerospace Park.

Straits Times 2 Jul 07
Seletar Aerospace Hub: We should be preserving our wild places for our children and theirs

Letter from Chng Siok Hwee (Ms)

I AM writing with regard to the Seletar Aerospace Hub. I have to confess that like many people, I am deeply concerned and worried about nature and wildlife being disrupted if such a development takes place.

The area slated for the hub is a beautiful place, tranquil and lush with greenery. I find it very peaceful. For an animal lover like me, I have found a diversity of bird life there.

I am also perturbed by the rapid disappearance of our wild places in the name of development.

True that Singapore has land scarcity, but we are starting to feel the effects of climate change. Land depletion is one cause of it.

Furthermore, we should be preserving our wild places for our children and theirs. I dread the day that Singapore would become heavily urbanised, a true concrete jungle, devoid of nature.

Straits Times 2 Jul 07
Jurong Town Corp should set aside a small area to remember Seletar's rich heritage
Letter from Yeo Chi Ming Melbourne, Australia

I REFER to the article, 'Seletar gets ready for makeover as aerospace hub' (ST, June 27), about the recently released blueprints for Seletar Airport to be converted to be an aerospace hub and would like to urge the Jurong Town Corporation to set aside a small area to remember Seletar's rich heritage in the annals of Singapore's aviation history.

Seletar has seen many milestones come and go ever since it was built as an airfield in the late 1920s.

It was Singapore's first purpose-built airfield, has seen many aviation pioneers stop over on their way to their record-breaking feats, and played a pivotal role during the Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation of Singapore.

Operations from Seletar were also instrumental in defeating the communists during the Emergency and combating infiltrators during the Confrontation years, and it was also the launchpad for the final operational flights of several famous classic aircraft such as the Beaufighter, Mosquito, Sunderland and Spitfire.

Servicemen who have served in Seletar retain fond memories of the place and have even formed an association with some Singaporean members. A number of books dedicated to Seletar have also been written.

While it is important for Singapore that Seletar be developed for the future, it is also very important that its glorious past is remembered. It deserves that much.

Today Online 17 Jul 07
Keep Seletar green
Letter from George Pasqual

It was recently reported that 30 distinctive trees would be preserved when the construction of Seletar Aerospace Park commences.

Thirty trees seems a paltry figure compared to the hundreds of trees in the Seletar Airport area. I wonder just how many trees will ultimately face the axe?

Many trees in this area are over 100 years old and at least one metre in girth. It will be a great loss to the lush greenery of Seletar and indeed Singapore's heritage if more is not done to preserve our natural assets.

Everywhere in Singapore, it is becoming more common to see mature trees being chopped down to make way for new developments.

I hope something is actively done to protect and conserve these trees that act as a buffer and oasis to Singapore's expanding concrete jungle.

Let us not denude the Seletar Airport area of its lush greenery that frames its landscape. Many of these trees will, if left alone or transplanted, be around for many years to come and probably even outlive most of us.

Straits Times Forum 20 Jul 07
Restore Seletar Camp residential areas to the paradise they once were

Letter from Christina Tan Siew Boon (Ms)

IN THE flourishing country of Singapore, sophisticated high-rise buildings can be commonly seen. Vehicles of various shapes and sizes travel in the streets day and night, creating both air and noise pollution. The hustle and bustle of the hectic city swirls around us, forcing our lives to move in an even faster pace.

Have we not all wished, at some point in time, for our lives to slow down?

The Seletar camp used to be a club that the British Air Force spends time in. It carries the look of an early 20th century British residential area. Located far from the fast moving city, the air there is fresh and the surroundings quiet. In fact, it is so serene that you could even hear the chirping of the birds. The pathways are adorned with exquisite flowers and shrubs; the green fields stretch out far and wide.

The place is indeed a slice of paradise.

It is precisely in this modern era of high-rise buildings, where such a place is hard to come by.

Singapore is placing much emphasis on the tourism industry, and particularly the blooming ecotourism that the world is demanding. During the peak seasons when many hotels are fully booked, the residential areas in Seletar camp could be put into good use.

A little renovation and refurbishing could restore all those houses into the glory of their earlier days. Compared to the cold and impersonal atmosphere of a hotel, these quarters could provide a cosy ambience with the rustic charms of the olden days. Tourists would take pleasure in being close to nature, which would be a huge change from the fast-paced world.

Furthermore, being located near the Seletar reservoir, the camp is also an ideal tourist attraction. The reservoir, interestingly, is sandwiched between a lake and the sea. Surrounding the beaches would be several fishing villages that had been previously preserved.

Not only could tourists spend time in a paradise untouched by urbanisation, they could also pamper their taste buds with fresh seafood that would be hard to come by elsewhere.

So how do we bring together the clubs, reservoir and villages as one tourist attraction?

Though in the vicinity of each other, they are admittedly of some distance apart. Using any conventional transportation such as cars would ruin the atmosphere of the place. The solution is incredibly simple - make use of bicycles and trishaws. Not only does this mode of transport agree with the environment, but it also enables visitors to fully appreciate and admire the beautiful scenery of Seletar camp.

I am sure most of us are aware of the Government's plans to develop Seletar camp into an aviation centre. I see the advantages of this venture, of course, and how it could greatly promote Singapore's position as a financial hub.

However, I feel that a balanced development is required. In this ever-changing society, it is all the more important to preserve and protect such a natural landscape.

We should cherish these gifts of the past - the little gardens and parks - which is full of historical values. At the same time, we could develop this rare tourist attraction.

Developing a rustic paradise that melds rural charms and modern sophistication would be just the thing to keep tourists coming back for more.

As for the people who travel through or past Seletar camp regularly, every trip would be a luxurious indulgence. Indeed, for both locals and tourists, Singapore could be an exotic place of unique beauty and exceptional charm.


Straits Times Forum 20 Jul 07

By all means, redevelop Seletar, but don't take away its charm and beauty
Letter from Fiona Lim Huimin (Ms)

AS I read the article, 'Seletar gets ready for makeover as aerospace hub' (ST, June 27), images of my short stay at Seletar Base Golf Club started running through my mind.

On June 1, my teacher arranged for a group of us to stay overnight at the Orientus Hotel there. As soon as we stepped foot there, we were greeted with the sight of lush greenery of the reputable nine-hole golf course. I felt like I was living in a countryside where tranquillity prevails.

It is definitely an ideal destination for a quiet getaway or weekend retreat from what is an increasingly overcrowded and busy country. People are spared the daily hustle and bustle of noise pollution due to little traffic on the roads.

Besides taking in the breathtaking scenery, we also entertained ourselves with the facilities there, such as the swimming pool, the pool table and the KTV pub. As we were taking a stroll along the rows of bungalows early the next morning, the morning breeze was so refreshing it rejuvenated our tired souls as most of us had stayed up till the wee hours of the night chatting.

We departed the club with heavy hearts as we were informed by our teacher of the upcoming redevelopment plans of the Seletar area which includes the golf club as well.

Though my experience staying at Seletar was a short one, it felt like a short resort holiday for me out of Singapore and this is something I have never experienced before and thus thankful for the opportunity.

However, few Singaporeans have had similar opportunities to experience the lifestyle there, which is a pity, especially with the makeover plans for Seletar to become an aerospace hub.

Though I can understand the benefits that the new aerospace hub would bring in terms of employment, I can also empathise with the residents of those bungalow houses that are affected.

Having been accustomed to the peaceful and tranquil lifestyle here, they may face some difficulty in adjusting to normal city life.

As the redevelopment plans of Seletar is already decided and nothing much can be done about it, I do believe that both the residents and people like myself who have had experience living there sincerely hope that JTC take a great deal of care in its 'makeover' and preserve whatever little nature that is left in Singapore.

It is possible to redevelop Seletar without taking away its charm and beauty as long as careful planning is carried out.

Today Online 23 Jul 07
Much greenery at aerospace saved
Letter from Kelly Wee Director, Communications Department, JTC Corporation

We refer to Mr George Pasqual's letter, "Keep Seletar Green" (July 17).

In developing the Seletar Aerospace Park masterplan, JTC has tried to keep as much of the greenery as possible without compromising the viability of the aerospace park.

JTC worked closely with the National Parks Board (NParks) and Nature Society during the initial planning stage to retain as many trees as possible. As a result, we were able to retain over 30 trees, including Heritage Trees and other mature trees.

We would also like to thank Mr Pasqual for his suggestion on tree transplantation. We understand that NParks benchmarks arboriculture practices with the International Society of Arboriculture. NParks keeps abreast of advances in arboriculture and tree conservation technology including tree transplanting techniques from around the world, and will introduce them for use in Singapore, where feasible.

links
Seletar's new (old) face Masterplan for new aerospace park will preserve some 200 bungalows, rare trees Valarie Tan and Lin Yanqin Today Online 27 Jun 07

Related articles on heritage trees
about the site | email ria
  News articles are reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.
 

website©ria tan 2003 www.wildsingapore.com