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  Straits Times 16 Sep 07
Punggol waterway project sparks interest and ideas

THE proposed 5.5-km waterway cutting across Punggol town drew enthusiastic discussion yesterday at a dialogue on the Housing Board's future plans for its estates.

While there were concerns over its safety from the 500-strong audience - made up of residents, potential flat buyers and grassroots leaders - there were also calls for less rules on how the future waterway could be used.

The ambitious project in Punggol involves the building of a roughly 4.4-m deep waterway linking two reservoirs that would be created after Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon are dammed.

When completed by 2013, it will be the centrepiece of Punggol, by which time new homes and its future town centre will be built.

The proposal was unveiled about a week ago through the HDB's Remaking Our Heartland exhibition which showcases its future plans for public housing estates. Yesterday's dialogue was meant to draw feedback on the plans and was chaired by Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu.

Preliminary results of an HDB survey on the visitors to its exhibition showed that 94 per cent of the 2,800 respondents liked the idea of the waterway running through Punggol.

Eighty-one per cent said they were prepared to pay more service and conservancy charges to enjoy the new housing designs, which included flats with balconies overlooking the waterway.

But residents and prospective flat buyershoped that new types of public housing would not be too expensive.

The Remaking Our Heartland exhibition will be held at various housing districts until Oct 3. More details can be found at http://heartland.hdb.gov.sg/

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