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Redevelopment of Lor Buangkok kampong likely ‘several decades later’

SINGAPORE — The last remaining kampong on mainland Singapore, Kampong Lorong Buangkok, is likely to be redeveloped only “several decades later”, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said on Monday (Oct 2).

Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last surviving kampong in Singapore. TODAY file photo

Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last surviving kampong in Singapore. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The last remaining kampong on mainland Singapore, Kampong Lorong Buangkok, is likely to be redeveloped only “several decades later”, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said on Monday (Oct 2).

Under 2014 Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan, the 1.22 hectare plot of the kampong straddles four land parcels. The largest portion of the site has been earmarked for a major road to Seletar, while two parcels are slated for a primary school and a secondary school. Another parcel will be part of a neighbourhood park, said Mr Lee in response to an adjournment motion raised yesterday by Ang Mo Kio Member of Parliament Intan Azura Mokhtar on preserving green spaces and heritage in Jalan Kayu.

“I must emphasise that there is no intention to implement these developments in the near future. For instance, we will look into the need for the planned road only when we are ready to proceed with the long term development of Seletar. This is likely to be several decades later,” said Mr Lee.

Dr Intan had urged the authorities to consider preserving the kampong not just for sentimental value, but for heritage and cultural education.

Currently, 26 families live on the land, each paying a monthly rent of between S$6 to S$30. It is home to a thriving Malay community who “live harmoniously” with their Chinese neighbours.

Dr Intan suggested the kampong could be integrated within the future schools and be a “community living lab” for students to learn about shared history, culture and traditions. They can also embark on community nature programmes to learn from residents about the growing of plants and vegetables, as well as caring for chickens, cats and dogs.

When the time comes to finalise plans for the kampong, the government of the day should work closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure the developments are done in a “holistic and coherent way”, said Mr Lee.

This should involve a “deep engagement” with the kampong families living there at that time. Some may not want to move away from the kampong, but may also not want their community “to be turned into an educational or heritage attraction, drawing crowds of curious visitors”, said Mr Lee.

The government would also have to consider Singaporeans who wish to properly document and retain the value of kampong life, he said. “Yet, we cannot simply develop the surrounding areas around the kampong, isolating it from the rest of the community.”

The other traditional kampong in Singapore is on Pulau Ubin, where a multi-year programme was launched in July to restore and repair vacant kampong houses.

Responding also to Dr Intan’s question about whether the strip of green land parallel to Gerald Drive could be turned into a nature park, Mr Lee said that the Housing and Development Board and the Land Transport Authority have assessed that there is a “critical need” for Buangkok Drive Extension as almost 10,000 new homes will be completed in Fernvale, Sengkang West and Hougang by 2022.

The road would serve as a vital connection across Sungei Punggol and help ease potential traffic congestion for those living in Sengkang and Hougang towns, “where the existing road network cannot support the higher resident population in the future”, he said.

There are already green spaces for residents in and around Gerald Drive and a park connector network runs along Sungei Punggol, linking the Gerald Drive area to Sengkang Riverside Park, he said.

 

 

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