|NParks/HSBC Joint media release, 29 April 2005: Launch of Pulau Ubin Conservation and Management Plans - Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub, Chek Jawa, Jelutong Campsite & Bike Park
29 April 2005 (Friday) – The Pulau Ubin Conservation and Management Plans were officially launched by Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development today. To enhance the Ubin Experience for the public while making more areas accessible for green recreation, these plans include upcoming amenities such as the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub, visitor facilities at Chek Jawa Wetland, a new campsite at Jalan Jelutong and a bike park at Ketam Quarry for mountain biking.
Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, graced the launch ceremony as the Guest-of-Honour. Also present were Prof. Leo Tan, Chairman of National Parks Board (NParks) and Mr Paul Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) in Singapore.
In line with its long-standing support for nature conservation, HSBC made a donation of S$800,000 to the Pulau Ubin Conservation Fund, which would be used to enhance nature conservation, outreach and research initiatives on Pulau Ubin. This will include the setting up of the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub to promote and facilitate volunteerism, community involvement and nature outreach. When ready by the later part of this year, the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub will house a resource centre, a seminar room, activity rooms and a management office. A one-stop centre for information on Pulau Ubin, the resource centre will be stocked with reference and multimedia materials, as well as plant and animal samples to facilitate project work and conservation research by schools and other organisations. The seminar and activity rooms will host talks, slide shows and workshops for the public, and would be used for volunteer training as well. NParks will also relocate its management office to the Volunteer Hub for better co-ordination and management of outreach activities.
When the boardwalks with lookout platforms and shelters, and viewing tower at Chek Jawa Wetland are completed by 2006, the public can enjoy the natural heritage with minimal impact to the surrounding habitats. House Number 1, an abandoned English cottage, will be restored and adapted for use as a Visitor Centre with interpretative displays, a seminar room and field research facilities. This building was constructed in the 1930s by the then Chief Municipal Engineer for a British Medical Officer. Now a Conservation Building, it is the only one of its kind left in Singapore, with architecture typical of the Tudor period.
Covering 7.5 ha, the Jelutong campsite is an addition to existing camping areas at Noordin Beach and Mamam Beach. When completed by end of this year, it will offer the public an alternative campsite that is nearer to the village hub. The 14.4 ha bike park at Ketam Quarry would be ready for mountain biking activities in September 2006.
Prof. Leo Tan, Chairman of NParks said, “Working with a community of partners such as HSBC, volunteers, nature groups and school adopters, Pulau Ubin would continue to provide distinctive experiences to meet the public’s recreational and educational needs.”
Elaborating on HSBC’s support, Paul Lawrence, CEO of HSBC Singapore said, “As the world’s local bank, we are committed to making a positive and sustained difference to the communities in which we operate. It is in this spirit that we have a long standing partnership with NParks in conserving and protecting our natural heritage. Our successful collaboration at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve over the last decade is a good example of this and now, Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa offer the opportunity for us to extend our contribution to nature conservation. We are hopeful that collectively, we can make a real and lasting difference to the conservation of Pulau Ubin and to enhance its value for the enjoyment of our community. I’m also pleased that so many of my colleagues have come forward to volunteer their time toward this effort to care for nature.”
Mr Gurmit Singh Kullar, a regular volunteer at Pulau Ubin, commented, “I am heartened by NParks’ efforts in promoting community involvement and nature outreach on Pulau Ubin. It’s also good to know that partners from the private sector are taking a proactive approach in raising awareness about a very special historical, geographical and ecological part of Singapore. The volunteers are especially excited about the upcoming facilities at the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub. We will continue to work closely with NParks and all the green partners to sustain our natural heritage.”
See photos from the event by Gurmit Singh.