Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Letter to URA

Written by Dr KHOO Ih Chu

23 September 2003
Mrs Koh-Lim Wei Gin
Chief Planner & Deputy Chief
Executive Officer
Urban Redevelopment Authority

[...]

We understand that under the Draft URA Master Plan 2003 that four marine sites of St John's island, P Hantu, P Semakau and P Sudong which were included in the Singapore Green Plan 1993 and reaffirmed in the Singapore Green Plan 2012, have not been designated as nature areas. We understand that the four marine sites might instead be used for ship anchorage purposes and the island areas will be used for related supporting facilities. Only Sister's Island was identified as a nature site.

[...]

The RSYC recognizes the need for a balanced approach in nature conservation and economic development for the prosperity of Singapore, Above all, we know that the waters around the clubhouse have among the highest concentration of industrial and port activities and that we are but a stone's throw away from the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Nonetheless, the club tries hard to enable our members and members of the public to enjoy the waters around the Southern Islands.

We agree fully with the URA motto of making Singapore a distinctive city, a great place to live, work and play. It would be a great pity if, as an island state, Singapore's citizens and residents were deprived of opportunities to appreciate and enjoy the natural environs of the surrounding waters and offshore islands. The surrounding waters off the Southern islands have long provided Singaporeans a much needed respite from the pressures of urban living. Scuba divers will attest to the richness of the coral reefs, never mind the murky visibility due to the high volume of marine traffic and reclamation/dredging. Fishermen still spend hours waiting for the biggest catch despite disturbance from neighbouring reclamation works. Sailors and boaters enjoy the idyllic open waters against the backdrop of industrial stacks and city skyline.

We fully appreciate the planners' concern “to keep our options open so as not to commit future generations” in the draft Master Plan. But we are also the guardians of Singapore for future generations. The conservation of the natural heritage and protection of biodiversity should form a cornerstone in the future development of Singapore.

Hence, we urge the relevant authorities to look into ways to safeguard the interests of the natural heritage of Singapore in the development planning process. This would go a long way in enhancing our quality of life. We believe that the authorities will make their utmost effort to minimise the impact of industrial development on nature and seek win–win solutions where possible.

The RSYC and our members are extremely interested to be kept informed of the plans for development for the Southern Islands and the surrounding waterways as and when they may be activated in the near future and would be glad to provide feedback and be involved in the consultative process on plans for usage of these areas.

Yours sincerely

Dr Khoo Ih Chu
Commodore
Republic of Singapore Yacht Club