There are no amusement rides or hotdog stands, but that didn’t stop droves of cyclists and nature lovers from flocking to Coney Island Park just hours after it opened to the public last Saturday, 10 October, reported Channel News Asia.
Situated off Singapore’s North East coast, the 50ha park was built with an emphasis on sustainability. The aim is to enhance and protect the variety of habitats on the island.
For instance, the timbre of fallen Casurina trees was used to make signs, benches and boardwalks, while rainwater is collected to flush toilets.
“A lot of us, when we are stuck on mainland Singapore everything’s fast paced,” said Sumita Thiagarajan, a 21-year-old volunteer guide for the park.
“When we come out to islands like these we can enjoy the rustic nature, and slow down a little, then you get to see all the wildlife and you’re like ‘oh Singapore has wildlife’.”
Aside from biodiversity, there are other reasons why the park could become more popular than places such as Pulau Ubin.
“It’s much easier for the public to access because it’s actually connected to the mainland,” shared NParks’ senior director for parks, Kartini Omar.
“It is also very well connected with the park connector network, the North Eastern Riverine Loop from Punggol Point, so it’s just 500m away.”
Those wanting to visit Coney Island Park can take a bus to Punggol Point Park and walk 500 metres to enter the park’s western entrance, or drive down the Tampines Expressway to Pasir Ris Industrial Drive 6 for the park’s eastern entrance.
NParks revealed that the development of the park is just part of the overall plan for Coney Island, which includes areas for recreation, sports and possibly even housing. In fact, an interim park has been planned for the island’s western end.
Despite these plans, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan, who officially opened the park, hopes it will serve as a symbol of sustainability.
“We will of course keep the island rustic and keep to its natural state as much as possible…This is so that Singaporeans, especially young Singaporeans, can get to enjoy and get close to nature,” said Mr Khaw.