Singapore is getting a second Sentosa, where NTUC will build a ‘Downtown South’ – here’s what to expect

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered his National Day Rally speech on August 18 at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.
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Singapore may be small, but its penchant for developing and innovating means it hardly ever gets boring at all.

The island nation measures just 721.5 square kilometres (for comparison, neighbouring Malaysia measures 329,750 sq km) but already houses a variety of large-scale attractions from Sentosa and Jewel to Downtown East and the Singapore Zoo.

Now, Singaporeans can look forward to even more fun under the sun with plans for a resort island to be developed on the existing Pulau Brani, which currently houses the Brani Terminal.

The Brani Terminal is slated to move to Tuas in 2027.

Pulau Brani is located between Sentosa island and the main Singapore island.
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Here’s what to expect:

Downtown South resort

Artist’s impression featuring a bird’s eye view (day) of the developments on Sentosa and Pulau Brani, under the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan
Sentosa Development Corporation

Announcing the plans to develop Pulau Brani in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday (August 18), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the new resort island will be home to a new “Downtown South”, which was mooted by labour chief Ng Chee Meng.

According to the PM, Ng had said during a Cabinet discussion: “NTUC is very grateful to the Government for Downtown East. How about a Downtown South?”

NTUC’s Downtown East is one of Singapore’s largest recreational hubs, with attractions such as Wild Wild Wet, Tayo Station and a nature-inspired resort called D’Resort.

PM Lee said in his speech on Sunday: “I said, ok, we will do that. We will set aside land for the Labour Movement to build a resort, probably on Pulau Brani. We will make this gesture, to thank our workers for all their contributions to the nation. Because Singapore is for all of us.”

New attractions on Brani as Sentosa is revitalised

In his speech, the PM also said that the new Pulau Brani will have new attractions “just like we have Universal Studios on Sentosa”.

The new resort island will have attractions like Sentosa’s.

Sentosa, where Resorts World Sentosa is located, would also be “revitalised” together with Brani’s development, while its nature and heritage trails will be expanded “to keep its “island character”.

Part of the plans for Sentosa includes connecting it to the Rail Corridor. West Coast Park will also be connected to East Coast Park, PM Lee said.

“With a new green heart in the centre, Singapore will be even more of a City in a Garden,” he added.

Old power stations to have new life

Just like how St James Power Station was turned into a nightlife attraction, two old and decommissioned power stations in Pasir Pajang will also be given new leases of life through redevelopment.

The PM did not specify how these power stations will be refurbished or changed, but said that the Government “can find creative new uses for them”.

Greater Southern Waterfront will be size of six Marina Bays

PM Lee also talked about the Government’s long-term plans “to remake and take full advantage of our coastline”, including the development of the Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW).

First brought up in the 2013 National Day Rally, the GSW will comprise 30km of Singapore’s southern coastline, from Gardens by the Bay East to Pasir Panjang. On Sunday, PM Lee also revealed that the GSW will contain 2,000 hectares of land – six times the size of Marina Bay and double the size of Punggol.

It will include the current Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) city terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, and Brani, as well as the Pasir Panjang Terminals.

The city terminals will move to Tuas by 2027, and the Pasir Panjang Terminal will move to Tuas Port by 2040, opening opportunities for development at different junctures.

The existing Keppel Club golf course will be one of the first GSW developments when its lease expires in two years’ time, PM Lee said, adding that there is enough land on this site alone to build 9,000 housing units. These residential units will consist of both HDB and private housing with waterfront promenades, greenery, and open spaces.

“With GSW the size of two Punggols, you get a sense of the possibilities. Think of it as Punggol by the Bay,” PM Lee said.

The GSW will contain 2,000 hectares of land – six times the size of Marina Bay and double the size of Punggol.

There will also be more office spaces in the GSW. “People can work near where they live, and live near where they work. This will create life and activity both during the day and at night,” the PM said.

$100 billion over 100 years to protect Singapore’s coast

And while there is fun planned for Singapore’s shores, there are also some serious plans to protect the tiny nation from rising sea levels caused by climate change.

In his speech, PM Lee described rising sea levels and climate change as a “50 to 100-year problem”, and said the Government plans to implement “a 50 to 100-year solution” to protect Singapore from the problem.

Climate change defence plans must be implemented progressively and kept flexible, he said, adding that there is a need to start defence measures now and sustain the effort for future generations.

“We should treat climate change defences like we treat the [Singapore Armed Forces] – with utmost seriousness. Work steadily at it, maintain a stable budget year after year, keep your eye on the target and do it over many years and several generations.

“That way we can afford it, and when we need it, we will have it ready,” he said, adding that climate change defences are “life and death matters”.

Read also: Here are 3 key announcements PM Lee made at the National Day Rally that will affect millennials

“How much will it cost, to protect ourselves against rising sea levels? My guess is probably $100 billion over 100 years, quite possibly more,” he said.

The PM said that to deal with climate change, Singapore must do three things: understand climate change, mitigate climate change, and adapt to climate change.

According to him, the Centre for Climate Research Singapore has found that Singapore is more vulnerable to climate change than the global model suggests because of its proximity to the equator.

To mitigate climate change, Singapore needs to reduce CO2 emissions through measures such as the existing carbon tax. And while many Singaporeans have been doing their part to reduce waste, a global solution for climate change “is still very far off”, PM Lee said.

“So we must work for the best, but be prepared for the worst,” he said.

Part of the plans to adapt to climate change include requiring new developments to be built on higher platforms to prevent flooding, a second pump house at Marina Barrage and the building of polders.

To start, the Government is building a small polder at Pulau Tekong to gain some experience operating one, PM Lee revealed.

Polders are one option to protect the eastern coastline, but the Government is also considering reclaiming a series of islands offshore, from Marina East to Changi, he said.

But the PM also said that these options were just some possibilities to be explored.

“We have not done engineering drawings yet. We will examine all the options carefully, and when the time comes, we will decide what is the best way to do it,” he said.

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