Aug 15, 2008

A saltwater lake at the Southern Islands?

Here's some recent info and comments in the print media about our Southern islands ...

Lianhe Zaobao 14 Aug 08
translation from the colourful clouds blog

Extracts:

"我国南部岛屿四周海域日后可能建造巨型的人工咸水湖?
(Man-made seawater lake/lagoon may be constructed in waters around the southern islands?)

刚于上个月底卸下圣淘沙南部岛屿发展计划执行董事职务的李张秀虹,昨天接受本报专访时说,一旦这个人工咸水湖的构思得以落实,相信将能为南部岛屿注入独特风情,日后政府出售地段发展旅游胜地时,预料将能卖得更好的价钱。
("If the idea of the man-made seawater lake/lagoon can be implemented, it will inject a unique style to the southern islands. In addition, it may help fetch a better price if the Government sells the lots for tourism development in the future." Said Mrs Pamelia Lee, ex-managing director of Sentosa and southern island development project, in an interview with Zaobao.)

打从80年代就接手南部岛屿发展计划的李张秀虹(66岁)透露,她已征询过专业顾问的意见,在南部岛屿周围海域筑起堤围来形成一个巨大的咸水湖,技术上应该没有问题。
(Mrs Lee, who has been handling the southern island development project since the 80's said that she had consulted the views of professional consultants regarding the building of embankment to form a huge lake/lagoon. And technically speaking, it should not be a problem.)

这么一来,游人便可在被蔚蓝海洋包围着的湖水中,更安全地尽情享受各种水上活动,甚至可在湖畔建造诗情画意的船屋(Houseboat)。
(If such is a case, tourists will be able to enjoy various water sports activities surrounded in blue water safely. Picturesque Houseboats can also be built within the lake/lagoon.)
  
她说:“如果建有咸水湖,岛上就能提供更多空间让游人划船和进行水上运动,也能建造船屋等。目前世界上有不少度假胜地设有咸水湖和船屋,但它们的规模和特色同我的概念不一样。”
(She said that the islands will be able to provide more space for tourists to do boating/other water sports as well as constructing houseboats if the lake/lagoon is built. She also mentioned that the lake and houseboats that she has in mind are very different from those currently found in other resorts in some parts of the world.)

据知,有关计划还需通过海事及港务管理局(MPA)的批准才能落实。
(It is understood that the plan needs the approval by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore(MPA) in order for it be able to implement.)


Keep southern islands' natural and spiritual wealth
Letter from Malcolm Tan, Straits Times Forum 14 Aug 08;
also on the wildsingapore news blog

I REFER to yesterday's article, 'Southern islands at crossroads'. I read with alarm that the departure of Mrs Pamelia Lee as managing director of Sentosa Leisure Group (SLG) may jeopardise the eco-paradise potential of the southern islands. It is indeed sad to learn that Mrs Lee seems to be the 'lone voice' in SLG, fighting for the preservation of the natural heritage of the southern islands.

I have stayed on St John's Island and crossed to Lazarus Island many times, and my photos attest to the fact that the two islands have much natural and spiritual wealth to offer Singaporeans and foreigners that cannot be found elsewhere on the mainland. Amid our hectic urban schedules, my friends and I have always found our spiritual refuge on the two islands with their many naturally therapeutic highlights.

The seas around the two islands are amazingly clear at certain times of the year and support much marine fauna and flora that are rare on the mainland. Many of these can be seen clearly on an especially low tide. One of our last stretches of natural coastal rocky shores in Singapore is also found here, with plenty of intact seashells lying buried in the soft sand. There is even a stretch of naturally soft sand bar on Lazarus Island, where one can walk to an outlying rock without getting completely submerged, even at high tide.

Moreover, nowhere else in Singapore can one see as many as 18 Brahminy Kites soaring gracefully in the air, spotting for prey and even occasionally diving down to the sea to take fish out with a quick and well-timed swoop. Add to these, the spectacular 'red ball' sunset over the open sea and the occasional sighting of pink dolphins in the water and one can understand why these islands are so magical.

The many Singaporeans and foreigners I met on the islands all agreed the authorities should preserve them in their natural state for posterity. It would be sad indeed if these islands are converted into another casino or another rich man's exclusive playground. That would be the sad day when most ordinary Singaporeans like me cannot claim the southern islands are part of our homeland as we have no access to their natural beauty. When that happens, the authorities should not be surprised if some of us choose to seek 'greener pastures' elsewhere. For we would then have truly seen that this country is an elitist one, where only dollars and cents matter, despite all the recent hype about the importance of work-life balance, nature conservation and eco-tourism.


[update: Sentosa announces new shore attractions in 2009 and new master plan by end of the year. More on the wild shores of singapore blog]

1 comment:

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