May 20, 2008

What happens when a river is dammed up?

The Singapore River now no longer flows to the sea with the construction of the Marina Barrrage. Is this recent development one of the possible consequences?

Robertson Quay restaurants raise a stink
Stench from river affecting business, they claim
Jinny Koh, Today Online 20 May 08;
full article also on wildsingapore news

YOU are dining al fresco by the river, tourists at the next table are taking in the tropical night scene, a gentle breeze blows — and suddenly, there is a smell from the river.

It is pungent and will not go away; and the night is ruined.

In February, Robertson Quay's management notified the Public Utilities Board (PUB) of the smell.

The agency in charge of Singapore's waterways investigated and found the stench occurred when water levels were low, exposing years of deposits and sediment accumulated along the riverbank.

A PUB contractor has carried out works to remove the deposits and sediment at the heavily-silted areas and is monitoring the situation closely. Still, there is a lingering smell; a second round of dredging starts this week, to be completed by the month's end.

The PUB has also tried to maintain a high water level whenever possible to avoid exposure of the sediment bed for prolonged periods of time.

The 15 or so Robertson Quay pubs and restaurants located along the river, the hardest-hit, could potentially play a part to improve the situation if they work with Waterways Watch, a non-governmental organisation that seeks to keep Singapore's waterways clean and free from pollution through patrols and public education.

It runs a programme called Friends of the Marina Association, in which participants contribute $120 a year as a form of financial support as well as display the organisation's pamphlets and posters at their premises.

But response has been dismal, said Waterways Watch chairman Eugene Heng, 59. "We visited them, sent letters to them, but they were not interested," he said.

There are only four Friends of the Marina despite efforts to reach out to about 200 businesses. Only one, Japanese restaurant Sangokushi Ryoriya, is on Robertson Quay.
Meanwhile, this doesn't stop further developments along the riverside...

Waterfront cluster with high-end appeal
New Fullerton Heritage zone has luxury retail and dining outlets to draw the well-heeled
Michelle Tay, Straits Times 20 May 08;
full article also on wildsingapore news

RAFFLES Place may be best known as the arena where high-flying bankers and corporate executives slog away for handsome salaries. But a small patch of it is set to become a luxury retail haven where they can spend their hard-earned cash on art, jewellery and fine dining.

The waterfront strip around the historic Collyer Quay is being transformed into a playground for well-heeled locals and tourists, as developers of the Fullerton Heritage zone seek to lure these big spenders away from Orchard Road.

Appetites will be catered for with One Fullerton set for an August relaunch with four new eateries.

And Aqua, famed in Hong Kong for its ultra-stylish harbourfront restaurant in Kowloon, will unveil its plans for its 'Chinese fine-dining' restaurant in Clifford Pier later this year.

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