TODAY: Save our green lung, say Pasir Ris residents

Pasir Ris Heights residents are looking to preserve a densely forested area in their backyard, around the size of two football fields. It is a home to at least 33 species of birds, some endangered. Some residents have started the Pasir Ris Greenbelt Committee and are petitioning to save the forested patch.

TODAY reports.

Save our green lung, say Pasir Ris residents

Ongoing petition to preserve woodland with numerous endangered bird species

SINGAPORE – Some residents of Pasir Ris Heights have started a petition to save a densely forested patch of land in their backyard, which is home to several endangered bird species.

The woodland in question is about the size of two football fields and flanked by Pasir Ris Drive 3, Elias Road and Pasir Ris Heights. Plots of land on either side of it have been sold to property developers Elitist Development and Capital Development in recent months.

It is slated for development and “subject to detailed planning” under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s 2008 Masterplan, but the residents hope to preserve the forested area and engage the authorities in a discussion before concrete plans for it are announced.

Mdm Cherry Fong, 54, who has lived in Pasir Ris Heights for 13 years, said: “Many birdwatchers come here and it’s a nesting place for some birds like the (black-naped) oriole.”

Mdm Fong is one of six residents – who call themselves the Pasir Ris Greenbelt Committee – leading the petition.

Last year, at the behest of her children to “do something to protect the forest”, the housewife made a scrapbook of wildlife spotted in the area and presented it to their Member of Parliament (MP), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, at his Meet-the-People Session.

The committee will approach the 320 households behind Pasir Ris Beach Park and some blocks of flats along Pasir Ris Drive 3 with the petition in the next fortnight, she said.

According to Mr Rajendran Nair, Vice-Chairman of the Pasir Ris Beach Park Neighbourhood Committee, there are plans for an international school to be built on the woodland, although this is not confirmed.

Acknowledging the ongoing petition, Mr Nair said the members of the Pasir Ris West Citizens’ Consultative Committee and Mr Teo would meet with residents to “explain developments to take place in the area”.

Out of nine Pasir Ris Heights residents TODAY spoke to, six said they were in favour of preserving the woodland.

Some of them cited views expressed last month by property analysts that the north-eastern part of Singapore is at risk of housing oversupply, and said it would be hard to recreate a wildlife habitat that has taken decades to generate.

“We moved here because of this,” said pre-school teacher Shashee Devi, 40, gesturing at the trees and a white-bellied sea eagle’s nest from the second floor of her home.

Teacher Yap M S, 54, a resident of 25 years added: “We understand there’s a need for development, but (the authorities) need to do a more thorough study.”

But Mr Hong Koh Hing, 56, a resident of 16 years, noted that “it also depends on what the land would be used for”.

A survey by the Nature Society done last month – at the invitation of Mdm Fong – recorded 33 species of birds in the area, including the endangered Changeable Hawk Eagle and critically endangered Oriental Pied Hornbill.

The Nature Society also noted that the survey was not exhaustive: “More surveys and during the migratory season will definitely yield more species records.”

Image taken from Arthur Chapman


5 thoughts on “TODAY: Save our green lung, say Pasir Ris residents

  1. This is not a green lung lah. Just some trees in a small plot that is not even anywhere close to conserving and has zero heritage value. This is not Dairy farm, bukit timah hill or Hillview where you have real nature reserves and exciting wild life like flying lemurs. These guys are just worried about their property value when the green patch is gone. Please don’t be selfish. We need to build homes for people and your so-called “nature reserves” is nothing compared to real nature reserves.

    1. I think it is easy to be dismissive about other people’s concerns. Would you say the same if you lived there? You don’t know these people and are so quick to judge. Regardless of whether it is heritage or not, this is about biodiversity and greenery, and it has health and social value. As the article states, there are at least 33 species of birds, and we cannot prioritise one animal over the other. They might not be exciting to you, but it will be to others. Let’s respect the wishes of others, and I think the real person who is acting selfish, is you, because you have not considered the interests of others.

      1. Hi,
        I am not surprised by such comments and its not the 1st time.
        For the many supporters I represent ( Heartlanders of Drive 3 and the Private Estate) , we want you to know that it is easier for us to move or migrate than to stay and fight for the Preservation for this stretch of Woodlands.
        That would be SELFISH ! !!!!
        However, We choose to be the VOICE for the Wildlife /Trees that cant speak for themselves and we do it for our Present and the Future generations.
        Imagine the time, when the trees that we see are those lined up in rows , and birds and feathers are only found presreved in Museums…this will be the case if we do not do something!

  2. Actually, is there any real indication that the plot of land will be developed over? How do you know for sure that something would be done to the land?

    1. I suppose we will find out a little bit more when residents meet Teo Chee Hean on 5 August 2012. See below:

      Dear residents of Pasir Ris Beach Park and Pasir Ris housing estate,

      Save The Pasir Ris Woodlands – Meeting With DPM Teo Chee Hean

      We’re pleased to inform you that a date has been set to meet our Minister in a dialogue session to put forth our plea for the preservation of the woodlands at the junction of Pasir Ris Ave 3 and Elias Road.

      Details of the dialogue session are as follows –

      Date : Sunday, 5th August 2012
      Time : 4:30-6pm
      Venue : To be comfirmed
      As a sizeable crowd is expected at the dialogue session, in order to secure seats, please arrive early at the venue. Let’s work together to save the Pasir Ris woodlands. See you on 5th August!

      Warm regards,
      Pasir Ris Greenbelt Committee

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