Dover Forest to be used for both housing and nature; first housing project to be launched in 2022

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SINGAPORE – The plans for Dover Forest usage has been revised, with public housing anticipated to be launched on the eastern half in 2022, while the western half is put aside currently to preserve its biodiversity. This is the next announcement of housing plans around the area since the One North Eden site.

This young secondary forest land in Singapore’s western half is zoned for residential use, however the plans were tweaked following nature enthusiasts and scientific studies raised attention to the value in conserving the forest.

To maintain equilibrium between the nation’s needs for both nature and housing, only the eastern portion of the 33 hectare site – about 8 times the area of the Padang – will be developed in the short term. The One-North Eden Developer also designed the condominium to encompass nature with residence.

The idea is to develop about 11 hectares of land in the eastern half for public residential projects. The earliest of the flats are predicted to be launched for sale in the later half of next year, declared the Housing Development Board (HDB) on 30th July 2021, Friday.

The development of the region, which is sited in the established estate of Queenstown, will be conducted sensitively and also showcase 5 hectare of greenery – inclusive of a nature park with a natural stream.

The western part of the site will

be put aside currently and re-explored at in after 10 years, said HDB. However parts of this sector, which has more biodiversity than the other half, will be partitioned out and safeguarded as a conservation park. This will be the next green feature for residents of One-North Eden and Clavon location to visit.

Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, commented on Wednesday during a media conference: “HDB had initially intended to launch the whole parcel, known as Ulu Pandan Forest or (also) Ulu Pandan vegetated area, to build public homes to meet pressing needs for residences in the short term. However we have decided to relook at it and refine the plan.”

This decision was firmed up after receiving feedback from contributors of the public and the research results of 2 distinct scientific studies.

The first study, commissioned by Housing Board to inventory the wildlife on the land, had discovered that the western half of the site was richer in biodiversity, encompassing more large trees and endangered species.

The second study done by the National Parks Board, in collaboration with experts, modelled how the Dover forest links with other nature parts of Singapore.

This exercise had revealed that the location was an important stepping stone for wildlife travelling in from the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which is north of the location, as well as from the natural vegetation in the Southern Ridges southwards.

These factors informed plans for the area.

While other projects have incorporated green elements prior to this, these features are generally included on an individual-project basis.

This is the first time vegetation on a land is being safeguarded using a broader landscape approach, in a method that will permit the plot to function as a stepping stone for wildlife travelling from other forests.

Mr Desmond Lee said: “On the top of our minds was our part as responsible stewards of our natural environment and land, to fulfill the needs of present day Singaporeans and future generations, while making sure that we protect resources for (the future).”

Dover Forest is bordered by Ghim Moh Link, Commonwealth Avenue West, Clementi Road and Ulu Pandan Canal.

Public residential development plans for the land were announced last December, with Mr Desmond Lee saying on social media platform Facebook then that Build-To-Order flats to be launched in 2021 would be in this zone.

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Conservation Koh Lian Pin mentioned: “Definitely I would have loved to see the whole Dover Forest conserved. However when there are competing utilizations of the land from residential needs, for example… the (scientific exercise) is vital for giving the scientific foundation to triage which portion of the forest to protect.”

Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/dover-forest-to-be-used-for-both-housing-and-nature

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