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Jurong Lake District’s momentum remains unaffected despite HSR uncertainty, Minister Wong

Ravi Philemon

Jurong Lake District’s momentum and vision has not changed despite the uncertainty over the Kuala-Lumpur to Singapore High Speed rail project. The Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong who said this in Parliament today added: “Some details may need to be adjusted along the way, as circumstances change. But the bottom line is that we have an exciting transformation plan for the whole area, and we will proceed with the implementation of these plans when ready.”

Jurong Lake District's momentum

In responding to responding to a question from MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Alex Yam, Mr Wong said: “The bottom line is that we have an exciting transformation plan for the whole area, and we will proceed with the implementation of these plans when ready.” Mr Yam had asked on the implications for development plans for sites along the Singapore stretch of the HSR, especially in the Jurong Lake District and land acquisition for the proposed HSR, should the project be terminated.

Mr Wong believes that the Jurong Lake District’s momentum won’t be affected because plans for the area “were developed well before Malaysia proposed the HSR project”.

“It was only in 2015, after further study of the HSR proposal, that we decided to locate the Singapore terminus of the HSR in Jurong,” he added.

News that the Malaysian Government plans to scrap the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project rocked the property market sentiments built around the Jurong Lake District area. Some experts suggested that the decision by the Malaysian Government could leave a ‘hole’ in Jurong Lake District area.The Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had earlier today clarifed that there has been no official word on this from his Malaysian counterpart.

Jurong Lake District’s momentum is unlikely to be affected even with the exit of the HSR project as the area is being developed as Singapore’s second Central Business District.

“The development of Jurong Lake District is part of Singapore’s broader effort to develop urban centres outside the downtown area, so as to bring jobs, amenities and recreational options closer to homes,” the Minister said.

The development plans for the Jurong Lake District area includes several new projects like the building of 20,000 new homes as well as the expansion of major transport hub connecting the existing North-South and East-West MRT lines, as well as the upcoming Jurong Region and Cross Island lines. It also includes plans to upgrade the Jurong Lake Gardens.

Jurong Region Line to lift fortunes of properties at Choa Chu Kang and Boon Lay along with Jurong Lake District

Mr Wong said that these plans are still relevant today and that the land parcels that the Government has acquired are needed to realise these plans.

“The land parcels that the Government has acquired are needed to realise these plans,” he said, adding that the Jurong Country Club site will provide for new mixed-use developments and community facilities, while the Raffles Country Club site is needed for the Cross Island Line western depot and other transport related uses.

The Malaysian Finance Minister had earlier said that the “Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail can be “so much cheaper (and that) if the financial architecture is done right, it doesn’t need to cost so much.

“If you work out the financial architecture, I think we can get it (Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project) so much cheaper. With the Bandar Malaysia land and all that…but I don’t want to reveal too much,” he added.

Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail may be revived if the price is right

These comments by Lim raised expectations in some quarters that the shelved Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project may be revived sometime in the future in keeping with the Jurong Lake District’s momentum which ha picked up steam in recent months.

There is now some 160 hectares of land that is yet to be developed within the 360-hectare district. More than 40 per cent of the mixed-use business area is set aside for residential purposes. Developments for the Jurong Lake District are centered around the Jurong East MRT station. With established businesses around the MRT station – like the International business park, IMM (a major shopping mall), along with other new shopping malls, a hospital, educational hubs, high rise offices and residential units – Jurong Lake District is looking very credible as a regional centre even without the HSR project.

Jurong Gateway is also most likely to be the  crown jewel in the Jurong Lake District vicinity. With a catchment consumer base of Jurong East HDB dwellers and the Lakeside village (a designated dining place) the Jurong Lake District is likely to be developed fast and find success quickly.According to the URA’s Masterplan, most of the developments will be centred around Jurong Gateway for a start.

Good tenants at Lakeside village may bring people closer to enjoying the lakeside. Lakeside village is connected via bridges to Japanese Garden and Chinese Garden, bringing lakeside enjoyment to the residents staying nearby.

Jurong Lake District project which includes developments along Yuan Ching Road are yet to be developed, but once this area develops with waterfront hotels, it would revitalize the area and possibly lead the Jurong Lake District to become a reality much sooner – in 5 – 7 years time. Some HDB flats around Ho Ching road area in the Jurong Lake District are built in 1972 and are ripe for selective en-bloc redevelopment, at 42 years old.

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