If the Singapore Botanic Gardens is renowned for its, well, flower and fauna, then Farrer Park can be considered as the seedbed for all the great athletes that Singapore has produced.
Having said that, the sports facilities there are ancient by Singapore standards and it’s time for a change, while retaining its original charm.
Buy-To-Order Exercise for Farrer Park
In a joint statement released by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Sport Singapore, and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) this Monday (25 Apr), it was revealed that the 10-hectare-large Farrer Park is slated for redevelopment.
Among their grand plans are 1,600 new HDB flats, integrated with sports and recreational facilities, such as a brand-new sports centre.
The Buy-To-Order exercise should be open in the next three years.
The site is roughly the size of 19 football fields, bounded by Dorset Road, Keng Lee Road, Hampshire Road and Race Course Road.
Better yet, it’s close to Little India and Farrer Park MRT stations, the Tekka Market, and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which makes it an ideal and convenient area to stay in.
As a homage to its rich sporting heritage, approximately 20% of the land will be set aside for open spaces for sports and recreational activities, while another 1.2 hectares will be dedicated to creating a green space, comprising a field and a park.
Upgrades to Pre-existing Sports Facilities
The agencies are holding true to their words about preserving the sporty ambience with a multitude of upgrades.
For instance, the former boxing gym building which served as the former training grounds for the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association will be converted into a multi-purpose community sporting space.
Although the Farrer Swimming Complex will be demolished as a whole, the agencies promised that a new sports centre with swimming pools and other sporting facilities will be built on the exact location.
In the 2019 Draft Master Plan Exhibition, the agencies had hoped that they could retain the infrastructure, but deeper observations have shown that pool filtration and underground piping are in need of a complete overhaul, which would be more cost-effective than attempting to fix the current system.
The multi-storey carpark in the area will also be designed in a way that allows for the first floor to be utilised as a sporting facility.
Besides that, the agencies intend to pave a jogging track that weaves through the housing estates and connects them to the sporting facilities.
Meeting the Needs of Residents
To further increase the ease of access to various amenities, three-generation playgrounds and fitness corners will be built around the housing estates to encourage the residents to keep fit and stay active.
The amenities also include new commercial and social communal spaces, like precinct shops and a childcare centre.
The agencies felt that the redevelopment was crucial to rejuvenate the brownfield sites, bringing in new residents and new users to the park and facilities.
In doing so, the agencies believe that it will better retain the heritage and significance of Farrer Park.
Additionally, the agencies are working with the relevant stakeholders to amplify the character and identity of the estate by drawing inspiration from Farrer’s park’s rich history. They hope that the thematic playgrounds and motifs, and new sport facilities will hold a unique resemblance to the old, in remembrance of what the space used to be.
Farrer Park’s History
Ever since the 1940s, Farrer Park has been Singapore’s unofficial sports hub.
The Farrer Park Athletics Centre was built in 1956, the Farrer Park Swimming Complex followed closely in 1957, alongside a boxing gym and eight tennis courts.
Indisputably, it was one of the places where footballers, track and field runners, tennis, rugby, hockey, and squash players would love to congregate due to the abundance of sports facilities available to them.
Farrer Park has seen its fair share of home-grown sports celebrities too.
Former national swimmer Ang Peng Siong, the world’s fastest freestyler over 50m in 1982, remembers growing up in the area and running the APS Swim School at the Farrer Park Swimming Complex.
It was also the training and competition centre for several prominent athletes, like the former national sprinter Glory Barnabas. Nice name.
She won two gold, three silver, and three bronze medals at the South-East Asian Peninsular Games (SEAP) in 1967, 1969, and 1973.
Similarly, former national athlete Natahar Bava trained at Farrer Park, clinching silver and bronze medals at the SEAP Games and Asian Games between 1965 and 1968.
Afterwards, he changed careers and became the national rugby team coach.
For the residents that have lived in the area for decades, they love the open spaces and what Farrer Park represents as well.
In an interview with The Straits Times, 48-year-old Peggy Chua reminisced how she learned swimming at Farrer Park Swimming Complex at six years old. When her own son eventually turned six-years-old, she also enrolled him into APS Swim School. He’s now 15.
Another resident by the name of Douglas Ng, who runs a fishball noodle store at Circuit Road, regularly brings his three-year-old son to Farrer Park to play football.
Having the opportunity to play on large fields is rare, Mr Ng notes, and he’s glad that the new estate will incorporate large spaces where he and his son can continue to enjoy playing soccer.
Mr Ng also hopes that it will incentivise more sports communities to come together and forge closer bonds, since the redevelopment presents endless possibilities.
These establishments hold many fond memories for the older generation, and they were gratified by the knowledge that the agencies are trying to preserve as much of the old value as they can.
The old must make way for the new, but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be erased.
- Everything About the New BTO Launches Whereby Flats in Kallang Whampoa Are Under Prime Location Model
- Photographer Captured Image of a Lightning Bolt Striking Directly Into a Specific HDB Flat
- New Survey Shows That S’pore Spends More Time Online Than Sleeping
- As SGD$1 Hits RM3:15, it’s the Highest in 5 Years & 1 Person Even Reportedly Bought RM100K
Featured Image: Housing and Development Board
After two years, Japan is finally reopening for Singapore tourists, but it’s not the usual reopening you’d have expected. Here’s what you need to know: