Article first appeared in Malay at Cyberita
Imagine being able to drive in Pulau Ubin while enjoying nature, and no longer having to take a boat and the diesel fumes that come with it.
Or enjoy the beauty of the sunset on a bridge after dining at Changi Village, and then continue the drive on the same bridge to return home on the main island.
Such an experience will one day be possible when the government's plan to build a road network between main island and Pulau Ubin is implemented, beyond 2030.
Plans to develop Pulau Ubin, however, received different reactions from experts and nature lovers.
There are those who want the island - which is popular among nature enthusiasts and those who love cycling and fishing – to be left as it is now.
While others are excited about the prospect of a possible unique waterfront housing development.
The road network plan was first made public in the Land Use Plan report released recently.
In the published map, the route is shown to start from Changi to Pulau Tekong, then Pulau Ubin and back to the main island near Lorong Halus
However, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of National Development (MND), the road network between the main island to Pulau Ubin, which will also be connected to Pulau Tekong, is a long term plan.
It is to provide continuity in the event that the two islands were developed later, the spokesman added.
In the Land Use Plan, Pulau Tekong will be categorised as an integrated military training zone.
However, no further information on the island was presented, which currently has a number of kampung houses and natural areas which are popular among anglers and those who love cycling.
According to a researcher at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of National University of Singapore (NUS) specialising in transportation, Associate Professor Lee Der Horng, the link is justified since the total population is expected to increase.
Asked in what form would the link be expected, he said "an above water bridge is more appropriate than an underwater tunnel as it is cheaper and faster to build."
A bridge would not block small vessels from passing through the Straits of Johor between Singapore and the two islands in the northeast of the country, he added.
Large vessels are expected to no longer sail through the straits as Sembawang shipyard operations will be stopped and a water coastal area has already been planned for the site.
The area is expected to offer a wide range of business activities and will form part of the North Coast Innovation Corridor, planned between Woodlands and Punggol.
But Associate Professor Lee feel that it is better to let Pulau Ubin be left as it is "so that Singaporeans can go there to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life".
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PropNex, Mr Ismail Gafoor, said while he agree that the plan is still far in the future, Pulau Ubin has the potential to be a "dream waterfront residential address, like Sentosa".
"Waterfront towns with unblocked coastal water view, not crowded and windy are often able to command premium prices of 20 per cent higher.
"Housing on the island is able to attract the same premium," he said.
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