Somehow or rather when people talk of Punggol just after I moved in, the common refrain is always a place where birds won’t lay eggs. For the less inclined it is basically saying it is a wasteland. Well come to think of it, right next to my block circa 2003, the whole place is an open space, where animals run and fly free.
Punggol used to be farm land and just across Sungei Serangoon, I remembered driving the 3 tonner truck to oversee Operation Big Dump (my camp was throwing all their old stuff away lah!). I would have never thought I would stay next to the rubbish dump then.
Fast forward 15 years in Punggol and we have a very nice longkang waterway. I have to give some credit to Mr Mah Bow Tan when it is credit due. Instead of having a water tunnel running the length of Punggol, he opted for a more aesthetic (more expensive) man made waterway. I can only say, I got a nice place to stay now with water everywhere and just hope ponding incidents are few and far between.
Today, I went down to take a look at the new plan called Punggol Digital District (PDD). It supposed to be part of the Punggol 21+ plan (why the plus? After the Asian Financial Crisis derailed the original plan, the development of the place hit a huge snag). I can safely say it is now Punggol 21++.
So here is in point form what will happen from the marketing spiel I have exposed myself today.
- A new campus for SiT (Singapore Institute of Technology) that will sit (pun fully intended) right smack in the middle of the new district.
- Surrounding it are ‘business parks’ to house businesses that will deal with SMART Nation. Basically a new term to coin Information Technology.
- Punggol Coast MRT will be built. So NEL will have a new station. Maybe Sentosa MRT Station can be had too!
- They say have new Hawker Centre around the Punggol Coastal MRT station.
- Transportation will be driver-less or to make it look sexier, everyone may be PMD’ed.
- The whole place will be developed in stages. The SIT should start in 5 years time around 2023.
Quite honestly I am pretty okay with the whole idea. I am actually trained in IT, Operations and Marketing so having an IT-centric PDD (PDD is actually a medical condition. Pervasive Developmental Disorders) and a school nearby is well quite something that I hope could get a job in. I basically can PMD myself to work.
Based on the plan it just seem more like a working studying place. URA seems to try very hard to make it a lifestyle place but seems like the message is lost somewhere. Being hedonistic myself I think I shall indulge in some feedback here.
- Where’s the hawker centre? Right inside the mall? Seriously? Can’t we do some nice Hawker Village or something right next to the water edge? Something like East Coast Park Hawker Centre?
- With all the big hoo haa about PMD and pedestrian being salty towards each other, I think it is high time to actually plan a bicycle/PMD friendly place right from the get go. Doing this would actually help SIT and companies who are into Personal Mobility Solutions to have a nice testing area with properly demarcated areas for PMDs to travel. Hopefully no more who has right of way issues. This should be the best time to set a Singapore Standard for PMD/Cycling/Pedestrian management on such paths to be deployed throughout the island.
- How about charging ports and secure parking slots for PMDs?
- Moving away from the CBD. It is a good idea. The problem is about the attitudes when it comes to office location. One can’t dismiss the fact that personnel in the HQ office has perceived higher chance of promotion. After all that’s where all the big bosses are. We as a nation must change the attitude when it comes to telecommuting. For plans such as PDD to work in the future, working off-site shouldn’t be seen as disadvantageous to one’s career plans but this is exactly what happens to some who are deployed from HQ to satellite offices. Isn’t PDD the main thrust to get Singapore to be SMART? But our bad HR tendencies need to change first.
I am certainly happy that something more is done here in Punggol and making it the hippiest place in Singapore. It can only meant this place’s HDB resale prices can only go up further and demand for a flat here go red hot.
Now, can I know when my swimming pool is coming? And how about the library and civic plaza like the one in Tampines is coming to the Northeast since the plan was around since the late 2000s.