SINGAPORE - Gardens by the Bay officially opens to the public on Friday,
marking the latest milestone of Singapore's vision in becoming a "City in
The Gardens was officially launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien
Loong on Thursday evening, who together with 700 invited guests, enjoyed a
special preview tour of Bay South Garden.
The Prime Minister called Gardens by the Bay "an icon" of the redeveloped
Marina Bay, adding that it is the latest manifestation of Singapore's Garden
Revealing that gardens are one of his favourite places, PM Lee said that
Gardens by the Bay is "a place that Singaporeans can be proud of, identify
with, and think of when we talk about Singapore".
The first part of the government-funded development that is ready is
Bay South Garden, which alone costs $1 billion. Other sections of the park will
open in phases.
At 54 ha, its highlights include the Supertrees, the Flower Dome and Cloud
forest conservatories, the Heritage Gardens and World of Plants; the Dragonfly
But he was candid about the difficult decision the government had to make in
allocating prime land for this purpose.
"Setting aside so much prime land in the heart of the new downtown for
Gardens by the Bay was not an easy decision. It could have used it for far more
valuable commercial and residential developments," PM Lee said.
"But our planners in Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) believed that a
large and beautiful park was an important element of our new downtown in Marina
Bay South, just like Central Park in New York, or Hyde Park in London."
He said that the project was also strongly supported by the former-Minister
for National Development Mah Bow Tan, who saw value in having Gardens by the
Bay right in the city, beyond enhancing the value of the rest of the land in
Marina Bay. Mr Mah was also present today.
PM Lee encouraged all Singaporeans to visit the Gardens, adding that it is
the "people's garden" for everyone - residents or visitors - to enjoy. He
said it is a great place for Singaporeans to relax after work or bring
the family there on weekends to enjoy a concert or a meal.
AsiaOne's very own Paul Lim checks it out at the official opening to find
out what's in store for you.
Here's part one. Check back for more photos tomorrow.