Singapore—People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Christopher de Souza said in a Facebook post on Monday (Jan 18) that he filed a request to speak about preserving Dover Forest.
He wrote, “In particular, the request came in the form of a proposed adjournment motion which I titled ‘Preservation of Dover Forest in Ulu Pandan’”.
The MP is part of the PAP team at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC for Ulu Pandan and is the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Mr de Souza added that at the next sitting, he may end up with a full 30 minutes allotted to his motion if no other Member of Parliament would vie for an adjournment motion.
He wrote in his post, “I support housing and redevelopment. But, I also cherish greenery and the serenity it offers people and wildlife. I will also raise and explore possible, vacant alternative sites.
These will be among the main issues of my speech – along with promoting and preserving green, natural, and sustainable spaces across Ulu Pandan, which is the constituency I have the privilege of serving.”
The 33-hectare Dover Forest has been much in the news lately.
Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2014, the area was zoned for residential development.
Mr Desmond Lee, the Minister for National Development, announced last month that among the Built-to-Order flats to be launched this year, some would be located at Ulu Pandan Estate in Queenstown.
However, on Friday (Jan 15), the Nature Society of Singapore’s Conservation Committee, called for Dover Forest to be set apart as a nature park, given the biodiversity in the area, which has 158 animals, among some are critically endangered ones, and 120 plant species.
There is also a petition to save the forest on change.org with nearly 32,000 signatories.
The petition was started by a long time resident of Dover Estate, an environmentalist named Sydney Cheong.
Mr Cheong wrote, “I am appealing to the Housing Development Board and the relevant authorities to conserve Dover Forest by converting it into a nature park. It would be a huge loss to the natural heritage and biodiversity of Singapore if a forest of this statue is destroyed and cleared. Also, many plants and animals will not survive when the forest is removed and we will lose the many benefits of a forest ecosystem.”
Some members of the Workers’ Party, MP Dennis Tan (Hougang SMC ) and politician Nicole Seah, have also chimed in on the issue.
In a Facebook post, Mr Tan wrote he was “saddened to hear that Dover forest will be cleared for housing, after being left untouched for 40 years”.
He underlined the importance of conserving forests in fighting climate change.
On her part, Ms Seah encouraged Singaporeans to give feedback concerning Dover Forest on the feedback form of HDB.
She wrote on her Facebook account, “I can only imagine the richness of biodiversity within a forest space as pristine as Dover. Such biodiversity is important for Singaporeans, because it contributes to cooler ambient temperature and general respite.”
Red Dot United, another political party, also issued a statement on the issue. As with the others, the party expressed environmental concerns over using Dover Forest for housing purposes.
The secretary-general of the Red Dot United, Mr Ravi Philemon, said, “Every sizeable secondary forest that we fail to conserve is like overspending on our credit cards and incurring exponentially increasing debts due to compounding interests.”
Red Dot United suggested the redevelopment of brownfield sites as an alternative to using Dover Forest. The party stated that there are underutilised lands in Singapore, as well as old industrial sites, that may be used for housing and industrial purposes.
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