Nparks seems to be putting in an extraordinary effort to prevent people from visiting the nature reserves and parks.
First, it closed off the entire Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for a massive restoration when it could have easily obtained the same results by closing it section by section. Then even before that is completed, it closed Butterfly Trail for maintenance and upgrading as well! I am not too sure what is the urgency. But closing so many areas and forcing the people to continue to congest in MacRitchie and whatever remains of the Bukit Timah area! No wonder the accident rates between bikers and hikers are creeping up. And now there rumours that Gangsa Trail will also be closed! So is Nparks returning the whole catchment area to Mother Nature or are there plans to turn the whole area into a sterile giant park?
Not content with driving people out of the Central Catchment areas it has now turn its attention to discouraging people from going to the beautifully manicured parks that dot the island. In the stroke of a gantry, paid parking have sprung up in almost all the major parks. As most park visitors will know, with the exception of a few town parks, most of the other parks are not in exactly very easily accessible places and most time people really need to drive there. Most of these parks like at MacRitchie, Dairy Farm Pasir Ris, West Coast, East Coast and Admiralty used to have free ,parking. Now Nparks said because there are abuses of the car park by nearby residents and heavy vehicle drivers, it has to impose paid parking. What baloney! There has always been free parking and abuses. But the situation was not so bad to warrant such drastic actions. At most, the most popular and nearest carparks to HDB estates and commercial building are affected but many car parks are practically empty during the week days. While I have no quarrel with curbing the abuses, Nparks should have studied the problem closely, perhaps introduce paid parking only for those period where there are abuses meaning overnight parking and introduced some sort of tier or timed parking with a grace period. But of course it took the easy way out. Just introduce paid parking across the board. No need to worry about the details. And if less people goes to the park, better still. Less people means less damage to the park and less maintenance.
Nparks has done a fantastic job of greening Singapore but it is taking the Garden City too literally and turning all the green clumps of hills and forested areas that we have into a big garden with beautiful and neat hedges, manicured lawns, trees that looks good but provide no shades and no places for birds and other wild creatures to hide in.