The park was constructed in 1988, and is one of the biggest and most popular parks in Singapore.
Amenities in the park include Aramsa Spa, a children's playground, a frequently-used dog run, a Garden Spa, cycling and running tracks, an inline skates rental outlet as well as a couple of F&B outlets. Many types of plants can be found in the park including the Chinese Fan Palm and Phoenix Palm. A flower garden called Frangipani Garden and a vegetable garden called Green Vibes Garden accompany the scenic lakes and shaded lawns to offer some of the best relaxation spots for picnics and family gatherings.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the official opening of the ABC Waters@Kallang River-Bishan Park Project on 3 October 2009. The project, initiated by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the National Parks Board (NParks), will see the transformation of the existing canal into a natural meandering river upon completion. Slated to be completed in 2011, it will also include the construction of additional facilities such as a River Promenade and three new playgrounds.
The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme was launched in 2006 to transform the country’s water bodies beyond their functions of drainage and water supply into beautiful and clean rivers and lakes with new spaces for community bonding and recreation. At the same time, it promotes the application of a new, water-sensitive urban design approach (also known as ABC Waters design features in Singapore) to managing rainwater sustainably. A long-term initiative, over 100 locations have been identified for project implementation in phases by 2030, with 20 projects already completed, bringing people closer to water. ABC Waters @ Kallang River – Bishan Park is one of the flagship projects under this programme. The park was due for major refurbishment and the Kallang River in the form of a concrete channel along the park edges was also due for upgrading to cater to increased rainwater runoff from the catchment due to urbanisation. Plans were thus made to carry out redevelopment works together, transforming Kallang River from a linear utilitarian concrete drainage channel into a meandering, natural river through the park.
Design process Edit
The integration of the river and park involved joint responsibilities between government agencies in charge of different areas (parks and water). National water agency, PUB, and NParks engaged Atelier Dreiseitl (design) and CH2M Hill (engineering) to look at how the park, river and surrounding residential estates could be integrated as one. This took place through a series of workshops, on-site tours and discussions where issues were thrown out and ideas were exchanged and debated. The suitability of plant species for soil bioengineering, for example, had not been implemented in Singapore prior to this, and thus had to be tested – this was done through a year-long survey at the test reach (see Techniques). Other parties which came on board included bioengineering specialists and horticulturists.
Soil bioengineering Edit
- Main article: soil bioengineering
The use of soil bioengineering techniques (a combination of vegetation, natural materials and civil engineering techniques) to stabilize the river banks and prevent erosion was a first for Singapore and is a new reference for soil stabilisation in the tropics, which have otherwise rarely been used or documented. In 2009, a test bed was constructed, testing about 10 different soil bioengineering techniques and a wide variety of tropical plant species along a length of 60 metres at one of the side drains in the park. Seven of these techniques were then selected for use along the main river. These include fascines, rip-rap with cuttings, geotextile wrapped soil-lifts, brush mattresses with fascines, reed rolls, planted gabions, and geotextile with plantings. The test bed was used to refine the selection of appropriate techniques and plants, as well as the most efficient and effective construction methods. Extensive systematic testing was carried out, including measuring the depth and tenacity of root development.
Cleansing biotope Edit
- Main article: Constructed wetland
Cleansing biotopes offer effective water treatment while maintaining a natural and beautiful environment. They consist of carefully selected plants in a filter medium which helps to cleanse the water by filtering pollutants and absorbing nutrients. Located upstream in the park, the cleansing biotope helps to maintain the water quality of the ponds without the use of chemicals.
Within the park, a new water playground was designed to increase the attractiveness and visitor enjoyment of the park. Water for this playground is supplied by cleansed pond water that has been filtered through the cleansing biotope and has undergone an ultraviolet (UV) treatment to eliminate any harmful biological contaminants without introducing any chemicals into the water.
Park features Edit
Three new playgrounds were constructed for children to enjoy. New bridges, stepping stones in the water and a riverside gallery were also built to encourage increased interaction with water. Existing features such as the foot reflexology feature, community garden, dog run and fitness areas were refurbished to update the overall look of the park.
No wildlife was introduced to the park but the introduction of the naturalised river into the park has seen the park’s biodiversity increase by 30%. Singapore lies within the East Asian – Australasian Flyway so the park can expect to receive some special migratory bird visitors. A few surprise visitors have already been spotted including Zanzibar Red Bishop, a native to Africa, the Spotted Wood Owl, native to the jungle forest in Indonesia, Long-tailed Parakeet, native in the Andaman islands and the Orange-cheeked Waxbill, native to western and central Africa. Birds (such as the Purple Heron, Scaly-breasted Munia and the White-breasted Waterhen) that are seldom seen in a high-dense urban neighbourhood have also been spotted roosting among the new vegetation. The Malay Archipelago is one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots, second only to the Amazon, and the tropical rainforest climate is home to an abundance of lush vegetation.
The restoration of the river has created a huge variety of micro-habitats which not only increase biodiversity but the resilience of species within the park, meaning their long term ability to survive is greatly improved.
Amidst a crowd of 2000 people including residents, local community partners such as schools and non-profit groups, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the redeveloped park on 17 March 2012, renaming it Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
- Atelier Dreiseitl
- CH2M Hill
- Bishan Park - National Parks Board
- Bishan Park - Public Utilities Board
- Bishan Park Opening AsiaOne News Article
- World Landscape Architect
- Landscape Architecture Magazine