Dover Forest: MP Christopher De Souza wants to preserve site, files motion for debate

Dover Forest (Photo: Google Maps)
Dover Forest (Photo: Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC’s Ulu Pandan ward Christopher De Souza has filed an adjournment motion in Parliament in a bid to preserve the Dover Forest in his constituency.

“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,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday (18 January).

There has been intense discussion online over the 33 ha forest in recent days.

The site had been zoned for residential development in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2014. Minister for National Development Desmond Lee last month also announced that some of the Built-to-Order flats to be launched in 2021 would be in Ulu Pandan Estate in Queenstown.

Last Friday, the Nature Society of Singapore’s Conservation Committee, in a 13-page report, called for the forest to be designated a public-cum-nature park based on its biodiversity data: there are 120 plant species and 158 animals that call it home, including critically endangered ones.

An online petition to save the forest by long-time Dover resident Sydney Cheong on five days ago has also since garnered more than 30,000 signatures as at noon on Tuesday.

“While some might argue that Singapore’s housing needs and infrastructural development should take precedence over biodiversity conservation, the latest scientific evidence on the climate and ecological emergencies suggest that further destruction of forests will negatively impact our health, sustainability and resilience as a nation,” he wrote on the site.

Meanwhile, Workers’ Party MP Dennis Tan on Sunday called for the Ministry of National Development to make public the outcome of its consultation over the use of the site.

“The climate crisis is real and urgent, and conserving forests is an important part of tackling this crisis. We must continue to advocate for the conservation of our important green spaces in Singapore,” he said on Facebook.

If no other MP files an adjournment motion for the next Parliament sitting on 1 February, half an hour will be allocated to debating De Souza’s motion. If there is more than one such motion filed, a ballot will decide the motion for debate.

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