Neighbourhood Nostalgia: Jurong

Jurong Lake

Surrounded by lush greenery, plants, birds, and animals, Jurong Lake has grown to become an icon of Jurong town. In addition to natural habitats for wildlife, the lake is also home to some of Eunice’s fondest memories when growing up.

Eunice at Jurong Lake
Eunice Lam, long-time resident of Jurong

“During my secondary school days, my friends and I would often jog in Lakeside Garden,” Eunice recounts. “We once spent almost two hours jogging and strolling along the lake to enjoy the sunset view!”

Eunice admiring flora and fauna at Jurong lake
Eunice admiring the flora and fauna during an evening stroll

No longer the industrial estate known for its brickworks and steel industries of the ‘60s, Jurong has transformed into a self-sufficient satellite town with a vibrant community. Today, the town is home to over 320,000 residents, and a wide variety of facilities and recreational spaces such as Jurong Lake.

Transforming Jurong Lake into a Leisure Destination

As part of efforts to revitalise the town, Jurong was identified to be renewed and further developed under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) Programme in 2011.

One key aspect of the plan was the transformation of Jurong Lake into a leisure destination. Comprising the Lakeside, Chinese and Japanese Gardens, residents can look forward to new attractions and promenades that will be added as part of the rejuvenation works. The revamped Jurong Lake Gardens will be reintroduced to the public in phases, with the first phase marked by Lakeside Garden’s opening in April 2019.

Eunice walking at board walk at Jurong Lake
The waterfront boardwalk is one of the new features of Lakeside Garden

The new Lakeside Garden comprises features such as a water play area (Clusia Cove), Singapore’s largest nature heartland play garden (Forest Rumble) and a boardwalk experience (Rasu Walk) through the freshwater swamp forest.

Eunice enjoying view of Jurong Lake
Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the park

A nature lover, Eunice was especially excited about the park’s opening. “My family visited the park on its official opening day and we were impressed by the wide variety of floral and fauna, as well as the new amenities. The park looks so much more inviting, I can’t wait to visit the other parts of the revamped Jurong Lake Gardens,” she said.

Revamp in the Neighbourhoods

Under the ROH plans, Jurong has also welcomed amenities including new and refreshed community spaces, and covered walkways, to enhance accessibility and connectivity within the neighbourhood.

Across the town, 10 Neighbourhood Centres have also been given a new lease of life under the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP). Besides a makeover to the facades, improvements have been made to the communal spaces, and new facilities such as community pavilions and playgrounds have been added.

Jurong Central Plaza
Opened in 2019, the Jurong Central Plaza is one of the new facilities that was introduced under NRP. The active ageing complex houses recreational spaces, an eldercare centre, a wet market and coffeeshop.

 Within her precinct, Eunice says there is now a sheltered fitness corner and communal garden. Facilities such as the playground and basketball court have also undergone a facelift.

Fitness corner at Jurong hdb
New amenities, such as fitness corners, have been introduced in Eunice’s neighbourhood

“The neighbourhood has definitely become livelier,” Eunice says. “It’s heartening to see the elderly making use of the sheltered fitness corner for their daily exercise.”

Jurong Spring Playfield
To encourage active living in the heartland, Jurong Spring Playfields, a sports and recreation hub that caters to multi-generation fitness and activities was also built in Eunice’s neighborhood

Rejuvenating the Town Centre

As part of the town’s facelift, new shopping malls (JCube, Westgate) and hospitals (Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Jurong General Hospital) have sprung up in the town. Pedestrian connectivity has also been enhanced, with the revamp of J Connect, an existing pedestrian mall, and the addition of J Link, a new covered pedestrian mall. Together, the two pedestrian malls connect Jurong East Town Centre to JCube.

J Connect
J Link
Connectivity within Jurong East Town Centre has been enhanced by pedestrian malls such as J Connect and J Link

In celebration of Jurong’s rich history, a Heritage Trail and Heritage Corner were launched in 2014. The heritage corner, located in the Town Centre, documents Jurong’s transformation from its early days as a rubber plantation into a modern residential estate, and features unique structures that reflect the town’s history.

Jurong Heritage Trail
Jurong Heritage Trail

For instance, the old bricks symbolise Jurong’s early association with kilns and pottery manufacturing while a film roll structure brings back fond memories of the now-defunct Jurong drive-in cinema that used to be located in Jurong Lake area.

The heritage trail features 35 stops, including 12 historically significant sites spread across the estate, such as the old Jurong Railway which ceased operations in the mid-199s, and the former Hong Kah Village – one of the earliest known Christian villages in Singapore.

Eunice at Jurong Heritage Corner
The Heritage Corner located within the town centre celebrates Jurong’s rich history   

“For me, Jurong is like my own little village,” concludes Eunice. “Not only are necessities and facilities easily accessible, most of my friends also live in this estate – so we have everything we need here!”

Photos by Briana Tan

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