Alexandra Canal given a $34 million makeover

The word pretty is not usually associated to canals.

But with the S$34 million transformation of a 1.2 kilometre stretch of the Alexandra Canal, this might be just right for the newly-transformed canal.

From its concrete, utilitarian roots, it is now a pleasant and attractive waterway with softened banks, seamlessly integrated with the adjacent developments.

Completed in just 23 months, the project was opened by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew this evening.

Now, the public can view the revitalised waterway while standing on the deck located in a stretch of the canal near Tanglin Road.

On the deck is a series of wetlands that allow the public to learn about different wetland systems and plants. The wetlands treat water (that is pumped from the canal into the wetlands) before it is returned into the canal. The wetland plants also beautify the landscape, and serve as a natural habitat for fishes, dragonflies, waterbirds and other wildlife. Dragonfly sculptures mounted on the deck's edge signify the return of dragonflies to the waterway as the water quality improves as dragonflies are indicators of clean water.

Vegetated swales and bioretention swales - shallow ditches with carefully selected vegetation that help to filter and purify rainwater - can also be found on the deck. These ABC Waters design features help to treat rainwater runoff from the nearby paved areas on the deck so that clean water flows into Alexandra Canal.
 
"Alexandra Canal was revitalised with the public in mind. Features such as lookout decks and a community plaza provide a venue for activities while allowing people to enjoy being close to water," said Mr Tan Nguan Sen, PUB's Director of Catchment and Waterways.

"We have also been mindful that while enjoying being close to water, members of the public are also able to learn about the different ways of keeping the waters clean. Hence we incorporated wetlands into the canal makeover to serve as a learning trail for both schools and the public."

Alexandra Canal is the 14th ABC Waters project to be completed under the ABC Waters Programme, which was rolled out in 2007. Under the first phase of the programme, PUB will be implementing more than 20 projects over the first five years (2007-2012) and more than 100 projects islandwide in the next 15-20 years.