Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee unveiled plans to develop a first-of-its-kind inclusive multigenerational Wellness Garden at East Coast Park. This project is a partnership between the National Parks Board (NParks) and KPMG in Singapore (KPMG). Planned in conjunction with the 80th anniversary of KPMG in Singapore, the ‘KPMG Wellness Garden’ incorporates features that range from active play to tranquil nature-based interactions to allow park visitors of all ages and physical abilities to enjoy in one location. These features comprise a therapeutic garden, nature playgarden, pond trail and nature fitness area. The 1.1 ha KPMG Wellness Garden, which will be located at East Coast Park Area D, will add to the diverse recreational opportunities at the park. It is targeted for completion in end 2023.
Coastal themed garden to improve mental well-being and interactions with nature
As Singapore’s largest and most popular park with 7.5 million visits annually, East Coast Park is known for its distinct coastal identity that has endeared it to generations of users.
Designed with inclusiveness in mind, the KPMG Wellness Garden collocates features for various groups of users, from young children to seniors, ensuring that there is something for everyone. This will encourage greater inter-generational interaction, which helps foster family and community togetherness. The goal is to create an inclusive space for people across all generations and abilities to enjoy and experience the natural coastal environment, while enhancing mental well-being.
The Wellness Garden adopts a coastal theme across its four zones:
- The Therapeutic Garden will feature a rustic coastal theme which will facilitate users’ interactions with nature and improve their mental well-being. The garden will offer unique pond and sea views and will feature lookout decks and a board walk along the pond edge which is barrier-free.
- The Nature Playgarden will be an inclusive space that will utilise natural materials and comprise curated play features for children to engage in child-directed spontaneous play. It will allow children of various ages and abilities to play and explore in a natural environment where they can connect with nature.
- The garden will feature a pond trail where park goers can relax and enjoy tranquil views of the enhanced, naturalised pond. NParks will be introducing native coastal flora species through the planting palette. The addition of aquatic plants will also help to naturally filter the pond water.
- The nature fitness area will similarly leverage the lush garden setting and materials such as upcycled logs to allow visitors to enjoy nature while exercising.
Accessibility, especially for seniors and users of different abilities, is a key consideration throughout the design of the garden. Visitors may explore the garden through barrier-free paths where seating and rest stops are generously provided. There will also be play and fitness equipment that cater to a variety of abilities and age groups.
The KPMG Wellness Garden will be part of the 30 therapeutic gardens which NParks will establish across Singapore by 2030, as we work towards transforming Singapore into a City in Nature, enhancing health and well-being of park users through greenery. The nature playgarden is part of NParks’ Biophilic Playgarden Plan to implement biophilic nature playgardens island-wide. The Plan which was announced in 2019, aims to encourage children to spend more time outdoors to enhance their overall well-being, and to allow them to reconnect with nature through the design and programming of nature playgardens.
NParks will work with KPMG on the development of the garden and its various features as part of this public-private partnership. In addition, both organisations will work to onboard community groups to the garden, so that they can benefit from inclusive interactions with nature and improve mental well-being. KPMG also intends to participate in tree planting activities, contributing to the OneMillionTrees movement, as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. These initiatives complement KPMG’s global commitments to drive solutions for environment, social and governance (ESG) issues with an investment of US$1.5 billion over the next three years. The ESG strategy is designed to support businesses and the community in making a positive difference.
“I thank KPMG in Singapore for their generous donation to the development of the Wellness Garden, the first of its kind in Singapore. Having amenities that cater to every visitor, from the young to the elderly and for users of different abilities all together in one space will make the Wellness Garden a wonderful place for people to bond. Our corporate partners and the larger community play an important role in transforming Singapore into a City in Nature, one of the key pillars of the Singapore Green Plan. With the support of the community, we will be able to extend the benefits of living amidst nature to more people and help make Singapore more liveable and climate-resilient,” said Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration.
“We are happy to partner KPMG in Singapore on the restoration and enhancement of the Wellness Garden as a meaningful celebration of their milestone. This garden will benefit many Singaporeans across different ages and needs and as we transform Singapore into a City in Nature, community stewardship by corporations such as KPMG is crucial,” said Professor Leo Tan, Chairman, Garden City Fund.
“Every tangible step matters in a climate change and social impact agenda, which starts with each of us. The KPMG Wellness Garden signals our recognition of the need to involve the community inter-generationally and utilise every green space constructed in Singapore as a building block towards a more sustainable future. It is only with such collective thought and will that we can seek a paradigm shift – core to KPMG’s belief as it works with governments and businesses to build a lasting world for many generations,” said Mr Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore.
Heritage Tree dedication
Mature trees are the natural heritage of Singapore and serve as important green landmarks in Singapore. The Heritage Tree Scheme, announced in 2001, advocates the conservation of Singapore’s mature trees. Heritage Trees are dedicated to individuals and organisations who have made significant contributions through NParks’ registered charity and IPC, the Garden City Fund.
At the event this morning, NParks also dedicated the Penaga Laut (Calophyllum inophyllum) Heritage Tree located at East Coast Park to KPMG for their significant contribution to our greening efforts.