SINGAPORE, Nov 28 — The upcoming “Long Island” — to be reclaimed off Singapore’s East Coast — will be about twice the size of Marina Bay, tripling the length of the existing East Coast Park waterfront.

This was revealed by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee today, along with other potential features of the decades-long project.

Lee was speaking to attendees — including the media and stakeholders — at a habitat enhancement event at East Coast Park.

The project was first raised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally 2019, and was showcased at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Long-Term Plan Review exhibition in 2022.


Providing an update on Tuesday, Desmond said the project will involve reclaiming three new tracts of land at a higher level, and away from the current coastline.

This will “project coastal protection seawards”, allowing for the existing East Coast Park to largely be retained as-is, he added.

The reclaimed land will measure about 800 hectares, or twice the size of Marina Bay.


It will also create a new freshwater reservoir, which the public can use for water activities such as canoeing and dragon-boating.

Other features include two tidal gates and pumping stations to “keep the sea out”, and to pump out rainwater when heavy rain coincides with high tide. Such measures are necessary as rising sea levels pose an “existential threat” to low-lying Singapore, Desmond added.

The project will also add around 20km of new coastal and reservoir parks, extending from the current East Coast Park. This would triple the length of the existing waterfront area along the park.

Expected to take “decades” to implement, the planning for Long Island must begin now, so that it “can be realised in time to protect the area from rising sea levels”, said Desmond.

This includes conducting extensive environmental and engineering studies — to assess the feasibility of the “conceptual reclamation profile” — which will take about five years, while a public consultation is also held concurrently, he added.

Why it matters

As a low-lying island state, Singapore must contend with rising sea levels and the long-term impact of climate change, said Desmond.

Mean sea levels around Singapore are projected to rise by up to 1m by the end of the century. When high tides coincide with storm surges, sea levels could rise by up to 4-5m above mean sea level, he added.

“This is a very serious problem, because around one-third of our island is below 5m above mean sea level, and at risk of being inundated by the sea,” said Desmond.

In particular, the East Coast faces a high risk of flooding as it is low-lying, and parts of East Coast Park were flooded for around two hours in January this year, he noted.

As such, coastal protection measures are needed to protect homes and livelihoods in the area.

And while protecting low-lying areas is important, the public had also expressed their desire to retain unimpeded access to the waterfront, and for heritage and recreation spaces along the coast to be preserved, said Desmond.

This feedback was taken onboard in developing the latest concept for Long Island, he added.

What’s next

Long Island’s planning and implementation will take decades, beginning with technical studies that will take about five years, and a public consultation, said Desmond.

For a start, the Government will embark on “extensive environmental and engineering studies” to assess if the conceptual reclamation profile is feasible.

It would also begin to “formulate innovative and cost-effective nature-based solutions to reclaim and develop Long Island”, Desmond added.

Concurrently, the authorities will engage residents and stakeholders — including local businesses, the nature and heritage community, sports and recreational interest groups, and more — on their feedback and ideas for the reclaimed stretch.

After the technical studies are completed, the authorities will engage the public on Long Island’s “design and masterplanning”.

Ultimately, Long Island will hold “tremendous opportunities and possibilities for Singaporeans to come together, and lead the way in showing what can be done, and what can be possible in dealing with climate change and rising sea levels”, said Desmond.

“As we protect our homes, our infrastructure, our livelihoods, and our cherished East Coast Park, we will collectively create new opportunities for quality living and recreation, for the benefit of Singaporeans today and for our future generations.” — TODAY