Asia Singapore Ang Peng Siong bids farewell to Farrer Park Swimming Complex as site...

Ang Peng Siong bids farewell to Farrer Park Swimming Complex as site makes way for new HDB flats and integrated sports facilities

- Advertisement -

Farrer Park site to be redeveloped after Lawrence Wong said that site cannot be preserved because “the facilities in the…area were less frequently used as competitive sports venues.”

A 10ha site in Farrer Park will be redeveloped into a public housing estate with about 1,600 HDB flats, integrated with sports and recreational facilities including a new sports centre at the location of the Farrer Park Swimming Complex.

The flats are slated to be launched for sale in the next three years, said the Housing & Development Board (HDB), Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in a joint press release on Monday (Apr 25).

Responding to the news, legendary swimmer Ang Peng Siong said, “It is with deep regret that I have to inform all our friends and stakeholders that we will have to vacate Farrer Park Swimming Complex at the end of June with a possible extension being offered to the end of August 2022, after 18 years of using it as our training base.”

Farrer Park Swimming Complex was part of the Farrer Park Athletic Centre that was known for its association with high-profile regional sporting events in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games. The pool was opened on 22 February 1957 by Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock.

Ang has operated APS Swim School at Farrer Park since 2004, where he trains swimmers in the very pools he trained in – from young students to swimmers of the Singapore Paralympics Team such as Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xu.

In 2018, sports aficionados called on the Government to preserve Farrer Park. A former Senior Director at the Singapore Sports Hub also echoed the sentiment, asking how the Government justifies the destruction and gentrification of what many consider to be part of our nation’s sporting history. He called for “city planners (to) develop around the national sports icons similar to how Matilda House in Punggol was preserved.” He acknowledged that the development of Farrer Park may be financially sensible, but wondered if it was morally justifiable.

In that same year, an online public petition was also rolled out to preserve Farrer Park as a sports heritage site. It called on the Government to find ways to integrate this heritage with the future development. Over 1.200 people signed that petition.

Responding to a parliamentary question on the preservation of the Farrer Park site, then-National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said, “the facilities in the…area were less frequently used as competitive sports venues.”

He justified the redevelopment of the site saying, “The Farrer Park area is close to the city and the Little India MRT interchange, making it suitable for housing.”

justified the demolition of the Farrer Park area saying “the facilities in the…area were less frequently used as competitive sports venues.” Responding to a parliamentary question on if Farrer Park Field and the adjoining facilities will be preserved “as the area has a rich sports heritage and memorable sports milestones instead of repurposing it into a residential development”, Minister Lawrence Wong explained in a written reply why it was not feasible.

“Farrer Park Field has been used as a sports field since the 1930s. Other sport facilities adjoining the Field such as the Athletic Centre and Swimming Pool were built in the 1950s, and served as the training grounds for many local athletes. Over the years, as newer facilities such as the nearby Jalan Besar Stadium and Swimming Complex and the National Stadium were built, the facilities in the Farrer Park area were less frequently used as competitive sports venues. Today, they are used mainly by the public for recreational sports.
“The Farrer Park area is close to the city and the Little India MRT interchange, making it suitable for housing. The current plan is to develop the area for housing and community facilities, including a park. We are mindful of the Farrer Park area’s history as a sporting ground, and will see how best to weave in elements of the heritage of the area in our future plans. We will seek feedback and ideas from key stakeholders and community partners, as we develop more detailed plans.”

Remembering the heritage of the site, Ang said in his Facebook post, “We have shared many memories together at the complex, and for me, the history goes back a lot further as my late father Ang Teck Bee was a pool supervisor at the pool, which allowed me the opportunity to train and prepare for my early days as a swimmer.”

Ang added, “The lack of a working solution to help us with the move out of Farrer Park will mean that our swimmers, their parents and their training regime may well be compromised. It will devastate a pipeline with 27 years of history producing champions, including our para-athletes at major games.

- Advertisement -

Categories

Topics

- Advertisement -