Friday, June 25, 2010

Bay South to partially open in Nov 2011

Trimmings made as costs skyrocket

THE first of Gardens by the Bay's attractions - Bay South - will open on Nov 11 next year, but not all of it will be ready.

One of the park's two conservatory complexes - Cloud Forest, a 0.8ha glass dome that displays plants from tropical highlands such as Kota Kinabalu - will open in early 2012 instead.

Construction costs - which skyrocketed by 34 per cent between June 2007, when Gardens by the Bay was in the planning stage, and December 2008, when work was just beginning - led to the delay.

The original cost to build Bay South was tagged at $893 million, but that had since risen to slightly over $1 billion.

The spiralling cost led to other hiccups as well. Plans to build a permanent stage for performances in the south section might be scrapped altogether, unless a viable developer and sponsor would come forward. The public would also be looking at fewer and smaller offerings than what was planned initially.

For example, fewer of the 'Supertrees' - concrete and metal structures built to resemble trees - were built. Gardens by the Bay refused to say how many of the structures were originally planned, but it said there would be 18 built.

Two conservatory complexes which were to house plants and flowers from cooler regions in the world were also downsized.

Gardens by the Bay CEO Tan Wee Kiat said yesterday that the intent of the original concept had been kept intact.

'If you had not known we were more ambitious, you will be quite happy with what we have in the garden,' he said.

He also said Bay South, the largest of the three gardens at Gardens by the Bay, would open round- the-clock, seven days a week. It would be free of charge for the most part, but visitors to the conservatory complexes would have to pay an entrance fee on most days.

Source: Straits Times, 25 Jun 2010

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