On 5th February 2016, Phase 1 of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was announced by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). The report concluded that:
- Site investigation works will have moderate impact on the environment, if mitigating measures are taken.
- As such, soil testing will still go ahead.
Soil testing works involves deep drilling into the ground of the forest, and is done to determine the soil composition of the potential construction site of the Cross Island Line (CRL), as part of risk assessment protocol.
While we, the BES Drongos and other concerned individuals from the Love Our MacRitchie Forest movement have been hoping for the forest to be left undisturbed, the fact remains that drilling will still go ahead.
However, as much as we are disappointed with the EIA outcome, our voices have not been ignored. Following concerns from various nature groups, LTA has decided to:
- Reduce the number of boreholes from 72 to 16;
- Confine drilling to public trails and non-vegetative areas; and
- Employ more non-intrusive (no physical alteration) methods in soil investigation.
Furthermore, an alternative route first suggested by the Nature Society is currently being considered as a viable second option. The suggested route will skirt around the nature reserve instead of cutting directly through it, which means less direct disturbance to the forest ecosystem.
So what can we do? Where do we go from here?
While we can’t reverse the decision made by LTA, if you are concerned about this issue, here’s what you can do to help:
- The EIA will be open for public viewing for the next 4 weeks; book an appointment to go down and view it.
- Help spread the news and raise awareness! Tell your friends, your family or anyone who you know cares about this. If lots of people go down to view the EIA, it will show LTA how much the public cares.
- Voice your support for the alternative route. The alternative route is now our best (and last) bet to reduce significant impacts on the forest.
You can contact LTA [Ms Michelle Chan (email LTA_CRL_CCNR_EIA@lta.gov.sg or call 6295 7437)] to view the EIA and give your feedback. Please note that you can view it by appointment ONLY, at Land Transport Authority, 1 Hampshire Road (Blk 11 Level 4, Room 2), Singapore 219428
In addition, to show your support for the alternative route, you can sign the petition here: http://www.tinyurl.com/lta-crl
The Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) is home to 400 species of trees, 200 species of birds, 400 species of insects and 150 species of mammals and amphibians. If you’d like to learn more about the biodiversity found in the CCNR, please do sign up for our walks!
For more information on the CRL and CCNR, visit: