Let’s take a break and enjoy the Town Council’s nearby parks

Stay healthy, eat wisely and exercise — this is one of the points emphasised by PM Lee Hsien Loong in his 2017 National Day Rally speech. Ideally, people should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Walking at least 10,000 steps a day can be an alternative goal. ”Let’s all make the effort to walk a little bit more and work it into our daily routine, ” said PM Lee.

There are three major parks developed by the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council which offer good opportunities for residents to stay active and live well. These parks are located within close proximity to the blocks of flats and each focus on a different set of activities to reach out to the needs of our residents.

Bishan-Active Park offers an all-in- one solution to meet the sporting needs of the youths and at the same time provides an open place where families, neighbours, or just about anyone can enjoy some time together. Because of its wide-open space, it has also attracted the occasional kite-flying.

The open ground is home to many a soccer match between groups set up by residents. There is also the specially designed track around the field for a good jog or run around the perimeter. This is particularly popular among runners in the evening hours after a busy work day. There is the fitness corner for senior citizens and younger adults. The young ones would enjoy the roller-blade track and there is never a lack of takers for the basketball court. One more special feature is the sandy beach volleyball court where youthful men and women battle it out with enthusiasm.

Within the park is a podium and hardstanding area offering opportunities for residents to gather, relax and enjoy time together either for a mass aerobic exercise, or group yoga. And, for the children, there is a playground for them to tumble and rumble.

Located along Bishan Road, the Bishan Harmony Park occupies some 25,000 plus square metres of ground and offers a variety of facilities. A large in-line skating court attracts many skaters who would come complete with their gear to burn away their energy. Another special feature is the skating bowl, which literally is in the shape of a crater. The curved walls of the blows allow skateboarders to ride across and around the bow back and forth.

Like all parks built by the Town Council, the park also caters to residents who want something less robust. There are eight fitness corners for a variety of exercise routines. For the elderly, there are three pavilions to rest after a brisk walk around the park, which has quite a rugged terrain. There are also a multi—purpose court and two barbecue pits. For the kids, there is a garden maze to run around.

A lucky visitor may even get a glimpse of a furry squirrel scurrying around a variety of floral and shrubs.

Heights Park is located in an area somewhat enclosed by blocks of flats. It is near Block 144, 147, 148 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, and serves as an attractive ”green lung” for the residents. It is also one of the first 3G parks — three generation park — catering to the children, the young and the elderly.

Unlike the other two above-mentioned parks, this park puts emphasis on fitness stations. It has a line-up of various elderly fitness stations, and there are instructional signs at each station to guide residents how to use them. These stations are located close to leafy trees that provide good shade on a sunny day. There is a special foot reflexology path flanked by support railings, with soft pebble stones to massage and stimulate neurological reflex zones on the foot.

Even as the grandparents are exercising, their grandchildren can enjoy the two playgrounds that each cater to age groups 2—5 years and 5-12 years respectively. There is also a hedge maze to play hide and seek. There is a multi-purpose court that is great for team games like sepak takraw.

Another attraction is the jogging track around the park. One complete round of the circuit is about 420 metres and if you do six rounds, you would have achieved a little more than 2.4 km. This is helpful for all the students and NS men who have to pass their annual fitness tests.

– This article first appeared in a Town Council newsletter.

Image: Pixabay


Be a responsible neighbour in your neighbourhood

Living in a HDB estate is akin to living in a large extended family. That can be a lot of fun and lively, or an absolute nuisance, depending on what the resi-dents make out of it. We share walls and corridors with immediate neighbours. We share common facilities across the estate. Beyond our apartments, there are no clear boundaries. What we do at home or in the estate may affect our neighbours one way or another.

Being responsible to our neighbourhood creates a pleasant and harmonious environment for us all to live in. Keeping our volume levels low at home would make our neighbourhood a peaceful and quiet one. Cleaning up after our pets would also keep the environment clean for us and our neighbours.

Littering, especially bulky litter, is one of the biggest problems that ruins the living environment of a HDB estate. Sometimes, bulky items are placed along the corridors or disposed at common amenities like lift landings, creating obstructions and potential fire hazards. Residents can approach the Town Council for help to dispose such items.

We can, and we must take it upon ourselves to protect the well-being of our estate. Residents and Town Council need to work together to achieve the ideal neighbourhood. Here are some examples of simple things we can do to maintain or even enhance the quality of life at home:

– Do not obstruct the corridors and common areas with litter and bulky items. If you require assistance with moving them, call the Town Council at 6259 6700 or email them at for assistance.

– Bag all your litter and throw them inside the central rubbish chute or bring them down to the void decks where there are numerous rubbish bins.

– Use public property with care; damaging or defacing common property is vandalism and perpetrators can be penalised by the law.

– Leash your pets when walking them, and clean up after them in common areas.

– Feed strays in a responsible manner and clear all leftover food away after feeding. Feeding strays is not illegal, but littering and dirtying public spaces is. Regardless, one should not feed pigeons as they spread diseases.

– Do not let down your guard on Zika and Dengue mosquitoes. Ensure that your house and corridor are free of stagnant water.

If you see someone not doing things right, speak to your neighbourhood grassroots group. Most people are reasonable but simply lack the knowledge or self- awareness. They would be grateful to be informed. Bishan-Toa Payoh is home for everyone.

– This article first appeared in a Town Council newsletter.

Image from Pixabay