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SINGAPORE: Gardens by the Bay is exploring the possibility of building a bridge to connect Bay South and Bay East, said Minister for National Development Desmond Lee on Wednesday (Nov 9). 

Speaking at Gardens by the Bay’s 10th anniversary celebration, Mr Lee noted that the Bay East Gardens are currently being developed into a waterfront garden, in tandem with the construction of a Founders’ Memorial. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of how important it is to have green spaces in our city, and the Gardens have been able to provide people much needed respite,” he added. 

Gardens by the Bay saw 8.3 million local resident visitors last year, its highest local visitorship, said the minister.

“Now that international border restrictions have eased and travel has resumed, we are seeing more tourists visit Singapore, including attractions such as the Gardens,” said Mr Lee. 

Gardens by the Bay will be partnering with the Ministry of Social and Family Development to offer complimentary one-year Friends of the Gardens membership to lower-income families under the ministry’s ComLink initiative, he added. 

This will start with families living in rental flats in Kreta Ayer and Bukit Merah from January next year, said Mr Lee. 

“This will allow them to enjoy unlimited visits to the Flower Dome with their loved ones and be part of our Gardens’ 10th birthday celebrations,” he added.

As part of its 10th year anniversary celebrations, visitors can receive complimentary flowers at selected locations in Gardens by the Bay from Nov 11 to Nov 13.

It will also extend the opening hours of the Cloud Forest to 10pm every Friday and Saturday from this week. In the last two weeks of December, opening hours on these two days will be extended to 11pm.

The attraction will also hold its largest Planters Market from Nov 12 to Nov 13, with a diverse range of plants on sale, Gardens by the Bay said in a press release.

In December, the Gardens by the Bay will launch a series of sustainability tours, which will be free for local residents.

The tours, helmed by professional guides, will start with the themes of Urban Wetlands and Carbon and Climate in their first year. They will eventually be expanded across three years to include five different routes, each with a different theme. 

Gardens by the Bay will also be stepping up its sustainability efforts, said Mr Lee in his speech. 

“From the start, the Gardens were designed to be environmentally sustainable, with green features incorporated into its cooling conservatories, supertrees and lake system,” he added. 

“And to achieve its net zero aspirations, Gardens by the Bay is developing a carbon reduction roadmap, which will be ready next year.” 

The Gardens plan to expand the mix of renewable energy options, he said. For example, Gardens by the Bay will deploy more solar panels on existing structures, which could provide it with electricity equivalent to the annual energy consumption of about 2,300 four-room HDB flats, Mr Lee said. 

“In addition, it is exploring the feasibility of having a second renewable energy plant on site to contribute to its carbon reduction efforts,” he added. 

“This second plant could potentially also open up to visitors, such as through an educational component on the importance of sustainability and climate action.”