Visitors to the East Coast Park can now explore a new wellness space with fitness and play areas, as well as the park’s first therapeutic garden.
The National Parks Board (NParks) and professional services firm KPMG in Singapore launched on Sept 15 the 1.1ha KPMG Wellness Garden which includes a therapeutic garden, play garden, nature fitness area and pond trail that will appeal to the young and old alike.
The Wellness Garden in East Coast Park Area D is the size of about one-and-a-half of a football field, and took about two years to build.
KPMG’s Wellness Garden is one of NParks’ 10 such therapeutic gardens which provide visitors with a serene and tranquil environment to facilitate interaction with nature, the board said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, who was the guest of honour at the launch, said the garden was designed as a multi-generational space accessible to visitors of all ages and physical disabilities, with barrier-free paths and many rest stops and seating areas.
“The KPMG Wellness Garden is a great example of how government and corporates can collaborate for public good. This garden will help bring people closer to nature, as we transform Singapore into a city in nature,” she added.
KPMG’s therapeutic garden features an elevated deck from which visitors can get a panoramic view of the pond, sea and garden, as well as trellises and a foot reflexology walking path.
Raised garden beds also allow wheelchair users to get a closer look at herbs and edibles such as mint leaves and stevia plants.
Over at the play garden, children can climb on driftwood, play in a sandpit, and create beats with musical instruments such as hand pipes and tongue drums.
Meanwhile, a set of stairs mimicking a hill and timber logs used as balancing beams can be found at the nature fitness area, which is suitable for adults and senior citizens.
In a statement, NParks and KPMG said the different areas of the garden serve as an inclusive space for people across all generations to enjoy the coastal environment while improving their health and well-being.
As environmental sustainability is core to the garden’s design, materials such as rocks and logs sourced from within the park were reused and upcycled. An example of this are the timber logs in the fitness area, they said.
“The development of the Wellness Garden is supported by contributions from KPMG, through NParks’ registered charity and IPC (Institution of a Public Character), the Garden City Fund,” they added.
When asked, NParks and KPMG did not reveal the cost of setting up the garden.
KPMG said that its aim was to foster an immersive, nature-centric experience in the wellness garden for beneficiaries such as the elderly, children and people with special needs or disabilities.
The company said it is also committed to partnering community organisations to conduct activities such as nature tours to enhance biodiversity awareness, in addition to horticultural programmes.
Ong Pang Thye, managing partner at KPMG in Singapore, said the firm would continue funding therapeutic horticultural programmes in the garden for five years starting from 2024.
Wheelchair user Tay Ho Ann, 62, said he would like to take his 88-year-old mother, who also moves around in a wheelchair, to the garden.
“Sometimes it is difficult to get to places without ramps, but I’m glad to see there are many ramps here,” said Tay, a former technician.
Pre-school teacher Cindy Oh, 42, who was with her 16-month-old daughter at the garden, said the area was thoughtfully designed.
“My daughter had fun trying to balance on the logs, and the leaf imprints on the ground really captured her attention,” she said.
NParks said it aims to have 30 therapeutic gardens in parks around Singapore by 2030.
The nine other therapeutic gardens are located in parks such as Jurong Lake Gardens, HortPark and Pasir Ris Park. — The Straits Times/ANN