Marine Parade #OurNeighbourhood
📷: A bird’s eye view of Marine Parade (Credit: Marine Parade Community Centre Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore, 1975 - 1985)
Marine Parade is a place that has seen the tides of change. During the colonial era, it was a scenic beach, dotted with some fishermen huts and kelongs in the sea.
The Japanese Occupation left the beach in a poor condition, with unexploded shells and rubbish along the coastline. In 1952, the government allocated a repair budget to fix a seawall that was so badly deteriorated the nearby road was in danger of collapsing into the sea. Marine Parade was also rejuvenated into a seaside promenade, by building public facilities such as changing rooms, walkways, lifeguard posts and refreshment stalls.
In 1966, Marine Parade was dramatically transformed into the first public housing estate to be built entirely on reclaimed land, with the development of the Marine Parade housing estate, East Coast Park (ECP) and the East Coast Park Expressway as part of the East Coast Reclamation Scheme. Back then, the reclamation project was the largest of its kind in Singapore. The reclamation works also featured one of the first large-scale uses of artificial headland breakwaters in the world, which imitated natural bay formations and was cheaper than using sea walls to protect reclaimed land from erosion.
By the 1980s, Marine Parade had turned into a coveted residential area, given its accessibility to the city centre via the East Coast Park Expressway, proximity to sandy beaches, and abundance of sports and leisure activities. The ECP became well-known as a seafood haven, featuring restaurant clusters and water-themed attractions like the Big Splash. The first aerobridges used at Changi Airport were unloaded at the 250 metres-long Bedok Jetty at ECP.
Today, Marine Parade’s town centre includes the famous Parkway Parade shopping mall. And the ECP is a favourite amongst residents and visitors alike. With a total land size of 185 hectares and a 15-km sandy coastline, the ECP attracts more than seven million visitors a year. Along with the many eateries, the ECP is also studded with recreational clubs, playgrounds and new and revitalised parks, including Cyclist Park, Xtreme SkatePark and Singapore Wake Park for skating, wakeboarding and water skiing challenges.
Marine Parade will soon be served by two new MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line – the Marine Parade Station and Marine Terrace Station, which will open by 2024, making it easier for greater tides of Singaporeans to access the beach and form memories of happy times by the sea.
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