Here’s another “closure post,” hot on the heels of my recent one about Cathay Cineplex Cineleisure.
Another closure that again somewhat affected me emotionally. Because I posted about this northern SG leisure park three years ago and because the park is part of my current jogging route.
ORTO Yishun has closed. The signboard facing Yishun Avenue 2 is gone. The entrance next to that sign is boarded up. From what I could see from the main road, most of the structures in the park are also in the process of being torn down.
The closure itself was a peculiar and protracted affair too, and for a while, I actually thought it wasn’t going to happen. As I mentioned, ORTO is part of my jogging route. At least once a week, I would lumber down Sembawang Road, turn left and head down Lor Chencharu, cut through ORTO, before stumbling home. (I live about ten minutes away)
In May, several F&B establishments had already shifted away and demolition works had commenced for the structures they were in. However, a good number of restaurants continued to operate. The same for the prawning fishing and longkang fishing attractions. I popped by the park one Sunday and it was as crowded as ever. It was then that I briefly thought that perhaps the closure has been rescheduled. That the leisure park would instead undergo some sort of restructuring.
Come June, though, most F&B outlets were closed, although Happiness Hour SG and BKK Bistro & Bar continue to operate. I had dinner at the latter one evening and while the bistro was as crowded as ever, reminders of the impending closure were everywhere. For example, how several adjacent buildings were no longer there.
It’s sad. Depressing too considering the leisure park was around for quite a while. Remember when it was Bottle Tree Park? The fishing pond, i.e., the star attraction has also been there since, forever. It was already there when my family shifted to Yishun in the 80s. Weird, teenage me used to imagine the pond was some sort of secretive government water facility.
But everything would soon be gone. Replaced by, presumably, housing blocks.
I repeat: it’s depressing. It puts me in a gloomy mood even as I (struggle to) remind myself that the housing needs of the country take precedence over everything.
I just hope that the government would at least preserves the fishing pond. Perhaps integrate it into a neighbourhood park or something?
I hope there’d at least be some effort to replace all that lost greenery too. The likes of, rooftop parks? It’s no secret that Singapore is heating up faster than many other cities.
Yeah, we need homes and buildings, no debate about that, but we also need to ensure we don’t trap ourselves in an urban furnace. We cannot keep removing parks and swathes of forest.
ORTO Yishun – May 2023
The following pictures were taken in the middle of May 2023. When the leisure park was still lively.
Final Dinner at BKK Bistro & Bar
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Thai Boat Noodles. And so whenever I’m here for dinner by myself, it’s always for the ambience.