Speech by Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of Sport Singapore at the Opening Ceremony of Stadia & Arena Conference

25 Sep 2014

1. Good morning. I am delighted to be participating in this conference and to welcome the gathering of companies and experts here in Singapore.  

2. As Asia continues to make history in the sporting arena, with various world cups and championships and the Olympics featuring in the region over the next decade, it is timely that we encourage discussions and sharing around sports venue design, management and technology. So, a big thank you to the event organisers for choosing Singapore and the Singapore Sports Hub as hosts.

3. Sport Singapore and our other government partners aspire to nurture a reputation for service excellence and innovation in the sports industry. In the process, we would like sports businesses to have confidence in the capabilities that are established in the local industry, and the partnership between government and business.

4. This would enhance Singapore’s position as a global sporting city; and importantly, boost development and momentum in sports participation and excellence.

5. In 2012, Sport Singapore launched the national vision and master plan for the local sports ecosystem – Vision 2030.   This will see government increasing our investments in both software and hardware to implement initiatives that will enable all Singaporeans to “Live Better through Sport”.

6. The completion of the Singapore Sports Hub will provide additional energy and impetus for Vision 2030 and be a living test bed for how expertise and resources from the private and public sector are brought together to collaborate and catalyse the market and interest for sport, and an active lifestyle for all ages.

7. The idea for the Sports Hub dates back to 2001, where a government-led Committee on Sporting Singapore (CoSS) recommended  that the old national stadium and its surroundings be redeveloped into a new Sports and Leisure destination.

8. The report highlighted that while Singapore could boast high quality sports facilities for mass participation, we lacked world-class facilities for staging world-class international events that could have a positive bearing on sports development in this country.

9. The committee also recognised back then, that sports stadia should no longer be built for sport alone, but designed for other lifestyle attractions, and with facilities such as retail outlets, restaurants and even hotels –all integrated to attract traffic on non-event days. 

10. The outcome from that report is what we see here today. Since that report the thinking has expanded to incorporate the Hub as part of the integrated development vision for Greater Marina Bay - a prime mixed use and attractive lifestyle destination. With its central location, close proximity to transport nodes and the waterways, the Sports Hub would be the jewel on this side of the precinct and catalyse all other developments around it.  That was the clinching argument for continuing to locate the new Sports Hub in Kallang, rather than relocating it in an outlying industrial zone.

11. One of the key objectives there is for Sports Hub to be a viable public-private business model.

12. Unlike many other large infrastructure PPPs, the Sports Hub PPP went beyond just project financing to asking the private sector to lead in designing, building and operating the facilities.   The Partnership intends to bring the best practices and networks of the private consortium into the larger conversation of sports development in Singapore.  

13. A key mechanism for this is a Premier Park Foundation (or PPF) that is set up under the PPP to reinvest a significant portion of Sport's Hub's commercial revenues to develop and enhance events, activities, capabilities and facilities.

14. In many ways, the PPF is a fine example of impact investing: where business returns are achieved and measured alongside positive and longer-term social outcomes.

15. With the ability to host large-scale sports and lifestyle events, and attract a constant flow of traffic throughout the week, the Sports Hub will be a catalyst for the emergence of sport in Singapore; providing a platform to elevate the Singapore sporting ecosystem on a regional and global scale.

16. Next, I would like to address Singapore’s larger sports infrastructure ideas and plans.  The Sports Hub is key but cannot on its own carry the load of what must emerge from its efforts. Looking ahead, as our society embraces Vision 2030, we need to expand the scale and scope of complementary spaces for sports.

17. One critical component of Vision 2030 is a Sports Facilities Masterplan, which the aims to:

18. Firstly, in anticipation of increased demand, provide Singapore residents and their families with innovative, affordable, relevant and accessible public sports facilities for their sporting and recreation needs;

19. Second, provide common spaces for the community to build social capital and rally behind local sporting heroes; so we will take international events out to our heartlands.

20. Third, enable effective and efficient use of resources through intensifying land use by rationalising sport facilities, and unlocking the value of other publicly funded facilities by making them more accessible to different user groups and the general public.(largely school-based facilities) Significant co-location with other municipal services and community amenities will be a key feature as well.

21. Let me talk a little bit about the concept behind the Sports Facilities Masterplan. The Masterplan is based on four tiers.

22. Tier 1 and tier 2 type of facilities that are all about bringing competitive facilities to our heartlands for everyone to enjoy competitive sport. These facilities are intentionally designed and geared towards that element of what we consider to be the “formal” element of sport – intentionally designed and “technically correct” in terms of their requirements

23. Tier 3 type of facilities that are all about getting into a town and providing an interesting mix of facilities design. With the tier 3 facilities, it is about shaping the different ways in facilities design for access, greater experience and greater enjoyment.

24. Tier 4 facilities brings us to the heart of the community and is all about getting close to where a person lives, with the creation of spaces for people of different ages as well as the creation of different features to cater to their diverse needs

25. The government’s current and future commitment to develop and build sports infrastructure and spaces is integrated with our thoughts about ensuring that Singapore remains one of the most liveable cities in the world.  That commitment is worth $1.5 bn for new developments over the next 5 years for the first phase of the master plan.

26. “Livability” is a very broad concept and can be bold in its ideas and idealism to meet a diverse range of needs and wishes. Sport Singapore has therefore to work closely with our sister agencies like the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the National Parks Board, Housing Development Board, the Public Utilities Board (water body authority) among others; and private and people sector organizations to create and innovate in developing sports spaces and concepts for the future.

27. I hope that we will learn much from your expertise and sharing, and I wish you a successful and impactful conference.

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