Before staycation became a trendy word, chalets have always been a popular choice among Singaporeans, for barbecue sessions, or a short get-together with families or friends during the holidays. And the chalets at East Coast Park were pretty popular in the nineties and 2000s.
The familiar red-bricked chalets at East Coast Park were gone, being demolished last year as part of the redevelopment plans for a cyclist park. There were 197 chalet units then, occupying a stretch of 4-hectare (40,000 square metres) area at the middle section of the 15 km-long East Coast Park. Carpark D3 was its main parking space.
Before 2006, it was known as the Costa Sands Resorts, under the NTUC Club. And in the eighties and nineties, they were called UDMC Chalets, owned by the Urban Development and Management Company, which also had another chalet complex at Pasir Ris, built in 1987. Costa Sands Resorts closed in January 2006 after the expiry of its 30-year lease. The chalets were, by then, quite run down. Together with the limited amenities, the resort attracted many negative online reviews.
After NTUC Club left, the vacated chalets were temporarily handed over to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). In 2007, the new tenant Island Park Resort, under Goldkist International, bid successfully to take over the chalets. After a $5-million makeover of the units and their amenities to resemble those of the beachfront English cottages, it was hoped that the popularity of the chalets would be revived, serving as a weekend getaway among friends, a corporate retreat venue or an adventure camp for students, for prices of $100 to $135 a night.
It barely lasted a decade, when the company, facing stiff competition from the newer and better equipped chalets and bungalows at Pasir Ris, Loyang, Changi Fairy Point, Changi Coast Walk and Boon Lay Way, as well as the impending redevelopment plans of the vicinity, decided to call it a day.
The demolition of the chalets had brought along those notorious hearsay of overnight carouses, hanky-panky affairs and ghost sightings. For many middle-aged Singaporeans, it was another lost piece of memory of their teenager days, when the likes of East Coast Park chalets, Marina South bowling and Parklane arcades were among the trendiest hangouts during the nineties.
Since 2017, several sites along East Coast Parkway, such as the former Big Splash and Raintree Cove, had been torn down and their sites rebuilt for new playgrounds, open lawns, food joints and other amenities. As part of East Coast Park’s redevelopment plans, the site of the former East Coast Park chalets will be transformed into a bicycle park designed with circuits and trails for different groups of cyclists.
Published: 19 November 2018