New life at the Waterfront
By Aziz Idris

Bandar Seri Begawan now has a new landmark attraction at the BSB Waterfront, which opened with full fanfare, a vibrant spectacle witnessed by thousands.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah graced the official opening ceremony. Also present was HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik together with cabinet ministers and foreign dignitaries.

The project, which is part of the BSB Development Masterplan, is the result of the concerted efforts of several government agencies including the Municipal Department, Department of Town and Country Planning and the Brunei Museums Department working hand-in-hand with private sector companies. The project took almost three years to complete with a budget of B$5.6 million.

The 1.8-hectare site, located in the heart of the capital overlooking the historic Kampong Ayer, is seen as a welcome addition to the evolving Bandar Seri Begawan skyline.

"The waterfront with its facilities is a social support for the community to achieve a high quality of life in accordance with Brunei Vision 2035, in terms of Universal Access to Essential Public Facilities," the Minister of Home Affairs said in his welcoming speech at the opening ceremony.

Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman further encouraged all government agencies, the private sector and non-government organisations to "fully utilise the waterfront for any activities that are in accordance with the rules and regulations".

The highlight of the night was the colourful floats procession that lit Sungai Brunei with Kampong Ayer as the backdrop, a display of a kind similar to the resplendent river parades held in the 60s and 70s during national occasions such as His Majesty's birthday celebrations.

The momentous opening was further enlivened with a magnificent display of fireworks bursting out from a floating barge in the middle of Sungai Brunei, captivating the audience not once but three times.

Crowds gathered at the waterfront and filled the street along Jalan McArthur to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event; some even arriving before 4.30pm just to book the best view, the Sunday Bulletin was told.

HRH the Crown Prince and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah consented to sign the royal plaque and tour an indoor exhibition on the history of the development of Bandar Seri Begawan, at the former Royal Customs and Excise building. - Borneo Bulletin (29th May 2011)