Beira Walk declared open
[December 9, 2004 - 7.00 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunga in keeping with her promise to make Colombo the "Garden city of Asia" declared open the 'Beira Walk' to the public following renovations done to the Beira Lake after 56 years.
The President said this was just the beginning of a mega plan and the restoration work of the East and West ends of the lake leading up to Galle Face will follow early next year." I am sure we can achieve much more in the next two years with our proposed development projects", she said adding that Colombo had all the resources to achieve the status of a Garden city of Asia.
The Beira Lake located in the heart of Colombo, was a Portuguese initiative, in 1521 it was a defense strategy to protect the Colombo Fort. The Fort area is still a focal point of government and commercial activity, although less so than in the past. This Lake site was not only a busy center of import and export trade but also a hive of cultural and social interaction during the period when Sri Lanka was under foreign domination.
During the post independent years the lake had deteriorated into a dumping ground and was loathed by people who walked or drove past it. The restoration of the Lake to its pristine glory commenced in the early 1990ís.
President Kumaratunga thanked the World Bank and other donor countries for the financial assistance granted to the Beira Lake restoration project and called on the Urban Development Authority to expedite the future development projects. President praised the joint efforts of Minister of Urban Development Dinesh Gunawardena and Minister of Ports, Aviation, Information and Media Mangala Samaraweera.
Minister Samaraweera said that the "Beira Walk" will be a pleasant recreational park for the whole family and "Kala Duwa" the small island in middle of the Lake will provide a unique environment for Sri Lankan artistes to display their talents. There will be several restaurants and cafes as well.
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