The second phase of the project to rehabilitate the old Dutch-built Hamilton Canal has commenced.
The project undertaken by the Western Province Tourism Ministry and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority under the Economic Development Ministry plans to re-build the 22 kilometer segment from Ma Oya to the mouth of the Kelani River.
The project aims not only to promote tourism but also to improve the livelihood of the people living in the area and protect the environment.
The waterway is fully polluted due to garbage dumping by the residents living along the banks of the canal.
"For a long time the natural environment and the health of residents in the vicinity of Hamilton Canal were seriously affected by waste from nearby houses and animal farms in the area. As a result the new project has drawn the wholehearted support of the community," the Ministry said.
Under the first stage of the project, development of the 9-kilometer segment from Ma Oya to Negombo has now been completed.
In the second stage, 14 kilometers are being developed from Negombo lagoon to Hekiththa. The initial two and half kilometers will be developed by the end of next month, according to the authorities.
The bridges across the canal are also being reconstructed under this phase. A new bridge is being constructed at Palliyawatte for the pedestrians to cross the canal. In addition four foot bridges and nine main bridges which were in a dilapidated condition are now being repaired.
The Land Reclamation and Development Corporation is carrying out the constructions under the auspices of the Ministry.