Kurunegala Lake Circle Development Project: Expediting development programme
By Uwin Lugoda
The Kurunegala Municipal Council is taking steps to expedite the Kurunegala Lake Circle Development Project, while maintaining its existing facilities.
According to the Urban Development Authority (UDA), Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa called for regular maintenance of the existing facilities and to expedite the project, which has benefited the surrounding community. The UDA explained that new developments will include the addition of 850 m to its walking park.
“The walking park, which was built in 2014 under the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was the then Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, continued to gain the admiration of locals in the area and is a highlight in the beautification of Kurunegala,” said UDA Media Spokesperson Prasad Manju, speaking to The Sunday Morning.
The construction of this walking track was formerly done by the UDA with the aim of beautifying the surroundings of the Kurunegala Lake. This project also worked towards enhancing the aesthetic condition of the town.
The lake beautification project included a 3.5-km-long jogging track with a cycle lane, planting of trees, providing vehicular parking bases, trimming of existing trees, lighting of the project area, street furniture, restrooms, a gymnasium, etc.
The UDA prepared a plan including the above features and the total project cost was worked out to Rs. 217 million.
This project fell under a bigger project which looked to develop the Kurunegala town as the main urban centre in the North Western Province.
Although the population within the municipal limit is recorded as 30,000, the daily commuter population is around 0.5 million and the town is growing fast due to road linkages. According to Manju, this created a need for open spaces, and recreational and leisure areas to cater to the present and future demands of the population.
The Kurunegala Lake Circle Development Project was developed in two phases, with both phase one and phase two adding a total of 2.1 km around the lake as a jogging track. The third phase, which was recently expedited, is set to add another 850 m to this track.
In the last few years, the project also hosted several restaurants and has allowed the public to carry out events such as birthday parties on its premises.
This development project was fully overseen by the UDA to ensure that it meets the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and preserves the beauty of the environment by utilising environmentally friendly development techniques. The project, however, was entirely maintained by the Kurunegala MC.
The General Treasury, the UDA, and other institutions provided Rs. 61 million for this development project, while the Sri Lanka Army too made a significant contribution in this regard.
“You can relax at the Kurunegala Lake Circle until 10 p.m., without any inconvenience, especially since we have installed solar lighting systems. The cost of the project is Rs. 246 million, and phase three is estimated to cost around Rs. 139 million,” said Manju.
Speaking on the project, Kurunegala MC Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana stated that the development activities had restarted, after being on hiatus for the last few years. He explained that alongside this project, the city is seeing a number of other projects also being expedited by the Government.
“The Kurunegala Greater Water Supply and Drainage Project was also launched simultaneously with the projects initiated by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, during the previous Government, not even 30% of the work was completed before opening, leading to an unsuccessful project,” Vitharana added.
He stated that now, the current Government and Prime Minister has instructed to resume the halted development projects of the district, with the help of the UDA, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), and the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing.
“Residents of the Kurunegala District expect a number of benefits from the Kurunegala Lake Circle Development Project. They are especially happy with the opportunity it gives them to relax and unwind, while also beautifying our city,” he stated.