By Steve A. Morrell
Deputy Director, Urban Development Authority, Nihal Fernando, speaking to a wide cross section of business personnel at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka on August 7 said plans were very nearly ready to transform Colombo into the busiest location in South East Asia.
High rise hotels, housing condominiums, shopping malls, the already established race course buildings refurbishment and another wide range of development plans were revealed to the business community at the NCCSL forum.
He said business opportunities would be prioritized for urgent attention.
The Shangrila hotel construction is continuing, similarly other projects planned for development would progress from planning to actual physical work undertaken for early conclusion.
Additionally, residential high rise buildings undertaken by Abans, JKH Development in Slave Island and Crown Development in the same area, would ensure connectivity of these buildings, where shoppers would not need to leave these locations, but transact in a connected atmosphere of continuous shopping and an ideal living location for convenience and accessibility.
The Park City concept would be real in the short run. Although Fernando did not elaborate on such forward planning he said Colombo was literally dead after 20:00 hours. Night life consisted of a minority group of sight- seers. But when conditions allowed the city would come alive.
The expectation was that night life would be attractive and would prosper. Tourists usually complain they do not have night life.
On completion of these plans and allied constructions, Colombo would emerge into a destination for financial trading and additionally, a leisure destination.
Fernando also said the reef from the Colombo beach area stretched from Colombo to Mount Lavinia. This area too would be developed.Approximately 500 acres of such reclaimed land would be available for development. Plans are being drawn up for marine drive extension to Mount Lavinia and the entire landscape in this tract of land would be transformed to include attractive additions.
The water ways too were mentioned but no definite plans were described for such extensions.
Fernando did not indicate a definite time frame for completion of all these plans. He, however, said Colombo would be a transformed city of modern amenities and conveniences.
He urged the business persons at hand that they should now bring to bear their skills and be part of this development drive.
Fernando also said the Manning market would be moved to Peliyagoda. Some 500 lorries converge on the Manning market daily. This transport influx affects city movement. Colombo is now an eternal traffic snarl, and apart from restrictions to time and convenience, obstructing influences that could be avoided need to be looked at. This was being done and the moving of Manning Market to Peliyagoda was to ease such traffic snarls.
Traffic not moving smoothly affected productivity. The long term expectations are that Colombo would be a busy metropolis of international activity that would earn for it regional hub status.