Sri Lanka Tourism will seek Dutch assistance in redeveloping the Hamilton Canal as a tourist attraction as well as a mode of public transit to ease traffic congestion, a statement said.
Also known as the Dutch canal, the 14.9km Hamilton Canal will be redeveloped in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries, the Urban Development Authority, the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation Corporation and the Provincial Road Development Authority.
The canal was constructed by the British colonial administration in 1802 to drain salt water out of the Muthurajawela wetlands, running parallel and connected in places to the original Dutch canal.
“We will also connect it to the Colombo Port City making it a more viable venture,” the statement quoted State Minister of Tourism Promotion Arundika Fernando as saying.
Developing the Hamilton Canal was first undertaken by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in 2008 and Rs. 600 million was invested under a development plan drawn up by the Moratuwa University, the statement added.
Noting that the canal and its surroundings are ideal for ecotourism given the area’s rich biodiversity, Fernando said: “We will also offer land for investors to open restaurants and motels around the Dutch canal.”
According to the statement, the second step in the project will be to launch a scheduled passenger boat service to Fort attracting office staff.
“This will help to ease traffic congestion,” said the State Minister.
“We also hope to get Dutch government assistance towards the success of this project,” he added.