World Bank for socially-inclusive urban development


By Sanath Nanayakkare

Not everyone can afford to eat in exclusive restaurants, enjoy theatre or musical evenings in their free time, so urban development projects need to include convenient public spaces and recreation facilities for the deprived sections of society, Rosanna Nitti, Task Team Leader of Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP) said last week at the World Bank Colombo Office.

Nitti said so while briefing the media on the results, status and future directions of the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP).

The World Bank provided a loan of $213 million in 2012 to Sri Lanka in the form of the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project to support the government’s long-term urban development program. The project development objective (PDO) is to support the borrower to reduce flooding in the catchment of the Colombo Water Basin, strengthen the capacity of local authorities in the Colombo Metropolitan Area (CMA) to rehabilitate, improve and maintain local infrastructure and services through selected demonstration investments.

Nitti further said," Selected demonstration investments where foreign experts and Sri Lankan engineers worked together, local authorities were able to gain insights on maintaining and improving local infrastructure.

"Vihara Maha Devi Park pulls more crowds now than earlier, for recreation. A woman told me that her husband who used to watch TV every evening drinking alcohol, now prefers to spend time in the park with some soft drink in his hand."

Meanwhile, the Crow Island beach park project which comes under this programme is due to be completed in mid 2015.

The entire land in Crow Island belongs to the Colombo Municipal Council. The concept is to create a public open space and conserve the sandy beach environment with leisure facilities, a release on the MCUDP website said.

"This development project will help enhance the aesthetic quality and facilitate to the visitors, conserve the ecological resources and contribute to environmental protection".

The project has the following main objectives:

* To provide the ancillary facilities for the public to use the site

* To promote recreational activities such as walking, jogging and safe bathing

* To maintain and preserve the mangrove and water body

* To create a safe environment for living

* In addition, the project will offer the following benefits;

* Prevention of rampant dumping of garbage

* Facilitate local community activities

* Eliminate disposal of sewage to the sea

* Facilitate bird watching and ecological exploration

The project activities include an Information Center, a restaurant, resting pavilions, a community centre, car park, children’s play area, jogging track, cycling track, safe bathing area, open showers, washrooms, changing room, viewing decks, picnic huts, lifeguard tower, environmental and waste management system, according to the web release.

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