|Tuesday, 15 February 2005|
The Galle city expansion master plan under the direction of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was revealed by architect Ashley de Vos at the Governor's Auditorium in Galle. On behalf of the President, the meeting was coordinated by Governor Kingsley T. Wickramaratne.
When the President visited Galle immediately after the tsunami disaster she decided to reconstruct the Galle city as a new town and to expand the boundaries of the city maintaining and preserving the old Dutch buildings and merging with the Dutch Fort which is a world heritage site sponsored by UNESCO.
The President commissioned the well-known architect Ashley de Vos and formed a committee comprising the Urban Development Ministry headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary of the Ministry T. Hewage as well as UDA Chairman, Gemunu Silva and other associated departments, the Galle political leadership and the officials coordinated by Governor Kingsley T. Wickramaratne.
The boundaries of the new city in the master plan would extend from Gintota to Unawatuna. The 100 metre rule would be strictly adhered to. The Galle railway station and the main bus station would be at Richmond Hill.
The Galle railway station which is an old Dutch museum would be maintained and preserved as the first railway museum in Sri Lanka and it would be unique because Sri Lanka possesses all the railway engine models from the first to the latest. On a 50 acre land at Mattegoda would be the Galle Sports Complex and adjoining it would be the first private airport that is being designed and done by the Minister for Aviation and Ports, Mangala Samaraweera.
From the Gintota river will be a corridor of learning with an ocean science university, information technology park which will embrace the existing Engineering Faculty and the Medical Faculty at Karapitiya. The Dutch prison building will be used as the world's first jail hotel. The prison will be shifted to Boossa.
The area now occupied by the police barracks will be utilised for a city hotel with banquet halls for weddings and convention rooms since the Southern province lacks a city hotel for weddings and conventions.
The shopping centres will be moved about 200 metres away from the main Galle city. Unawatuna will be transformed into the tourist centre of the Southern Province.The Minister for Aviation and Ports will be upgrading the Galle Port and will be creating a marina for international yachting.
Top engineering organisations and consultants from the Netherlands, the USA and Singapore and also from India are being marshalled for this Galle town expansion project. It is the concept of the President to make the new Galle town the second largest commercial and administrative hub thereby creating job opportunities for the youth of the Southern province.
Produced by Lake House