McCallum Lock Gates
| To the Indian Ocean|
65 ha (160 acres)
| Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Galle Face Green, Seema Malaka, Viharamahadevi Park, National Museum of Colombo|
Beira Lake is a lake in the center of the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The lake is surrounded by many large businesses in the city. It occupied approximately 165 hectares of land 100 years ago and has been reduced to mere 65 hectares today due to various reasons. During the colonial era of the Portuguese, and the English the lake was used for a wide variety of purposes It still retains its Portuguese name. It is connected to many intricate canals providing easy way of transporting goods within the city and suburban cities.
Beira Lake Wikipedia
The lake was built by the Portuguese to provide protection to Colombo from enemies mainly local kings. In 1578, Mayadunne of the Kingdom of Sitawaka attempted to cut of supplies to the invaders but failed to drain the lake. His son Rajasingha I succeeded in 1587 to drain the crocodile infested lake by curring off several canals but failed to defeat the Portuguese as they brought reinforcements from India through sea. After the Dutch laid siege and captured the lake it was expanded and created several islands such as the Slave Island some of them were large enough to have a village and a plantation of 600 coconut trees. After the British took control they removed the crocodiles and developed the area surrounding the lake for recreational activities such as rowing and yachting. The area around the lake was popular for parties including a grand ball that was held to celebrate the news of British victory in Waterloo.Ceylon's first botanical garden the Kew Gardens was opened in the slave island in 1810 to cultivate seedlings provided by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London. By the 19th century land reclamation for development began and the land area of the lake was reduced, pollution also began to increase.
Lined with many large warehouses, reminiscent of its past when tea used to be transported to the port of Colombo on barges via the port access canal, the lake now is very quiet with many of the warehouses been abandoned. With maximum length of 1 mile, the lake has been home to Colombo Rowing Club for over 140 years.
The Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre is located on the waterfront, further the People's Bank and the Inland Revenue Department headquarters are located in close to the lake. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited is housed in the nearby "Lake House" building.
The lake with many government owned properties has been earmarked for development including a casino district on its McCullum road water front.
The lake is home to species of storks, pelicans, monitor lizards and various species of fish.
The lake gets its famous green color and usually bad odor due to the result of pollution over hundreds of years and algae that is present in the water. The bad smell is mostly prominent during dry weather, due to the high rates evaporation and it fades off with the arrival of The Rainy season
The Beira lake plays a major role in the Western Region Megapolis Project. Under the project the Beira lake is expected to be cleaned and developed with Singaporean assistance and private sector involvement. Waterways will be cleared by blocking illegal water outlets and sewerage lines into the lake and relocating settlements that dump waste to the lake in the area to social housing units. Under the Megapolis plan after the restoration a Shopping district ,an Enternainment district and a promenade will be created in the area around the Beira lake alongside many hotels and mixed development projects.