Walking path constructed at 10 times more than the current cost

A walking path in Wattala which was the focus of controversy recently, had been constructed at 10 times more than the current cost, Minister of Tourism, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga said today.He said that various individuals with vested interests have been attempting to implicate him in the removal of the walking path along the Wattala-Mabole Kalu Ela left embankment during the past two weeks. The Minister however said that considering the many requests for the walkway to be retained he has appealed to the land owners to consider allowing the walkway to be reconstructed on their land and to also bear the cost of reconstruction.“They have graciously agreed to my request and work has now commenced to build a new walkway and access road. These works are expected to be completed by the end of this month. The work is estimated to cost Rs. 8 million including the laying of new paving stones for the walkway,” he said.Amaratunga said that considering the current cost of construction, which is financed entirely by the land owners, it begs the question as to how the original walkway constructed by the state was said to have cost Rs. 80 million, which is 10 times more than the current cost. The Minister also questioned individuals who have been protesting against the removal of the walkway whether they would allow the state to construct a similar walkway across their lands without their permission. (Colombo Gazette) He says the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LRDC) which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development has affirmed by letter dated 18th of March 2016 addressed to him that the land in question “is not vested with the state.” It goes on to state that it has no objection to a road being constructed if the “land owners are agreeable.”“Once I received this information I conveyed it to the legal land owners. The roadway that is to be constructed adjacent to the walkway which is at the center of this controversy is primarily to access a block of land where it has been proposed to construct a housing scheme for families in the area. The roadway will also serve the twin purpose of keeping the canal clean by facilitating the movement of heavy equipment,” he said. “Unfortunately, the media without verifying facts has been blindly giving coverage to these individuals whose ‘stories’ are far from the truth. As stated previously I wish to reiterate that I have no personal interest in this matter, my involvement is purely to ensure the well-being of the people of Wattala, whom I have been representing in parliament since 1978. As I have consistently maintained the walkway in question has been illegally constructed on private land without the consent of the land owners by the previous government,” he said. “I would like to ask those protesting today whether tenders were called for the original project using state funds and whether BOQs were prepared. If so I call upon such documents to be made public so that we could reconcile the mammoth difference in cost. I would also like to pose the question as to how state funds amounting to Rs. 80 million were utilized to build a walkway on privately owned land without the expressed permission of the land owners. I would like to direct this question to those alleging that public property has been destroyed,” he said. read more

Lineup announced for Canadian Sport Film Festival

Brock’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences has partnered with the Canadian Sport Film Festival (CSFF) to screen four films dedicated to promoting the physical and social benefits of sport.The CSFF at Brock will take place March 17 to 19 in the theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.The films in the lineup were chosen not only for their popularity at past festivals, but also for their ability to inspire healthy discussion about important social issues. Post-film discussions will take place after each screening.For more information or to buy tickets visit the Sport Film Festival website.Canadian Sport Film Festival box officeNext Goal WinsThe 2014 U.K. documentary screens Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m.Visit the following link to buy tickets.When the American Samoan national soccer team lost to Australia 31-0, the tiny islands crash-landed into last place in the FIFA world rankings. Despite having not won an official match for more than a decade, the team’s love of soccer and American Samoan pride sustained its players as they trained for the next World Cup.Post-film guest speaker via Skype: Dutch-born, America-based coach Thomas Rongen, hired by the Football Federation American Samoa to help turn their luck around.Winning GirlThe 2014 U.S. documentary screens Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m.Visit the following link to buy tickets. Follow the four-year journey of Teshya Alo, a Hawaiian teenage female judo and wrestling phenomenon pursuing world championship ambitions in both sports.Post-film guest speakers via video conference: Teshya Alo and director Kimberlee Bassford.Fighting for Peace (screened with Outside the Ring)The 2015 documentary from the Netherlands screens Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m.Visit the following link to buy tickets.Two of the most successful participants in Luta Pela Paz, an NGO and boxing school based in one of Rio’s most violent and poorest favelas, are on a quest to become national champions. Douglas has lost a sister to addiction, while Sugar is the sole provider for his mother and seven siblings. Boxing may be their only way out.Outside the RingThe 2013 Canadian documentary screens Saturday, March 18 following Fighting for Peace.A group of women and trans survivors of violence in Toronto are part of a unique violence recovery program that integrates boxing into their healing.Post-film guest speakers: Joanne Green, director Outside the Ring and Dr. Jamie Mandigo, Professor of Kinesiology and Vice-Provost, Enrolment Management and International, Brock University, who ran a boxing program in Guatemala.Men Who SwimThe 2010 Swedish documentary screens Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m.Visit the following link to buy tickets.A humorous and poignant look at a group of middle-aged underachievers who have found unlikely success as members of Sweden’s all male synchronized swimming team. What began as a weekly escape from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities turns serious after an unexpected invitation to the world championships.Post-film guest speaker via Skype: Director and star Dylan Williams. read more