A new set of guidelines with a strict ban on new dwellings within two hundred metres of the beach front yet giving greater ‘flexibility’ for construction in safer areas, will be gazetted by the end of this month.
The President’s senior advisor Mano Tittawella told the Daily Mirror yesterday that “there will be flexibility provided there is safety where constructions are concerned”.
Mr. Tittawella who is also heading a committee appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga on reviewing the 100 metre construction ban on the beach front said the recommendations received Cabinet approval two weeks ago.
New guidelines for coast conservation will be made into law soon, he said adding there would be wider consultation at the district level on the matter.
Mr. Tittawella said the coast conservation guidelines are reviewed annually but the Department could not do it this year due to the tsunami. When contacted Coast Conservation Department Chief R.A.D.B. Samaranayake said new guidelines impose a strict ban on dwellings within 100-200 metres of the beachfront.
“There would be a strict ban on all the new dwellings including those of fisher families within the 100- 200 metre zone”, Dr. Samaranayake said.
Asked how practical it would be for fisher families to live away from the beach, Dr, Samaranayake said the fishermen are allowed to set up structures relating to fishing and storing facilities including fisheries harbours within this area.
“It is only the dwellings that are not allowed. All other structures are allowed within the 200 metre zone”, he said.
However there are other exceptions especially in the Eastern province where there is a scarcity of land, he said. “Housing projects are allowed within 200 metres of the beach if they are above the five metre contour area”, Dr. Samaranayake said.
Such projects would have to get permission from the Coast Conservation Advisory Council first and they would be studied on a case-by-case basis before the green light is given to put up houses.
He said hotels that have suffered less than 40% damage of the total investment are allowed to do repairs while the severely damaged will be provided with alternate lands from the declared tourism zones. Dr. Samaranayake said there are already some 26 tourism zones declared by the Ministry from which land will be allocated to hoteliers.
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