No schedule yet for lake’s rehab

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Friday, January 4, 2013

THE dredging of the silted Burnham Lake has no definite schedule yet as a meeting will still be conducted among the contractor, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Baguio City Government.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan told reporters Wednesday they have yet to meet with agencies concerned to ensure no major tourism activity in the city will be affected by the lake rehabilitation.

The project, which will cost the National Government some P22 million, involves dredging of the silted lake and the rehabilitation of the fountain, which will serve as an added attraction in the park.


DPWH district engineer Ireneo Gallato told the mayor they awarded the project to a contractor who is waiting for the go-signal for the start of dredging operations.

The mayor said they still have to ask the contractor if they could guarantee the project will be completed before the highlights of the Panagbenga Festival in February as well as during Holy Week, both serving as the peak season for tourism in the Summer Capital.

He said they will also ask the contractor to delay the project so as not to affect tourism in Burnham Park, especially boating concessionaires who will temporarily cease operations while the DPWH project is ongoing.

Meanwhile, no alternative livelihood was offered to boat operators while the rehabilitation takes place, but the mayor said the little sacrifice of concessionaires will be for their long term benefit. He added the project will attract more tourists to visit Burnham Park.

He said there could be no place to transfer boat concessionaires, but added the DPWH in previous years was offering work to temporarily displaced workers while government projects affect their sources of livelihood.

The funding for the project, he said, was endorsed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to develop tourism infrastructures in the country.

The mayor added that Committee on Tourism chair Councilor Elmer Datuin reported they have to relocate Japanese koi fish in Burnham Lake to the small pool beside the Olympic-sized pool at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.

The Japanese koi fishes will later on be released back to the lake after the rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the City Government has allowed fishing in the lake last year and will allow the harvest of the remaining tilapia in the lake for the public.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 05, 2013.

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