Aug 30, 2020

UDA plans to take over Otter and other defaulting sports clubs in Colombo

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) has planned to take over management of Colombo city sports clubs which have failed to pay their lease rent or provide adequate facilities to those patronising the clubs, a senior UDA official said.

UDA Director General Prasad Ranaweera told the Sunday Times three of the major clubs had defaulted in the payments of their lease agreements for several years, thereby depriving the Government of revenue.

He said others were charging large sums, but were operating under unhygienic conditions and failed to maintain proper standards for those patronising the clubs. “We want to ensure that these clubs are run at high standards,” Mr Ranaweera said.

He said among the main defaulters were the Otter Aquatic Club, the Colombo Gymkhana Club and the 80 Club of Colombo.

The Otter Aquatic Club said it was negotiating with the UDA while officials of the other two clubs said they did not want to comment.

Thimbirigasyaya Divisional Secretary Priyantha Dissanayake told the Sunday Times the Otter Aquatic Club had been ordered to vacate the premises by September 30 and hand over the land to the Grama Niladhari.

“We got a written request from the UDA to acquire the land and hand it over to the UDA for development work. If the place is not handed over we will take legal action,’’ she warned.

Otter Aquatic Club president Mahendra de Silva told the Sunday Times the management of the 87-year-old club, which owes the government Rs 31 million, was negotiating with the UDA about the overdue amount to be able to continue to operate in Colombo 07.

He said more talks were due to take place next week with the UDA, but the authority could lay down conditions.

He said the UDA might include its representatives to manage the club, but more talks were needed.

Mr. de Silva said the UDA had taken measurements of the car park and the tennis court, but its plans were not clear immediately.

The club occupies 1,163 hectares of land on a lease agreement, but had run into arrears.

The club president said that although the club had been doing well up to 2005 with a deposit of Rs 14 million, it had run into difficulties thereafter.

He said the club’s annual general meeting would be held soon to brief the members on the outcome of the talks with the UDA.