Unawatuna in better times.
Word is that the government has demolished illegal hotels and restaurants along the Unawatuna beach. This is not entirely unexpected or unfair, but still a bit of a shock. I called the owner of Black Beauty (nice place, pool), itself a bit off the beach. She said she hadn’t been down to the beach but had heard that they started with Kingfisher, Tartaruga and that she saw policemen standing at Summer Garden.
Kingfisher is amazing, great prawns, damn shame, but all those shops were built illegally too near the beach in the first place, and after the tsunami the beach came further still. Last time I was at Kingfisher the water literally came up to the restaurant, which it shouldn’t do. Taratuga I can confirm from a photo on Ceylon Today.
Through a friend I heard “una is totaly fucked ..they have demolished everything to expand the beach. its a good thing but stupid to do it in the start of the season”, which is not insanely helpful. That contact said that Kingfisher is half gone, other places completely. What I hear elsewhere is that they’ve only taken buildings back a few feet. In Kingfisher’s case that meant losing their platform (which was basically underwater anyways), but for others its wholesale destruction. That said, the beach has come back and buildings have gone forward to an unsustainable level. Something had to give.
Like he said, this had to happen but season is like this weekend. I mean, people must have bookings. They could have done this off-season. Una is the best beach town in Sri Lanka, next to Hikka (which I hear is next) and a big part of the experience was walking along the beach, swimming, eating, sleeping crashing. They better rebuild it.