KUCHING: The Bakun hydro dam lake will be turned into a water sports centre of excellence for Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said Bakun Dam would take on greater roles besides power generation.
He said the reservoir which would soon be connected to the rest of Sarawak via road infrastructure could take on the role of water sports, tourism and cultural hub for the central region.
Masing, who is Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister said with a surface area of 675 sq km and one of the largest reservoir in Sarawak, the prospect of opening up Bakun Lake for sailing, windsurfing, amusement park and theme park is now possible.
“Because of this, planning for the area has been mooted – thinking caps have been put on and planning is underway,” he added.
However, he said the development of Bakun Lake into a tourist attraction will take time as careful planning is required where long term sustainability of the whole development shall take precedence.
He said Bakun Dam is an important asset to Sarawak, adding that the government will also need to look at demarcating the area into clusters of restricted and regulated areas and tourism sites.
Besides infrastructure development such as jetties and basic amenities, he said the planning and development would have to take into consideration environmental and cultural sustainable aspects for it to be a truly socially inclusive tourism development.
“The long term objective of the government is to develop the area in manners where local communities can participate and benefit from the tourism activities.
“Because of that, the development will be divided into smaller and feasible phases which allow time for capacity building of communities living around the lake, and help them to take part in the tourism value chain,” said Masing.
For the purpose, he said Bakun Lake Sailing and Rowing Club will be registered soon.