Despite bauxite history, Kara Kara Blue Lake safe for leisure, tourists
By Kurt Campbell
After more than 100 years of bauxite mining in Linden, Region 10, an old and abandoned mining pit has now officially been declared a tourist destination – the Kara Kara Blue Lake as it is popularly known.
In recent years, Linden has been attracting scores of people in search of the blue lakes, a refreshing change from the golden water citizens have long been familiar with.
Some seven such lakes can be found in the mining town but the Kara Kara Blue lake is the only one that has received the stamp of approval and it is now safe for leisure and tourist activities.
As part of the events for Tourism Month, observed every November, Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond joined stakeholders on Sunday at the location where it was agreed that coordinated and targeted action will be taken to develop the site further.
One such stakeholder is Deon Anderson, a Chemical Engineer by profession and the proprietor of Elite Kayaking and Nature Tours. He has been doing a series of tours at the blue lake in recent years.
“As a chemical engineer, I have always ensured the safety of the water,” he told the News Room.
He said the water has been tested both locally and internationally and has been found to be in compliance with international standards for recreational activities.
A Lindener himself, Anderson recalled that the area was once a flat piece of land but just like gold and diamond mining, heavy excavation had to be done to find bauxite. It transformed the land into mining pits.
Those pits naturally evolved into lakes, being full of water from springs beneath the earth’s surface and surrounding hills.
So why is the water blue? As a candid Anderson puts it, “it is the same reason oceans are blue.”
He assured that the water was tested several times for heavy metal and other toxins and has been found to be above standard, not for consumption, but for recreation.
Another concern is the depth of these lakes. Anderson admits that they are “extremely deep” but said visitors should have no business at the bottom.
He assured that all protocols are in place to guarantee safety such as the use of life jackets and on-site competent lifeguards.
As Minister Walrond sees it, the area is a no-brainer for tourist attractions. She was sold on its serine beauty and being one of the most perfect places for a retreat or adventure.
With the government already supporting stakeholders such as Anderson and the Region 10 Tourism Committee, Walrond says the lake is a premier location for a resort.
She encouraged them to have proposals for the areas so that the government can sell it to international investors.
THE CHALLENGE? GARBAGE!
The main challenge to both developing and preserving the pristine beauty of the area is the indiscriminate dumping of garbage.
Not just the day-to-day littering by patrons and residents but heavy and obstinate dumping of solid waste along the roadway that leads to the lake. The culprits? The Linden Town Council and private garbage disposal companies including Cevon’s Waste Management Inc., according to Deputy Mayor Wainewright Bethune.
Seeing firsthand the magnitude of the problem on Sunday, Minister Walrond assured that it would be addressed. “No problem is insurmountable,” she said.
Walrond believes the will exists to address the problem.
The dumpsite is located along the road but for one reason or another, people have been dumping along the side of the road before the dumpsite. The Mayor said efforts were underway to relocate the landfill site to another mined-out area but said there were some challenges to finding suitable areas that were inland and not close to other waterways.