Monday, March 23, 2009

Bau - Tasik Biru (Blue Lake)

The BLUE Lake (Tasik Biru) General view of Blue Lake Click here to enlarge Click here to enlarge Click here to enlarge Tasik Biru To be Opened To public on April 16, 2001. By: William N.P. Chai The Tasik Biru here, will be opened to the public on April 16. It much awaited opening has been delayed for over a year after the completion of some basic facilities under the restoration project, due to the present of arsenic been detected in the water. The facilities constructed included a six-stall canteen, toilets, pontoon gangway, viewing platform, footpaths, railing by the lakeside,a car park and landscaping. The new lake resort will be much bigger with an area of 19 acreas as compared to the former Tasik Biru which was 15 acres. Signboards have been put up at the lake side by the Natural Resources and Environmental Board of Sarawak (NREB), warning the public against swimming, fishing, bathing or drinking the water from the lake as the water contains high content of arsenic. A six-stall canteen Click here to enlarge Click here to enlarge Despite this, some people are seen swimming and catching fish in the lake. The state government through the NREB is in the process of engaging experts, most probaly from foreign countries to study the source of the arsenic, and ways of overcoming the problem in order to make the water safe for recreational activities. Re-opening of the Tasik Biru The news of the re-opening of the Tasik Biru, once a prime attraction of the town, is a very much welcome news for the people of Bau town. To many of the town folks, Bau town was never the same as it used to be after the Tasik Biru has gone- been de-watered by a mining company to enable the gold ore to be extracted from the side and bottom of the former gold mine lake. That was back in June 1990. Click here to enlarge The dewatering of the lake started on June 17, 1990, and the lake was closed to the public. Most people in the town are hoping that the re-opening of the Tasik Biru will bring back the former glory of the town. Penghulu Kueh Moh Huat hoped that the lake will attract more visitors to the town, hence more business opportunity to the shopkeepers, especially those dealing with food, drinks and souvenirs as what it used to be. The Forming of Tasik Biru General view of Blue Lake Click here to enlarge Click here to enlarge Tasik Biru which was formed from a open cast gold mining pit known as Tai Parit mine, operated by the Borneo Company from 1898 untill it was flooded in 1921. It was then known as Tai Parit Lake, subsequently, it became a popular pinicking spot although with limited facilities. The Bau District Council carried out development project to add some basic facilities around the lake in 1975. A bridge was built to span across a narrow part of the lake to enable visitors to access to the other side of the lake. It was renamed Tasik Biru, as the water in the lake appeared greenish bluish due to reflection from the green plants around and the blue sky. Since then it has attracted a lot of visitors to the lake which is less than a kilometer from the Bau bazaar. In 1977 there was a rent-a-boat system operating for those who like to paddle in the lake, the deepest point was about 300 feet deep. The boat renting was stopped after the bus tragedy in 1979. Bus Tragedy in 1979 It was said that the lake claimed one life in in an average of every three years. A bus carrying a load full of students and trainee teachers plunged into the lake in June that year killing 28 students and a trainee teachers. There had been a lot of legends related to the former Tasik Biru. Story regarding the flooding of the lake in 1921 An elderly man once told me a story regarding the flooding of the lake in 1921. Tt was said that one day, a group of miners stumbled upon a golden tortoise at the bottom of the lake. When they tried to catch the tortoise, the tortoise bored into the earth. As the miners hacked frantically after it, the tortoise bored further into the subterranean strata. Suddenly, a jet of water appeared and the mine started to flood. The frightened miners scrambled for the high ground. But the water kept rising. It looked as if the water would take a terrible vengeance and the mining settlement would be wiped out. Then an old man, said to be a bomoh, appeared on the scene and provided the solution, - he pushed a white man into the rising water. And strangely, the water stopped rising. Three "monsters" appeared in Tasik Biru In 1988, three "monsters" appeared in Tasik Biru. It aroused a great interest not only among the Bau people, but also from else where, as crowds swarmed to the mining town to witnessed the three strange huge figures in dark shed of about three meter long, swam below the water surface. The medium from the nearby Bong Low Sian Tze temple when consulted refered them as evil beings. He asked his assisted to burn some talismans around the four corners of the lake. Strange enough a day later, the strange figures disappeared. There was no such huge creatures been seen when the lake was dewatered in 1990! The jong regatta or model sailing boat racing Tasik Biru was also a venue for the once popular sport - the jong regatta or model sailing boat racing. Minature sailing boats were released at one end of the lake and letting the wind to blow them across to the other end of the lake to decide the winners. The regatta however has varnished as the Tasik Biru disappeared. Hopefully that when the Tasik Biru been restored, the jong regatta could be revived as well as a tourist attraction. Present and Proposed Development An artist impression of a proposed development project. Click here to enlarge The present Tasik Biru is far from its former appearance which has a more natural setting as compare to the present bare surrounding as a result of the mining activity. A lot of efforts surely needed to bring back the lake to its former glory. The Bau District Council has proposed a comprehensive development plan to turn the lake into a resort by adding more facilities. This includes constructing a suspension bridge or a floating bridge across the lake to the other side of the lake where a small hill is located. Footpaths, jogging tracks, hill climbibng facilties as well as chalets will be built on the hill slope. A floating restaurant and children playground and more food and drink stalls will also be constructed. The proposal has been submitted to the state government and is still waiting for the approval. If the project could be implemented according to the plan it will surely attract local and foreign tourists to the lake and contribute to the economy development of the town.