Bahrain to start work on new town next month
Manama, March 7, 2008
Building work on the BD1 billion Northern Town in Bahrain will begin next month, it was announced yesterday.
The work will include levelling islands for development, building government houses, infrastructure projects, landscaping, quay walling and building a sewage treatment plant.
This was announced following a meeting held yesterday between Housing and Urban Development Committee Secretary Ali Mattar and members of the Northern Municipal Council at Hamala.
The town will be built on an area of 740 hectares and divided into 14 islands.
The aim is to provide 15,000 government houses by 2016.
Mattar told councillors that work to level the two already reclaimed islands would begin next month.
"Work to finish levelling them will continue until August, while work on government housing in one of the islands is expected to begin in May and continue until December next year," he said.
"There are six templates for houses we are building in addition to four templates for the apartment buildings.
"Infrastructure projects in the whole town, which includes roads, bridges and utilities, in addition to landscaping, will begin in September and end in November 2012.
"Work on quay walling on the island will begin in October and end in March 2011."
Mattar said that work on a sewage treatment plant for the island would begin on December and continue till November 2010.
Council chairman Yousif Al Boori said that sizes of the houses were not acceptable and that the Housing Ministry should be building bigger ones.
"Those houses are very small and are not modern, although they are being done according to the best designs possible," he said.
"But even the designs are subject to people's liking and should be presented to them to choose from before anything is built."
Council towns and villages development committee chairman Sayed Ahmed Al Alawi said that people were fed up with work delays on the town.
"We have been hearing for months that work would begin. Finally, work is expected to begin and we hope that it doesn't get delayed again," he said.
"An agreement has been reached with the committee that they would take us on monthly regular visits to the town, to look at the progress of work and tell the public what's going on.
"Many are asking where is the Northern Town and we don't have answers."
A new route was mapped out to the town last month, sparing hundreds of homes and other properties from the bulldozer.
It will cost BD20 million, just 10 per cent of the original proposed route, which would have meant buying and demolishing properties.
The proposed new route would be an expansion of the existing Al Nakheel Avenue, which runs from near the Bahrain Fort to Abu Sabh Beach, Duraz, said Al Boori.
It will pass through lands that have not been classified for development, which will be cheaper than compensating people for their already-built homes, in addition to land and other property, he said.
The original route, which would have cost the government BD200 million, would have cut through the new Saraya residential area.
The BD3 million St Christopher's Junior School, Saar, would have been amongst those buildings facing demolition under the old proposal.
Once the BD66 million reclamation work on all islands is completed this year, 1,500 homes will be built every year, according to the official schedule.
The aim of the project is to provide between 75,000 to 100,000 people with government homes.
It will provide 44,000 new job opportunities in various service and commercial establishments to be constructed, says the government.
The town, which is at least five times the size of the Seef District, will include various facilities including a hospital, an interactive museum and aquarium, a university, health centres, schools, mosques, sho