Bahrain to start corniche revamp by Sept
Manama, April 30, 2011
Work on the first phase to redevelop one of Bahrain's most popular seafronts is set to begin by September, said a top government official.
It will include clearing up the coast of Al Fateh Corniche to instal playground equipment, building a walkway and connecting it with existing facilities, said Municipal and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry assistant joint municipal services under-secretary Mohammed Noor Al Shaikh.
"Artist impressions are near completion and the first phase will be tendered by July, which means that within months we will clear up the coast to instal playground equipment, build a walkway and connect it with existing facilities," he added.
"A joint committee with the Works Ministry will also determine locations for the contractor assigned to build the complex to ensure there is no trespassing on the 1km coastline. Most of the area will be given to investors, while the rest will be developed by us."
Al Shaikh said claims by council members that the project would be further delayed as deeds were scattered among several ministries and government organisations were untrue.
"We have arranged those matters and are working faster than expected in getting everything in line for the redevelopment," Al Shaikh said.
"Maybe, the only thing that will take time is getting investors to fulfil the councillors' obligations, but that is being handled as ordered by HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to avoid delays."
A contractor has also been assigned by the Works Ministry to clean up what was left behind from the reclamation work for the new National Assembly Complex.
The Manama Municipality invited investors to take part in the BD8 million facelift earlier in the month, which will be the project's second phase.
Officials had made the announcement to ensure whenever work on the first phase is complete, the second phase begins without any delays.
Work should have originally begun in July last year, but was delayed due to a shortage in funding. An initial amount was later allocated to the municipality to help kick-start the project, but problems over determining the development's size delayed it further.
However, the Royal Court has assured the municipality that deeds for the 1km coastline were ready.
The deeds have been transferred to the Finance Ministry and will be given to the Municipal and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry on its request.
The Manama Municipal Council earlier instructed the municipality to offer parts of the corniche for investment to help generate income for the project, which will be carried out on an area of 153,430 sq m.
It will feature recreational and family areas with access to the seafront as well as restaurants and coffee shops.
The area is part of a 4 km public beach project under a government-led plan. It includes a 3 km coastline from near Isa Cultural Centre to Prince Khalifa Bridge.
The entire beach will start from the centre, cross around Juffair and past Bahrain Specialist Hospital, before ending at the bridge. The two coastline projects are intercepted by land that will house the assembly being developed by Edamah, the government's real estate wing.
Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor said the corniche was a mess because ownerships were divided among several government bodies.
"We visited the place and work is in progress on the new assembly, some randomly reclaimed areas on the coast and some with puddles and I don't think this can be cleaned before the end of the year," he added.
Municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam, meanwhile, said the area would be a smoke-free and family recreational facility.
He said the ministry had removed any plans for sheesha coffee shops from the corniche development to follow a smoking ban in public parks.
"Things can change, but that's left to the Health Ministry to agree on," said Al Ghatam.
"This project is something that everyone is waiting for, considering that it is the most popular seafront for youngsters, couples and families." – TradeArabia News Service