Bahrain’s plans to build jetty shelved
Manama, September 4, 2011
Plans to set up a jetty opposite Bahrain Fort, a World Heritage Site, have been rejected by Unesco for geological reasons as to trenching was needed to pave the way for water flow to allow boats to reach the jetty.
The Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry had a few months ago found an alternative location for the fishermen opposite the fort and were planning to purchase private lands for the purpose.
A letter from Unesco said that trenching would result in cracks to the fort's walls, which could jeopardise its stability.
The Manama Municipal Council is now asking the ministry to help co-ordinate with the Culture Ministry to find another location for the fishermen, who have no other place to continue their trade in the area.
There are more than 100 fishermen practising their trade in the area, as 60 other fishermen have joined after the closure of their temporary jetty nearby the now demolished GCC (Pearl) Roundabout.
"Last year, the council tried to have a wooden jetty built in the area despite it being not durable or preferred," said council vice-chairman and area councillor Mohammed Mansoor.
"It was a solution for fishermen and at the same time didn't contradict with Unesco restrictions, but it was rejected due to its height violating standards and blocking scenery," he said.
"We had this jetty shelved and instead found another location for the fishermen near the fort a few months ago and managed to make arrangements to buy off private property for that purpose.
"But a letter was sent to us saying that the proposal was also rejected because of geological problems associated with trenching that may cause cracks in the fort's walls, which could jeopardise its solidness and stability."
Mansoor said that fishermen were victims of a chain of issues that were gradually robbing them of their main source of income - a traditional industry that has been around for hundreds of years in this country.
"Reclamation and turning coasts into private properties are hampering fishermen's easy access to the sea and day by day the industry is on the verge of collapsing in a country that is an archipelago," he said.
"We are not against having the fort listed as a World Heritage Site or against the Unesco's restrictions as it tries to protect international sites of significance.
Mansoor, who is also a well-known fisheries campaigner, said that the fishermen had nowhere to go to with other jetties being crowded and work on two planned jetties in the Capital Governorate being delayed.
"The commission is trying to help the fishermen go somewhere else, but there are not enough spaces to accommodate the existing numbers plus new arrivals," he said.
"Plans for two new other jetties have been put on hold since last year at Khor Al Kaf near Tubli Bay and the Al Fateh Corniche in Juffair due to various complications."
Fishermen lost having a jetty near Tubli Bay because it is a protected under the 2006 Tubli Bay Protection Law, which bans development.
Proposals to build another jetty at the Al Fateh Corniche have also been shelved until the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry comes up with BD8 million earmarked for a major revamp of the area.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi earlier pledged that at least half of all future coastal developments in Bahrain would be devoted to public beaches, as part of a futuristic urban development blueprint.
A network of public corniches within private developments would run around the country's shoreline, creating a natural environment for the public to enjoy, he said. – TradeArabia News Service