Mini-Disneyland work begins in Bahrain
Manama, August 9, 2009
Work on the BD19 million ($50.4 million) state-of-the-art theme park described as a 'miniature Disneyland' in Muharraq has begun after six months of delays.
Muharraq Municipal Council members gave the GCC investor a one-month ultimatum in June to prove his ability to build the project or lose the contract.
Kuwaiti company Salah Al Rumaih Group has now started the work after a meeting with councillors at the end of last month, in which it was ordered to go ahead with the project.
The Muharraq Municipal-ity sought the council's approval in early June to withdraw the project, saying work had still not started - then putting it four months behind schedule - and that the investor had changed the agreed designs.
The new designs would turn the area, beside the garden development, into a multi-storey investment.
Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa patronised a foundation-laying ceremony, which was meant to mark the start of building work on the theme park, on January 14.
According to the original plans the project would feature a variety of rides, green spaces and the country's longest walkway, at 1,550 metres, using asphalt that is healthy for joggers.
Designs also included the biggest bowling alley in the Middle East, with 45 lanes, which would be equipped to host international championships.
Other facilities included a ladies health club, medical centre, restaurants and coffee shops, hotel with a multi-purpose hall and a three-storey car park, with a hydraulic elevator for vehicles.
Plans also include a miniature train to transport guests around the park and around 14 buses to be brought from the UK to take visitors coming via King Fahad Causeway from Saudi Arabia.
The park would also have its own ambulance and helicopter on standby, in case of emergencies, under the original plans.
'We gave him (the investor) two choices - either do the project as agreed in the contract or leave,' said council chairman Mohammed Hamada.
'The GCC investor was wise enough to choose to stick with the original plans, because if not, we were ready to terminate his contract, take legal action and open the project for new bids.
'We have never agreed to have a multi-storey investment in the garden, which was inserted by the investor after signing the contract with us, to which he thought we would turn a blind eye, but he was wrong.
'For him losing BD19 million would have been huge so he decided to restore his original plans, but that doesn't mean that we will not monitor his work, which he began earlier in the week.'
Hamada, who is also the area's councillor, said that the investor had promised that even with the six-month delay, the project will be completed on time.
'We hope so because residents are already upset over the delay and we don't want to further aggravate them,' he said.
The development, which is being built on an area of land known as the Grand Muharraq Garden, would cover an area of 93,618 square metres and is set to provide 200 jobs. The Salah Al Rumaih Group won the council's backing for the contract in 2007.-TradeArabia News Service