Bahrain plans 'dream garden' revamp
Manama, June 11, 2011
A public park in Bahrain that was at one time being planned as a 'miniature Disneyland' is finally in line for a revamp and likely to be ready before the end of the year.
Plans to pump BD19 million into the Grand Muharraq Garden were scrapped in April last year after the investor missed three deadlines to start work.
However, the Muharraq Municipal Council is now planning to use his BD180,000 deposit to equip the garden with family rest areas, playground equipment and a walkway.
The Municipal and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry has agreed parts of the garden should be opened to the public before the end of the year.
But councillors want the garden re-tendered and investors sought to build a five-star multi-function hall, a traditional market for Bahraini Productive Families and a fast food restaurant complex.
'It is sad to see a dream project that residents have waited so long for vaporise, but things have to be put back on track with or without the investor,' said council financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman Mohammed Al Mutawa.
'We have already instructed the ministry to use the former investor's deposit to partially open the park for the public and hopefully in three to four years, the place would have a proper investment.
'This garden is the closest to Bahrain International Airport and it should give a good impression to visitors about Bahrain's development and not as it is now - deserted with stray dogs.
'It is true that the investor has harmed us badly by backing down from the contract, but it is not the end of the road as we have now come up with other plans for the place.'
Al Mutawa said the council had many new ideas on how to utilise the garden in the best way possible, taking into account its location and size.
'Investment is the best way to generate revenue and help carry out maintenance and renovation in the garden with us just taking municipal lease every month,' he said.
Kuwait-based Salah Al Rumaih Group was behind the miniature Disneyland project, but the Muharraq Municipality sought the council's approval to withdraw the project in June 2009.
It said delays in starting work had put the project four months behind schedule and claimed the investor changed the agreed designs.
According to the original plans, the project would have featured a variety of rides, landscaping and the country's longest walkway at 1,550 metres.
The design also included the biggest bowling alley in the Middle East with 45 lanes, which would have been equipped to host international championships.-TradeArabia News Service