Bahrain Corniche facelift on way
Manama, December 4, 2011
Work on the first phase of a delayed BD1.2 million ($3.18 million) project to redevelop one of Bahrain's most popular seafronts is set to begin early next year, said a senior government official.
It will include clearing up the coast of Al Fateh Corniche to instal playground equipment and the building of a new walkway to connect it to existing facilities, said Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi.
'Artist's impressions have been completed and a contractor will be assigned to clear up the coast to instal playground equipment, build a walkway and connect it with existing facilities,' he said.
The Manama Municipal Council earlier instructed the municipality to offer parts of the corniche in the second phase for investment to help generate income for the project, which will be carried out in an area of 153,430 sq m.
It will feature recreational and family areas as well as restaurants and coffee shops. Ministry assistant joint municipal services under-secretary Mohammed Noor Al Shaikh said the second phase would involve all private recreational and commercial facilities on the coast being removed.
'New facilities that will replace the ones we are planning to knock down will be constructed at the front of the corniche to allow people to enjoy coastal views without having to acquire any private service,' he said.
'The new buildings will be constructed by investors, who will have to present us with ideas on their projects. We will allow sheesha cafes to open at the corniche whereas now there are around seven outlets providing that service - the ministry wants to have a range of services on offer.'
Work was originally supposed to begin in July last year, but was delayed due to a shortage of funding.
Initial funding was later allocated to the Manama Municipality to help kick-start the project, but problems determining the development's size further delayed work. 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 Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry upon request.
The area is part of a 4km public beach project. It includes a 3km coastline from near Isa Cultural Centre to the Prince Khalifa Bridge.
The beach will start from the centre, cross around Juffair and pass the Bahrain Specialist Hospital, before ending at the bridge. The project is being developed by Edamah, the government's real estate wing.
Al Shaikh said that the third phase, which was only a proposal, could see a jetty being built at either end of the corniche.
'We have already opened a temporary jetty for Hoora and Gudaibiya residents behind Funland, which will possibly be made permanent,' he said.
'Another will be built for Juffair residents behind the Bahrain Specialist Hospital, but we are still waiting for private land to be reclaimed there so we can shape our land. Both jetties will be open to the public for amateur fishing and maritime sports.' – TradeArabia News Service