Despite councilors imposing a development ban on the beach last month they were informed that private investment would go ahead because the government’s real-estate arm, Edamah, did not answer to municipal authorities.
Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf told council chairman Ahmed Al Ansari, in writing, that the private sector’s involvement in the beach would provide necessary services, which the government could no longer afford due to austerity measures.
However, councilors have asked Mr Al Ansari to refer the matter to the Cabinet and if it sides with them then a six-month development ban will be introduced that could be renewed.
“The minister’s letter is clear and it basically says hands-off and development will go ahead with or without our consent,” said Mr Al Ansari during the council’s weekly majlis.
“I have been a councillor for six years and we stopped several development projects, which have been submitted by the private sector, since licensing for all projects regardless of ownership is a municipal matter that comes under councils.
“(Such developments) would be robbing people of their only public beach.”