By Cathal McElroy
Hotel, villas and marketplace project planned despite environmental concerns
Councillors in Bahrain have given the go-ahead for a $145.1m (BHD 55m) tourist resort opposite Muharraq’s Arad Fort.
The approval was granted despite opposition to the plans on the grounds that the project will be built on land that has yet to be reclaimed and could harm the protected Arad Bay, Gulf Daily News reports.
The project is expected to feature a hotel, luxurious villas and a traditional Bahraini marketplace surrounded by natural scenery.
Area councillor Ali Al Muqla disputed claims about the environmental impact of the resort.
“Concerns that the project will block water currents from Arad Bay are untrue despite the Royal Court banning developments at the site,” he said.
“Anyway, for the development to go ahead an environmental, traffic impact and technical assessment has to be complete.”
Bahrain developer Bareeq Al Retaj Real Estate Services is executing the project and can now approach ministries and government bodies for permits to carry out work.
“The developers presented an initial version to us, but they will need to supply further details,” Al Muqla said.
“For now we believe that the project is beneficial to the tourist development of the area and for that we want it to go ahead.”
Muqla, who is the Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman, said the developers had agreed the resort and marketplace would be alcohol free.
“We are very pleased the developers have stated in writing that there will be no alcohol and we hope the project, which will open in the coming years, will be a huge attraction for families not only from Bahrain, but also from other parts of the Gulf and all around the world,” he said.
“It is located near Bahrain International Airport, the Arad Fort and Arad Bay, and will itself have huge attractions for families within the resort so we believe it would be successful.”