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Planning chief says shelved proposal for 6 new marinas to be raised again

National Planning and Building Council head says ‘people need to get organized’ ahead of plan’s return to agenda, after recent decision to only recommend 1 new marina

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Boats docked at the Ashkelon marina on the southern Mediterranean coast, on August 18, 2019. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Boats docked at the Ashkelon marina on the southern Mediterranean coast, on August 18, 2019. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The head of the National Planning and Building Council has said that a shelved proposal to build six new marinas along Israel’s Mediterranean coast will again be deliberated, calling on the public to be prepared.

Speaking Wednesday at the Israel Aquarium in Jerusalem at an event marking UN World Oceans Day, Dalit Zilber said that while the matter was not currently on the agenda, “it will come back again and people need to get organized, not to sit on their laurels.”

She also called for improved sea management, saying that while the bodies involved were doing a “very good job,” more needs to be done due to the planning challenges ahead.

In November, a subcommittee of the planning council that rejected the proposal to build six new marinas, instead recommended that just one be created — in Nahariya in the north.

It also recommended that eight sites where ships may currently moor, from Acre in the north to Ashkelon in the south, be expanded and made more efficient.

The plans were opposed by two of the 10 committee members, who were representing the Transportation Ministry and Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. They wanted at least four new marinas.

Dalit Zilber, head of the National Planning and Building Council. (Screenshot)

The November decision followed widespread opposition to the initial plan by the Environmental Protection Ministry and green groups.

“Israel’s maritime space and beaches are a limited resource used by the general public,” the ministry said in a statement at the time.

“We must not expropriate it for the needs of a minority of yacht owners, and promote programs that gnaw away at valuable coastal areas in favor of building marinas. The environmental, social, and economic cost is too high,” it added

The Environmental Protection Ministry calculated that another 1,800 mooring sites could be provided by upgrading, streamlining and expanding existing marinas.

A study commissioned by the ministry found that marinas disrupt the natural flow of sand, causing beaches to become thinner and robbing cliffs of the sand that helps keep them standing, which usually then requires additional sand to be brought in.

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