A BD3.6 million ($9.4 million) coastal project, including a 1-km beach and a harbour, is scheduled for completion in Zallaq, Bahrain, by the end of the year.
Details were revealed yesterday by Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi, following protests by Zallaq residents against land reclamation that they claimed would deny access to the shoreline, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He said the coastal development would result in a public beach and a harbour for fishermen in the area.
"This will be a comprehensive project on a 1 km stretch of sandy beach with added services," Dr Al Ka'abi told the GDN.
"This beach will be open for the public and accessible always, with facilities like restaurants and swimming areas for families.
"The harbour will be exclusive for fishermen and their activities and will not disturb families and visitors.
"Work has begun on the harbour and the whole project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.
"Residents have been asking for a small stretch of beach and now the government has granted them a 1-km public beach."
The GDN first reported plans for the project in February. Initial proposals envisaged specialist diving and snorkelling centres in addition to alcohol-free restaurants, a pier and souvenir shops.
However, area councillor Bader Al Dossary said there was some dispute over the direction the project was taking.
"Two parts of the 1-km beach proposed by the government are owned by private parties and (therefore) cannot be a public beach," Al Dossary told the GDN.
"The initial design by the ministry in consensus with the council, a proposal accepted by the residents, was different from the current proposal.
"The harbour, though almost ready, still has not been allowed to function - obviously because it needs approval from private parties who own part of the beach."
He also claimed the stretch of coast where reclamation was taking place had been a gift from the late Amir HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa to the people of Zallaq.
"We have our majlises and celebrations during special occasions like Eid on this site," he said.
He added that residents would stage another rally on the coast on Friday against the reclamation in the area.