Jumeirah Beach Park to close for almost two years, Dubai Municipality says
DUBAI // One of Dubai’s most popular outdoor spaces for the past 25 years will be closed for the next two years to make way for the city’s ambitious canal project.
Jumeirah Beach Park is one of the oldest in the emirate. Its 13 hectares of public beach and park were closed to the public on Sunday. It is expected to reopen with “a new look” by the end of 2016. In the meantime, “we recommend people go to Mamzar Park, which has the same facilities”, said Mohammed Al Fardan, head of public parks at Dubai Municipality.
“I had no idea they were going to close it or I would have gone this weekend,” said Leif Borstad, 36, from Norway, a regular visitor for barbecue parties with friends.
“We have been waiting for the milder season to start a regular weekend gathering. It would have been more convenient if they had closed it during the summer than during the peak season.”
He said Mamzar Park was too far away to be considered an alternative.
“I was just there two weeks back and I never heard it was closing,” said Daniel de Guzman, from the Philippines, a member of a group of regular volleyball players at the beach.
“I am very surprised. It’s always been one of the most popular destinations in Dubai.
“My contract ends next year, so it would be a shame because I will probably not see what happens to the park.”
One member of an informal yoga group in the park said the place could probably have done with a lick of paint.
“The restaurants there are a bit sloppy, and the place looks like it hasn’t been looked after much,” she said.
“It could benefit from a renovation, definitely.”
Traffic diversions have already begun on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road to make way for the Dh1.76 billion canal project, which will extend Dubai Creek across the city, connecting it to the Arabian Gulf in a semi-circular shape. The project is expected to be completed by 2016.
The new canal will also cut through Safa Park but the municipality said there were no plans at the moment to close the 64-hectare park.
The Roads and Transport Authority said this year the park would be modified but did not say which part of it or how much space would be taken up. It said the canal would add 2.5 kilometres of waterfront to the park, and a 1.5km public beach.
The waterfront is expected to include jogging tracks, a walkway, sitting areas and cafes, and will host public events and festivals. Pedestrian bridges will also be built across the canal in the first phase.
The second phase will involve smaller bridges on Jumeirah Road and Al Wasl Road. There will also be a flyover from Al Wasl Road to Al Hadiqa Road, a marina for private boats and the RTA’s water bus, and pedestrian bridges linking Jumeirah Beach Walk to Safa Park Walk.
Updated: October 13, 2014 04:00 AM