x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Auto workshops to be moved from the centre of Abu Dhabi

Within a year, garages will have to move away from the central business district, while carpentry, glassworks and scrap metal businesses must move to Musaffah.

ABU DHABI // Within a year, auto workshops in the city centre will have to move to the outskirts of Abu Dhabi island, while carpentry, glassworks and scrap metal businesses must move to Musaffah. A 365-day grace period, starting from the date each business last renewed its commercial licence, will be granted to about 2,500 shops in the capital. Workshops for carpenters, glass and scrap metal warehouses will be shifted to Musaffah, about 25km outside Abu Dhabi. The businesses relating to vehicles such as shops providing tyres, car batteries, upholstery, electronics, window tinting and other services and accessories, will also have to relocate to outside the central business district. The ruling will not affect ADNOC outlets operating on the island. The district is defined by the Corniche and Al Falah Street, and between the Al Mina area and King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz Street. The municipality said the areas outside those borders are considered the outskirts of the island. The measures were announced yesterday, in co-ordination with the Urban Planning Council and the Department of Economic Development. A spokesman from the municipality said the move was part of the capital's "beautification" efforts and would also benefit residents by easing up congestion in areas such as Al Falah Street and Salam Street. Dozens of auto repair shops for air-conditioning units and electronics line those two areas. "Safety of the community is our main target," a municipal spokesman said, but he did not elaborate. Some workers at the auto workshops were angry with the announcement and said they work for legitimate businesses that are popular with Abu Dhabi residents. "Abu Dhabi people are not going to [the outskirts]," said Shahzad Butt, a Pakistani air-conditioning repairman at one of the auto shops on Falah Street. "People live here, they want to stay here. We work for them and they like it." The municipality said in a statement that the measures would enhance the city's image to "contribute to making Abu Dhabi city one of the best cosmopolitan cities worldwide". mkwong@thenational.ae