x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai's JLT empties the lake to make way for greenery

Workmen in excavators are currently scooping dirt from the drained lake, clearing the way for a 55,000-square metre park. 

Lake C in Jumeirah Lakes Towers has been emptied out to begin construction of a 55,000-square metre park, a move welcomed by some residents. Razan Alzayani / The National
Lake C in Jumeirah Lakes Towers has been emptied out to begin construction of a 55,000-square metre park, a move welcomed by some residents. Razan Alzayani / The National

DUBAI // The water in the central lake at Jumeirah Lakes Towers has been pumped out to make way for the construction of a park, in a move much supported by residents.

Workmen are scooping dirt from the drained lake, clearing the way for a park covering 55,000 square metres.

The three other lakes in JLT will be left untouched, said the master developer, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

“We have now started the construction of the park with the draining of Lake C and are really excited to soon be able to offer those who live and work in JLT a new green area,” said Matt Lomax, director of property at DMCC.

“Over the past year we have engaged with the community to ensure we are continuously improving what is on offer in JLT.

“As a result of many requests for additional green space, we decided to transform one of the lakes into a JLT community park.”

Building should be completed by the end of the year and the park will serve the 55,000 people who live and work in JLT’s 64 towers.

Access will not be restricted by DMCC, although it said the lake and park were designed specifically for the benefit of those who worked and lived in the community.

A pedestrian bridge will link the park to the north and south sections. The blueprint lays out “a lush, green setting” comprising a small amphitheatre, outdoor exercise areas with equipment and children’s play areas.

Yesterday, workers pushed and heaved to roll up bulky rubberised sheets lining the bottom of the lake, and used machines to level the sandy bed. While some residents knew why the area was being cleared, many wished there was more information.

“We first thought the lake was being cleaned,” said Rita, a Russian housewife, walking briskly to keep up with her three-year-old son who was furiously pedalling a bicycle along the promenade.

“They should have put up noticeboards so everyone knows about it. I like the idea but I hope there are no more restaurants. It should just be greenery and space for children to play.”

Another housewife with two toddlers was counting the days to the opening.

“This will be invaluable because now there are small patches of green and play areas but in the park children can run around,” said Sinta Dian, from Indonesia.

Dr Jaafar Kamal, a JLT resident and professor at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, said: “This area feels very industrial because there are so many buildings.

“This will make it family-orientated. We do support it. It will give a good sense of community.”

One man said he preferred the lake view and raised security as a concern.

“The lakes are the main attraction because the view of the water is calming and relaxing,” said Tariq, who has lived in JLT for five years.

“Still, a park is brilliant too, as long as there are no plans for more buildings or any other construction. My main concern is there should be a community entrance because opening it to the public will not be safe for children and parents.”

The cost of building the park will be borne by DMCC, which did not provide budget details.

Developers said the plan came from talking with residents.

“The lakes are just sitting there doing nothing,” said Fereidoun Sanatti, chief executive of Saba Properties, which runs three towers.

“People can exercise, walk, jog, so the park has more uses. And kids will go crazy too. ”

rtalwar@thenational.ae