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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Special report: Residents conflicted over changes in Fujairah

While many residents of the east coast emirate are enthusiastic about the progression, others are content with the way things are.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah, the second-largest mosque in the UAE, will open this year. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah, the second-largest mosque in the UAE, will open this year. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Big steps are being taken in the development of Fujairah’s housing and infrastructure. While many residents of the east coast emirate are enthusiastic about the progression, others are content with the way things are. The municipality has begun work on road improvements, building water barriers, ports and residential complexes and expanding healthcare facilities at the cost of Dh1.5bn, but some residents feel their efforts would be best directed towards improving basic services such as waste management.

Contents:

1- Fujairah residents optimistic for the future

2- Big steps in development taken in Fujairah

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February 15: Sharjah clears road to progress

February 16: Keeping pace with change in Ajman

February 17: Lack of services holding UAQ back, residents say

February 18: Infrastructure needs to catch up with RAK’s growing population

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Fujairah residents optimistic for the future

FUJAIRAH // While many residents are enthusiastic about the quickening pace of development across the emirate, with new roads, housing complexes and the expanding port and airport, some are perfectly content with the way things are.

The east coast emirate has high hopes for the future, outlined in the municipality’s Fujairah 2040 plan that aims to improve the quality of life to Emiratis and expatriates.

Rupak Chatterjee, the principal urban planner at project management company Ramboll, said key to the plan is an expected population boom to more than 500,000 by 2040, a big increase on the current 152,000 residents.

In the short term there are plans for the development of Fujairah port and airport, increasing office space by 20 per cent, building 8,800 new homes and 1,500 hotel rooms over the next five years.

“[The plan] includes the expansion of the airport apron and runway and relocating the cargo terminal and other buildings, developing the commercial activities and capabilities,” Mr Chatterjee said.

“While the port will have new terminals for oil, marine services, dry bulk and containers with an anchorage area.”

Mohammed Al-Afkham, director of Fujairah Municipality, said that the plan will help the emirate keep pace with urban growth, promote the economic growth, while ensuring conservation of the environmental and cultural heritage.

“It aims to achieve sustainable development in the emirate in the light of its rapid economic growth, through the establishment of an effective infrastructure, that is balanced and environmentally friendly,” he said.

Ahmad Al Neami, an Emirati living in Murashed, said the [Department of] Public Works has done a good job in maintaining the area’s roads and services, but Fujairah still needs a lot of hard work to reach the regional standards, but it should not lose its peaceful character.

“For me, I rather it stays the same. The simplicity and quietness of the emirate are part of the things I like here most and wish to stay,” the 29-year-old said.

Hussien Ali, a 32-year-old Egyptian architect who has been working in Fujairah since 2005, said economic growth would effect the cost of living and impact resident’s lifestyle.

“Keeping up with the universal growth is something we all wish for, to have the same facilities and services like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Fujairah has a unique climate and deserves to be the best. Of course, any growth will affect people financially, but they will have in return a better and easier lifestyle.”

Others, however, were not so positive about the prospect of change.

Ahmad Saif a 37-year-old Emirati who lives in Sakamkam, said that most residential areas have problems that need to be addressed before the emirate surges ahead with ambitious development plans.

“No proper roads to walk or drive in. Last year, the heavy rain drowned our houses and we are afraid that this incident would happen again this year. They didn’t do anything to fix this problem too,” he said.

“Our area is very close to the industrial area so all the big lorries with tonnes of loads pass by the neighbourhood causing more damage to the main road and threatening the safety of our children, as well as the bad smells and pollution that come out of the factories.

“They should deal with all that before considering any new projects,” said Mr Saif.

Malek Sroor said he first heard about Fuhairah’s plans for the future around two years ago but said there are more pressing issues that needed to be fixed first.

“I heard about the Fujairah future plan two years ago, I think it will improve the emirate in whole, especially tourism, but before moving to the next level they should complete the first one,” said the 32-year-old.

“The waste management system here is not working properly like other emirates, you can find garbage everywhere they don’t have a specific law regarding it and this will continue affecting tourism and peoples’ health unless they find solutions before going ahead with any new project.”

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Big steps in development taken in Fujairah

FUJAIRAH // Villas, roads, schools, hospitals and dams have been built in recent years on the east coast as part of President Sheikh Khalifa’s initiative to improve infrastructure in the Northern Emirates.

The Ministry of Public Works, alongside the Follow-Up Committee of the Initiatives of the UAE President, completed the construction of 277 villas for citizens in Fujairah in 2011.

They included a residential complex in Al Bidya consisting of 100 houses and 51 villas in Al Hania, reported Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National.

Forty-four houses damaged by an earthquake were replaced in Masafi, Al Bithna and Wadi Al Sidir, and 12 new homes were built in Ahfara, nine in Wadi May and eight in Al Sorm.

The road network in the emirate has also been upgraded, with the Sheikh Khalifa motorway, linking the emirate with Dubai, completed in 2011 at a cost of Dh1.7 billion.

Also, Dh55 million was spent upgrading 27 kilometres of the Dibba-Masafi road with the addition of an 8km road between Al Bidya and Sharm. The 8.5km-long Maktoum Bin Rashid Road, that connects Fujairah with Masafi, was redeveloped at a cost of Dh48m, while Dh160m was spent reconstructing the 20km Kalba to Khor Fakkan road.

Work is ongoing to finish the Yabsa ring road linking Sheikh Maktoum Street and Masafi Street with the Fujairah Sea Port, while the first phase of paving work on 45 main internal roads in Fujairah City has been completed.

Dh70m has been spent on building 68 dams and water barriers in Fujairah and the Eastern Region, while the new breakwater project in Kalba will cost more than Dh200m once complete.

In the past eight years, two new hospitals and four health centres have been opened in the emirate. Fujairah Hospital, which provides maternity care, opened in the city, while Masafi also has a new hospital. These will serve about 100,000 people and were built at a cost of Dh200m.

The Ministry of Public Works has also built 16 schools and nurseries at a cost of Dh400m, while a new police station was opened in Al Hayl industrial area and a civil defence station near to Fujairah airport.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah city, the second-largest mosque in the country, is scheduled to open during the second half of this year, and a freshwater pumping station is being built to distribute pure water to Fujairah, Kalba, Khor Fakkan and Dibba, at a cost of Dh562m.

As well as building new roads and homes, about 2,000 fishermen benefited from the development of seven new ports in Fujairah and the Eastern Region.

rhaza@thenational.ae