A new project seems to be chewing away the coastline in Batroun. I was able to get a few shots when I was passing by the area last weekend.
Apparently the plan is to build a new private resort by Orchid, which already runs a private beach in South Lebanon.
Here is part of the construction wall:
I wasn’t the only one to notice. This (better) photo set was posted on Facebook yesterday by Tala Hajjar Skaff:
I remember reading once that the law requires a minimum of 10 meters of space between any development and the shore line. I wonder if that law still applies and, if so, how was this project approved and who approved it?
For those unfamiliar, much of Lebanon’s coastline has been privatized by resorts that charge $20 to $40 per day in beach access fees. Of course you can’t bring food or water to such resorts, so patrons will be dishing out an additional $10-$20 for a small snack and/or drink. With a per capita income of less than $1,000 per month, most Lebanese won’t be able to afford such prices and are thus barred from enjoying the coast across much of their country.
Batroun remains one of the few places where many beaches are still free and accessible to the general public. But how long will that remain the case?
Right next to the construction is an existing establishment that has also built directly on the beach:
Mocking the new Orchid advertising slogan on the construction wall, one of the commentators on Skaff’s post, wrote:
“First there was a beach, and then there was no beach”
Surely there is more we can do about this than laugh. What permit has Orchid obtained for this project? Was an environmental impact assessment carried out? Who approved this permit? Will the resort pay fees to municipality? How much and where will those fees go? Have the people of Batroun been consulted? Have any government bodies been consulted? What is the environment ministry’s position?