Coast erasing in Batroun

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?

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Thanks to Lama for pointing out Tala’s pictures.

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3 comments
  1. This project is taking place on a land leased from the maronite “waqef”. It has then been approved by the religious authorities.
    As for the municipality, this project is in Thoum, same as Pierre and Friends and white beach. Thoum has no municipality, so it it falls under the jurisdiction of the ” Qaem Maqam” of Batroun.
    However, the authorities that should be reviewed are the ministery of Transport that issues the permits on the coastline and the “Shawate2” that are responsible to crack down on the infractions, but the latter is one of the most corrupt institutions in Lebanon.

  2. How interesting Jean, thanks for your input. Who knew religious authorities were involved. I wonder how much they are getting paid and what will happen to the money. Still curious how all this was “legally possible” considering the proximity between the project and the coastline. Surely the Church does not own the coast.

  3. i just stumbled across this and i know it’s way late but thought i’d reply anyways.
    the trick is that there is no actual construction. the main resort will be on the other side of the road. the project on the beach side is more of a landscape thing: docks and patios and things like that. there’s only a small block for bathrooms and a staircase leading from the street to the beach. so my guess is that this is the main reason they got away with it (plus im sure some generous donations in certain places). Apart from that bathroom facility, it’s all wooden docks, that btw respect a lot the beachline topography and the existing rocks (i know that natural is the best beauty but as far as resorts go this one is trying its best to respect the beach).
    just thought i’d leave this here. cheers

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