By extending its existing beachside promenade, Herzliya intends to make larger
portions of its coastline accessible to more people in an environmentally sound
manner, officials said on Monday.
In response to burgeoning pressure from
environmental activists against the city’s plans to build a promenade at the
Zvulun Beach, municipal officials said at a news conference that the promenade
would also maintain the width of the beach and preserve the integrity of the
dirt escarpment that protects the line of hotels on the shore.
The NIS 16
million construction plan is Phase II in a project aimed at extending the
existing promenade that lines the Acadia Beach area to the south.
challenge that stands before us is to improve the situation of the Zvulun Beach
and its accessibility to the public,” said Mayor Yael German.
while protecting environmental principles and maintaining the width of the beach
and its natural aspects.”
The promenade will extend 650 meters, from the
Daniel Hotel to the Tzuk Tower, next to the escarpment that lines the beach’s
east side. More than half of the trail, according to the municipality, will be
built along an old route from the 1980s.
The municipality says the
promenade will also act as a breakwater for waves crashing ashore in the winter.
The path will be elevated about two meters above sea level, providing a trail
with a moderate slope and allowing people to walk on the beach all
“Under no circumstance will we allow harm to the beach – the goal
is to maintain the beach as a natural resource that Herzliya is blessed with, a
beautiful coastline, to make it accessible and emphasize the natural aspects and
the beauty and uniqueness,” German said.
The city presented survey
results from a study conducted by the Dahaf Research Institute, showing that up
to 75 percent of Herzliya’s residents supported the plan.
mostly a group of young surfers who enjoy this beach, and they love the fact
that the beach is deserted most of the year,” said Yariv Fischer, chairman of
the Herzliya Municipal Tourism Development Corporation.
their demands to preserve the beach as is, we receive complaints from residents
about neglect of the beach and about the difficulties in access,” Fischer
explained. “Our mission is to make it accessible to everyone – to parents with
strollers, to the disabled, to the elderly, to all residents of the city and the
surrounding areas, and also to protect it.”
Lynette Rofe, chairwoman of
Kanaf, an organization for people with physical disabilities, stressed that she
and fellow members were excited about being able to use the beach, even with
wheelchairs. “Every place that others go, I also want to be able to reach
and move about freely,” Rofe said. “Now my friends and I expect to go down and
travel north on the path, which will be built on the Zvulun Beach. I
welcome the initiative and think it shows the compassion and consideration of
the general public.”
About a week-and-a-half ago the city agreed to
temporarily stop work after the environmental advocacy group Adam Teva V’Din
(Israel Union for Environmental Defense) asked for a statutory clarification
with the appeals commission at the District Council for Planning and
While the group is not against the promenade in principle, its
leaders maintain that the planning and building process is being carried out
In order to build the promenade, the city needs permits from
both the district council as well as the Committee to Save the Coastal
At this point it has neither, according to Adam Teva V’Din
executive director Amit Bracha.
The organization is currently conducting
a survey of its own, with the findings scheduled to be published soon, aimed at
showing how the city is not leaving enough of its coastline open and how the
cliffs still face potential damage, according to Bracha.
It is crucial,
therefore, that an outside body conduct an assessment, he
“That’s why they cannot be the ones giving themselves
permission to build,” he said.
In response, German said she would comply
with whatever statutory decision the committee made and that there would be no
difference in opinion between the city and Adam Teva V’Din. Both had worked
together seamlessly before, she explained.
Minister Gilad Erdan sent German a letter saying the ministry had found many
problems with the building permits for the Zvulun promenade.
professional people at my office and the data they conveyed [show] many problems
in the building permit... and that prior to building, the city should have
conducted a comprehensive environmental assessment involving professionals such
as those in this office.”
Erdan also pointed out that the contractor had
exceeded the zone that had been assigned to him and was violating the terms of
the permit, saying “the city acted in an unreasonable manner with regard to the
public and with regard to unnecessarily damaging the preservation of the coastal
In response, German wrote to Erdan that he had been exposed
to “lies” spread by local activists and that he should realize that the
promenade would provide all members of the public with greater accessibility to
She stressed that the city had stopped all work immediately as
soon as it learned that the contractor had gone beyond the zone stipulated by
the permit. She added her regret that Erdan had been given a “unilateral
impression” before hearing all the facts from the municipality, and she
personally invited him to come see the plans and hear the city’s side.