|Photo by: Dov Greenvlet/SPNI|
Environmentalists to protest housing plans in Sharon
By SHARON UDASIN
The ongoing planning is pressing forward without regard for ecological concerns, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel stressed.
Representatives from the country’s environmental organizations and from Sharon
region communities will formally voice their protests on Wednesday against a
mammoth housing project slated to be built on the former site of an Israel
Military Industries complex.
Arguing that the plans involve an area with
over 373 species of plants – many of which are unique or endangered varieties –
the group will appear before a special investigator appointed by the Interior
Ministry to review all objections concerning the project, the Society for the
Protection of Nature in Israel said.
After hearing all concerns and
conducting his own reviews, the investigator will submit a formal opinion
regarding the plan – the construction of 23,000 housing units on 740 hectares of
IMI land in the Sharon region.
“The current plans have been drawn without
any consideration of the rare natural resources discovered in the area,” a
statement from the SPNI said. “It is necessary to rearrange the plan, with a
different layout, to enable the preservation of unique plants found in the area
and the establishment of a nature park for the benefit and welfare of future
The enormous area encompasses portions of four local
authority areas – Ramat Hasharon, Herzliya, Hod Hasharon and South Sharon
According to a survey commissioned in recent years by
the Israel Lands Authority and conducted by ecological and environment
Ron Frumkin, the area contains 373 plant species, of which
23 are considered protected and 27 are considered rare. Of these, the existence
of 14 species is in jeopardy, and 20 have very minimal geographical
The planning is pressing forward without any regard for
ecological concerns, the statement from the SPNI stressed.
In order to
allow for the preservation of so many rare plant species, the ILA must demand a
new construction plan, which takes into account the establishment of an
ecological park for leisure and recreation, the organization said. This,
however, will be possible only after necessary tests and treatment for soil
pollution at the former IMI site, according to the SPNI.
“At Sharon IMI
there is an unprecedented opportunity to bring about the conservation and
cultivation of contiguous natural areas, creating a unique nature park, which is
unlike any in the country’s Center – particularly in such close proximity to Tel
Aviv,” said Moshe Perlmutter, nature conservation coordinator for the SPNI.
“This park will be a Garden of Eden for many wild plants, some of which are
endangered. No less important, a nature park at the [former] IMI complex will
enable hiking, fun and education, in the bosom of nature close to home, and it
will bring with it a higher quality of life for hundreds of thousands of
residents of nearby cities.”