|Eilat’s Almog Beach 370.(Photo by: Gal Ayal/SPNI)|
Panel postpones new hotels on Eilat’s Almog Beach
By SHARON UDASIN
Partner in one firm involved in plans for complex confident of project’s success – despite his offer to sell land.
The objections board of the Southern District Committee for Planning Partner in
one of firms planning to build complex confident of project’s success, despite
offering to sell the land Building has sided with the Society for the Protection
of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and decided on Thursday to hold off on making a
decision about plans for a hotel complex on Eilat’s Almog
Disputing the project from the onset, an SPNI marine biologist
examined the potential impacts of building a hotel in the area before then
submitting an official opinion to the objections board.
The plans call
for the establishment of both a 10- story hotel and a commercial center on a
1.2-hectare plot, just over 100 meters from the shore and located behind the
Coral World – Underwater Observatory Marine Park. SPNI had argued in the
objection – submitted last spring – that the construction would cause
irreversible damage to Eilat’s scenery and that the shore had already reached
“This is a clear case in which it is necessary to
employ the precautionary principle and reject the plan,” a statement from SPNI
After hearing the objections, the committee decided to appoint its
own external marine ecologist to examine the plans and submit reviews about
potential environmental hazards – like lighting, infrastructure, sewage,
pollution, dust, irrigation and fertilizer use, according to the decision. As
necessary, the conclusions made by the ecologist will be incorporated into the
project’s provisions, and the committee must receive these conclusions within 60
days. Afterwards, the committee will then discuss the plan and further
objections once again before reaching a decision, the committee said.
an objections board forum that took place on February 4, prior to Thursday’s
decision, the local marine biologist working with SPNI – Dr. Jacob Dafni –
explained to committee representatives that never before had a hotel been
constructed so close to the city’s coral reefs. These reefs, he explained, are
Eilat’s number one attraction and could be easily damaged by such a
Yehuda Katav, a partner from one of the firms planning to build
the hotel, Derech HaArava Ltd., said in response to the objections that the
project team had integrated all requests of the Environmental Protection
Ministry in the plans, and that all water, for instance, will be recycled
internally rather than emptied into the Red Sea.
“Because it’s an
ecological hotel and we are establishing it according to green building codes,
there is no problem,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday
Speaking with the Post in June, Katav said that the developers
have been receiving trouble from green groups about the plan for the past 15
years. He went so far as to say that the plans have caused so much stress for
the companies involved that if the green groups “like the project [site], please
He noted, however, that the complex was slated to be built
across Road 90 away from the shore, and that all plans were according to green
His offer to sell the site to green groups or to the government
still stands, however.
“If the government wants to make a solution and
buy it from us, they are very welcome,” Katav said.
That being said,
Katav stressed that he was confident the hotel complex would emerge
"It’s 100 percent,” he said.
“Nothing will stop the