Fate of Tel Baruch hangs in balance after protests

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition protesting the Tel Baruch development plans.

tel baruch370 (photo credit: Galit Samuel)
tel baruch370
(photo credit: Galit Samuel)
Hundreds of Tel Aviv residents and their supporters will demonstrate in the capital outside the National Council for Planning and Building on Thursday morning, as the council holds a public hearing on whether to approve a construction plan that involves eliminating an urban nature oasis.
The place in question is Tel Baruch, an area with rare flora and fauna that is covered by a much larger Building Plan 3700 for the city. The plan calls for massive construction in the opens spaces in northwest Tel Aviv, from the Herzliya border in the north, south to Sde Dov Airport.
Within this area, the city plans to construct more than 12,000 apartments, and parking lots, shopping centers and transportation arteries.
At 9 a.m. on Thursday, the residents will be protesting against a small subsection of the plan. The controversial portion is located west of Road 2040 and contains more than 200 species of unique plants and animals endemic to the sands there, according to the residents.
The plans call instead for several large parking lots with a total of 4,000 spaces, commercial centers and an artificial green park – something that the activists there are plenty of in Tel Aviv.
“This is the last open natural area in Tel Aviv, with an abundance of flora and fauna, and remaining green lung for all the residents of the wider Gush Dan region,” the residents said in a statement.
“We must preserve [Tel Baruch] as a natural open space for the benefit of the public and declare it an urban nature reserve, as has occurred in many major cities throughout the world, while relinquishing accompanying development that is not essential to relieving the housing shortage.”
More than 7,000 people have signed a petition protesting the Tel Baruch development plans, the residents said.
The council will not make a final decision on the area for about another month or two, but activist Hadas Marshall told The Jerusalem Post that she feels there is a good chance that both the city and the council will warm up to her cause.
“Now after a few weeks of really massive public relations we know that the public is with us,” Marshall said.
“You hear about it everywhere now and people know about the fight. Everywhere we go nobody believes that they are going to build another mall and another parking place right on the beach.”
At the public hearing, the goal of the residents is to show the council members how much “people really care,” Marshall explained.
“The whole public is with us,” she said.