Greens angry over beach hotel building approval

Environmental groups are furious after the National Committee for the Preservation of the Beach Environment canceled a legal clause preventing additional building on Eilat's beaches and approved the construction of an eight-story hotel on the southern Almog Beach, reports An environmental spokesman said the decision was a "dangerous precedent" that took only private economic interests into account, and environmental groups would continue fighting to prevent the hotel from being built on the beach, as well as against any other construction on Eilat's beaches. According to the report, an abandoned two-story building formerly used for commercial purposes currently stands on the Almog Beach site. Business interests applied to the committee to change the national regulations that prohibit additions to existing structures on Eilat's beaches, and to be allowed to add six stories to the building and create an eight-story, 160-room hotel. The Society for the Protection of Nature, the Parks and Nature Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry all opposed the application. But for reasons unstated in the report, the committee agreed to allow the clause to be cancelled and the eight-story hotel to be constructed. "This is a miserable decision and a dangerous precedent that allows changes to the national plan solely because of economic considerations that benefit a private entrepreneur," an SPNI spokesman said. He added that the society would continue to oppose the construction of the hotel, as well as any other building additions on Eilat's beaches.