Greens: City taking right approach to tayelet

"On the whole, SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) supports the overall plan to open up access to the beach."

The city of Tel Aviv is taking the right approach to the tayelet, Omer Cohen, who heads urban planning in Tel Aviv for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, told Metro. "On the whole, SPNI supports the overall plan to open up access to the beach," Cohen said. He pointed out that the organization had played a major role in several of the projects underway today. "In 2001, we put together the proposal to clean up Midron Jaffa," he says. According to Cohen, the SPNI also helped mediate a compromise on the Gordon Pool that satisfied the various interest groups. "The Gordon Pool is special - it was right to leave it [intact], while opening up as much area around it as possible," he said. "There's no public pool in central Tel Aviv, and anyway - the pool wasn't what blocked access to the beach. We're very happy about the agreement that was reached." The SPNI also approves of the Charles Clore Park and Reading projects, and pushed the municipality hard to approve the plan for an open park, although the plan that finally went through included less open space than the group would have liked. However, the environmental group has mixed feelings about the plans for the Dolphinarium area. "On one hand, [the Dolphinarium plan] opens up more beach. On the other, two tall apartment towers are planned for the other side of the road." Currently, Cohen explained, the Neveh Tzedek-Kerem Hateimanim area is largely free from tall buildings (other than hotels), and the SPNI wants to keep it that way. "Tall buildings will just block the breeze," he said. A plan to augment the existing tayelet with a wooden walkway on the beach side has also met with opposition. If the city wants to widen the existing tayelet, Cohen observed, it could be done by taking space from the Herbert Samuel access road, which he characterized as "very dangerous." "It's a mistake to grab more beach," he declared.