Netanya mayor attacks plan to close Wingate Institute entrance

Netanya Mayor Miriam Fierberg-Ikar has written to the National Infrastructure Committee attacking its decision to close the main entrance to the Wingate Sports Institute and open an entrance further south, reports The mayor said that closing the current entrance, located on the coastal highway two kilometers south of the Poleg interchange, would harm current and future activities at the institute, as well as cutting it off from the city of Netanya. According to the report, the committee recently decided to close the main entrance to the institute and move it further south to the Yakum interchange. The reasons for the decision were not stated. But Fierberg-Ikar was reportedly furious, and wrote to the committee to say the move would prevent the city from carrying out long-standing approved plans to develop the institute. The report said the plans increase the area of construction inside the institute from the current 60,000 square meters to 100,000 square meters, with the creation of a hippodrome and equestrian farm. Fierberg-Ikar wrote that the plans are contingent on the institute's having at least two entrances, and they would not be able to go ahead if there was only one entrance. She also said that moving the entrance south to Yakum would place a burden on residents of Netanya and visitors using the institute, and that a second entrance was necessary. "There is no doubt that the absence of an alternative solution for the cancelled entrance will harm the functioning of the institute, the image of the city and the importance of Wingate as a strategic asset for the city... We will not allow a substitution in which the Wingate Institute is cut off from the city of Netanya," she wrote. The report said that an institute manager also described the institute as an "inseparable part" of the city of Netanya and said the expansion plans were of "great importance." The manager said any plan had to be viewed in the light of how it best served people. No comment was reported from the committee.