With reporting from Riham Sheble
As cooler temperatures lure Qatar residents outdoors, several government departments have been pushing to increase the number of parks across the country.
The issue was raised earlier this week at a Central Municipal Council (CMC) meeting, when members stressed the need for larger public parks.
Some said green spaces complete with lakes and trees similar to what’s found at Aspire Park are especially needed in northeast Qatar.
CMC member Nasser Ibrahim Mohamed Issa Al Mohannadi noted that because a new hospital is being constructed in Al Khor, hundreds of new employees and their families will be moving to the area – and they will need leisure options.
Al Khor has a large park, but it’s been closed since 2010 as part of a QR250-million renovation that has fallen behind schedule.
Originally slated to open by March 2014, the government set a new deadline of this summer that was also missed.
Its opening was delayed to ensure the park was equipped with proper safety and security features such as installing a fence around a hill that overlooks the children’s play area, Al Raya previously reported.
This isn’t the first time CMC members have argued that Qatar needs more green spaces that are open to the public.
While on the campaign trail earlier this year, Sheikha al-Jufairi – who was re-elected to the CMC in May – suggested that a portion of the old Doha International Airport property be repurposed as a park.
CMC agreed to refer the proposal to recommend building new parks to its internal sub-committee for services and public parks for further discussion.
CMC’s recommendations come as the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) announced plans to begin construction on 59 public parks in Qatar by early 2016 at a cost of QR1.5 billion.
In an interview with Al Sharq published this week, Mohammed Ali Al-Khouri – the director of MMUP’s public gardens department – said that the designs will be different and creative, including parks shaped like seashells, tree leaves, brushes, flowers and circles.
Al-Khouri also elaborated on how many parks are planned in each district:
- Al Rayyan: 25;
- Umm Slal: 14;
- Al Khor and Al Dhakhira: Six each;
- Doha: Five;
- Al Daayen: Two; and
- Al Shamal: One.
The MMUP is also working with ictQatar to install WiFi in all public parks in Qatar, Al Khouri said in August.
No competition dates for the parks have been set.
Parks in Qatar
Qatar is home to several parks, but most are usually packed with residents during the weekends in the winter months.
Qatar has recently been working to increase its green spaces. Last year, the MMUP announced that four new family parks would open to the public on National Day:
- Onaiza Park, situated in Dafna, near Al Jazi Gardens housing compound, which includes a shaded children’s play area, football pitches covered with industrial turf, shaded seating areas, a cafe, toilets and a water cooler;
- Al Shehaniyah Park, which is west of Doha on Dukhan Road and includes a mosque, football pitches, a children’s play area, basketball and handball courts, seating areas, toilets and water coolers;
- Al Khairaitiyat Plaza, just north of Doha, which has a covered kiddie play area, shaded seating and toilets; and
- Umm Salal Park, whose facilities include a prayer room, children’s play area, cafe, toilets and free WiFi.
Which parks do you like to visit when weather conditions are favorable? Thoughts?