The massive garbage dump slated to be converted into the largest park in the Middle East will not open to the public in a few months, as originally scheduled, the government company running the project told the finance and environmental protection ministers two weeks ago.
The first stage of converting the Hiriya garbage dump east of Tel Aviv into the Ariel Sharon Park, cannot be implemented because the Sharon Park company has not received the funds needed to prevent any accidents or injuries on the site.
In addition, no insurance coverage was arranged for visitors who might be hurt while at the site, the company said.
The company accused the Israel Lands Administration of drafting an “immoral and draconian” contract that gives the company jurisdiction over the landfill and illegally names it responsible for any risks, hazards or accidents on the site.
The company said opening the converted mound up to the public could expose people to hazards like methane gas, which is still emitted by the garbage mound and is considered flammable, explosive material.
“If a visitor so much as lights a cigarette, it could trigger an event that would put the public in danger,” the company wrote to the ministers.
The company demanded exemption from responsibility regarding any activity associated with the mound.
“The ILA and the government are placing all of the responsibility on a company that has only just been formed, has no budget, whose personnel consists of three people and whose directors are public officials,” the Sharon Park company said.
The agreement is not only immoral but legally questionable, the company added, since the pollution on the site was created over dozens of years by various authorities that operated there with the state’s authorization.
Officials from the treasury and the Environmental Protection Ministry said the indemnity and insurance issues are being addressed. The Environmental Protection Ministry said NIS 25 million has been allotted to development work and draining efforts to prevent flooding from the streams around the mound.
The ILA issued the following response: “We are astonished the [Sharon Park] company is complaining about a contract that was completed after prolonged negotiations and was finally signed in November 2009. During the negotiations the company made several requests to reduce its responsibility for the situation of the mound.”
The Sharon Park company said it was doing its utmost to advance the plans for the park and recently received a budget to develop the project.
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