The establishment of a park on the banks of the Kishon Stream near Haifa was approved Tuesday by planning authorities. The park, to be about 600 dunams (148 acres), will preserve the last open spaces in the area.
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Implementation of the decision, passed by a subcommittee of the National Planning and Building Council, depends, among other things on finding alternative sites to store containers for the Israel Ports Company.
The park is planned for the banks of the Kishon between Histadrut Boulevard in Haifa and the stream’s outlet to the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the park will be set aside for recreational activities and in other areas, artificial pools will be built to recreate wetlands, of which there are only scant remnants today.
Lookouts will be built along the stream banks, and pedestrian and bike paths created. Commercial activities will be allowed in a small part of the park to support its maintenance. The planning body’s subcommittee decided yesterday to expand the space allocated for business by an additional 4,000 square meters, a decision that was opposed by the Environmental Protection Ministry and green groups.
Part of the area where the park is to be established was earmarked as storage space for Israel Ports Company shipping containers. The company opposed the move to take away some of its storage space, and the Environmental Protection Ministry initially acceded to its demand. But after a public campaign by the Kishon Stream Authority, the space for the park was increased.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which has been working for the establishment of the park, said that the planning committee’s decision to establish it will turn the area into a green lung for the Haifa metropolitan area. The Kishon Stream Authority, which had already established a small park in the area some years ago, said that it welcomed the decision and would work to obtain the necessary funding for it.
Over the past few years work has been done to clean up the Kishon Stream bed to solve drainage problems. A park is also planned for the future in the eastern part of the stream, near the oil refineries, in areas now under cultivation.
The Israel Lands Authority will have to help find alternative storage space for the shipping containers. The details of the committee’s decision have not yet been released, and so it is still unclear what its demands will be on this matter.
In recent years there have been cases, the most prominent of which is the Sharon Park in the Hadera area, where unresolved building rights of various entities prevented the development of the park.