An appeals committee has rejected a petition against the Tel Aviv Municipality’s plan to protect a coastal cliff in danger of future collapse by destroying a section of its top. The committee, part of the National Planning and Building Council, ruled that the decision to protect the cliff is reasonable, and that it balances the need to prevent a danger of collapse and the need to protect the cliff for ecological reasons.
The petition was submitted by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel after the National Protection of the Coastal Environment Committee approved the plan five months ago to address a coastal cliff in north Tel Aviv whose slope was in danger of collapse. The cliff sits in an area designated to become a park. The plan was approved after the municipality conducted tests to examine the stability of the cliff and the need to protect it from future collapse.
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In order to prevent any collapse, which would endanger those on the beach, the plan calls for one part of the cliff to be removed and cleared away. It was also decided to build a rock wall on the coast at the base of the cliff in order to prevent potential instability as a result of contact with the waves.
In its appeal, the SPNI claimed that removing part of the cliff would cause it serious damage. They also noted that the rock wall would cause the waves to return with great force and would erode some of the sand on the coastal strip, and suggested making do with a fence to prevent access to the cliff.
Tel Aviv City Hall replied that a few years ago it built a fence 1,600 meters in length a few meters from the cliff, and said the fence does not prevent dirt, rocks and sand from sliding from the cliff, cannot withstand waves, and is dragged into the sea, endangering surfers and swimmers. They also said it rusts within months and is vandalized.
The appeals committee said the committee that deals with protecting the coast examined an opinion written by several experts who wrote that there is a danger of unexpected collapses of the cliff, which could be life-threatening. The cliff will be lopped off only in the most dangerous areas, and protecting the base with a rock wall would be less harmful.
On the other hand, they said, a fence would protect parts of the cliff from collapse, but doesn’t prevent the continued damage to it or an additional danger of its collapse. They also said that a fence would reduce the width of the strip of sand available to beachgoers.