Lebanon Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter vowed Monday to prevent the closure of Beirut’s only public beach in Ramlet al-Baida
This comes after a judge earlier this month ordered its closure following petitions by private developers.
“I am going to take all necessary measures to ensure that the Ramlet al-Baida beach will remain open to the public,” Zeaiter told al Liwa newspaper
“I have asked the Interior Ministry to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the entrances to the beach are not closed so that the public will still have access to the area,” he said.
On June 4, Beirut Judge of Urgent Matters Zalfa al-Hasan issued an order to cordon off three major sections of the beach that cover roughly 28,000 square meters of Ramlet al-Baida, a popular destination for Beirut’s low-income families who cannot afford the exuberant entrance fees charged at private resorts.
Two real estate companies, Mediterranean Real Estate and Bahr Real Estate, both owned by businessman Wissam Ashour, claim ownership of those three sections of the beach, numbered 4026, 4027 and 2369. Irad Investment Holding group also owns some shares in those companies.
“We will investigate the claims of private ownership of parts of the beach,” Zeaiter said. “We are not here to revoke people’s ownership rights, but at the end of the day this beach is going to remain public.”
He said he urged the Beirut Municipality to take “quick and necessary measures” regarding the judicial decision.
Lebanese laws prevent property owners from erecting buildings on beaches because of the loose terrain.