Work will begin soon on a BD18 million ($47 million) theme park project in Muharraq area of the Kingdom which will feature an ice arena, aquarium, karting track and amusement rides, said a report.
The Muharraq Municipal Council approved new designs for the Muharraq Grand Garden after it drastically changed the original blueprint and cut its budget, reported the Gulf Daily News.
It backed a decision by Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi to scrap the inclusion of furnished apartments and spa suites and reduce the number of commercial outlets, which saved BD6 million from the original cost.
The contract is set to be signed later this month after Bahraini investor Faoud Shuwaitar agreed to pay six per cent of the project's value as a guarantee of implementation.
Located near Bahrain International Airport, the park will include Bahrain's first full-size ice arena, which will cost BD4 million, an aquarium and aquamarine centre, a major karting track and spectacular amusement rides.
It has an area of 93,000 sq m, which will also include large green areas, restaurants, a fitness club and gym, an elderly centre and family resting areas.
It will also feature a commercial complex on the side of the airport which will be leased to airlines, car rental companies and cargo providers, and will include a business centre, banks and insurance offices.
The Bahraini investor signed an initial contract with the ministry last August, but councillors threatened to have it revoked unless modifications to the designs were carried out.
However, councillors later made a U-turn and agreed to give the project the go-ahead at the end of last year.
"It is true that we fought hard to get the furnished apartments and spa suites in, but we managed to convince him (investor) otherwise after resistance from Muharraq residents and besides that he has agreed to reduce commercialisation to allow more family facilities in," said council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed.
"Since all our demands were fulfilled we completed procedures for the project to proceed with the ministry and we are awaiting the contract ceremony."
Muharraq Muni-cipality director-general Saleh Al Fadhala said the contract was already drawn up, but they were waiting for a date to be set for the agreement to be signed with the investor.
"The minister has already accepted the deal between the council and the investor and now it just awaits to be inked," he said.
Shuwaitar told the GDN the designs were changed after he received objection from councillors.
"I wanted to turn the place into a proper tourist facility, but there were concerns so I respected them and made changes," he said. "This dropped the amount from BD24 million to BD18 million."
The park was originally going to be turned into a "miniature Disneyland", but the plan was scrapped three years ago.
Councillors later tried to revive it but the then Kuwaiti investor faced financial difficulties and had the project withdrawn from him.
Gulf Daily News