DUBAI // Several parts of Dubai’s sandy white, public beaches along Jumeirah, including parts of the Open Beach, have been either fenced off or closed completely to beachgoers.
Signs have been erected along more than 1km of Jumeirah Public Beach, near Jumeirah Mosque, informing people that the beach has been closed from October 26. It did not say when it would reopen.
Fences could also been seen along sections of the newly opened Dh100 million Jumeirah Corniche, as well as Umm Suqeim Public Beach, near the Burj Al Arab, limiting access to the public but not completely closing it off.
Joggers and walkers using the new 14-kilometre Corniche found that the view of the beach is blocked by fencing in many areas.
“Only a small section of the beach has been closed,” said Mohamed Abdul Rahman Al Awadi, director of public parks and horticulture department at Dubai Municipality.
“This is less than a kilometre. It has been closed for private development to make the beach nicer for people. That area is for commercial development, like hotels and restaurants.”
Despite fences limiting access to several parts of the beach, Mr Al Awadi said that many kilometres of the coastline still remained open to the public. “About 14 kilometres of the beach from Burj Al Arab to the Open Beach is still open,” he said, adding that developers would reopen closed sections once their projects were completed.
Last week, the municipality announced that it was closing down the 25-year-old Jumeirah Beach Park for two years to make way for the ambitious Dh1.76 billion Dubai Canal Project, which will be ready in 2016.
Municipality officials did not mention at the time that other public beaches would be closed.
The 13-hectare beach park closed its beach earlier this month, though the park areaa will remain open until the year’s end.
Beachgoers on Thursday said they were disappointed by the changes.
“I usually come for a swim at the Open Beach,” said Briton Mike Summers, who was upset seeing the notices along the beach near the Jumeirah Mosque.
“This is the time of the year people start using the beaches. We wait all summer for the weather to cool down. It is such a shame to close them down. It is going to affect so many families visiting all these beaches.”
“The beaches are the best part of being in Dubai,” said Rashmi Nair, who visits regularly with her family.
“It is really sad to see so much development happening and cutting off access to visitors.”
Zoi, another expatriate, who was visiting the beach and preferred to give only her first name, hoped the closures were for the better.
“I would be happy if the changes made the beaches better and nicer for families,” she said.
Hotels near the beach said they were seeing more residents visiting their private beaches since the start of the week.
“Our hotel is becoming very busy because people have no choice but to use our private beach,” said an official at the Dubai Marine Beach Resort.
“We can accommodate about 100 people a day.”
The Dubai Marine Beach Resort spokeswoman said residents could access its beach for Dh100 a day on weekdays and for Dh225 on Fridays and holidays.