ABU DHABI // Residents living in the suburbs of the capital say their neighbourhoods lack the basic facilities.
They hoped their FNC representative would address issues such the shortage of pedestrian walkways and facilities for women and children in their neighbourhoods.
“We don’t have malls, and there are no banks and no taxis,” said Maryam Al Buraiki of Al Nahda Al Askariya area, where she lives.
To withdraw money from her bank, she has to drive for 15 minutes to get to the nearest ATM machine – in Bani Yas.
She said if her car broke down “no one stops to help, I have to wait for the police, imagine doing that in this heat”.
There are small grocery stores but “these are hardly enough for our daily requirements”, she said.
The government health clinic “provides basic treatment only”.
“Even if I have a cold, I have to call for an appointment, which is only possible after four hours at least,” Ms Al Buraiki said.
Yasir Al Mahri, 45, hoped that FNC members would attend neighbourhood public majlises more often. Two of these community meeting points are being built in Shakhbout City, where he is a resident.
“The majlises are there, but it is important they pay attention to them,” Mr Al Mahri said. “When a member is present, people can easily ask for a street, or a house, or whatever to be fixed.
“This makes it easier for the public to deliver their opinions and concerns,” he said.
Dr Najood Amer, who lives in Al Muroor with her twin 10-year-old sons and three-year-old daughter, said a neighbourhood library where children are supervised was needed to create a better community spirit.
“There are so many children in our area, of all nationalities,” she said, “You find Arab children playing in the street and only Pakistani children go to the mosque.
“A coordinator could supervise what the children are reading, and organise productive activities for them.
“It should be for all nationalities, because the children are all neighbours and they play together, so everyone should be involved.”
Her sister Rabaa Amer, who started a gym for children in Al Maqtaa area, said she hopes for such a facility in every community.
“This teaches them team work with colleagues, they could enrol in fitness and ballet classes,” the 39-year-old businesswoman said.
Another concern she has in Al Maqtaa is the lack of pavements.
Ahmad Al Muhairy, 23, said he would like to see a public playing field or park in his locality, Abu Dhabi Gate City.
“If these are available, children will engage in football and activities every day,” he said.
Abu Dhabi candidate Ammar Al Khajeh said the issue of facilities depended a lot on whether businesses wanted to locate themselves in the area.
“However, we could call on banks to open branches and ATM machines in these areas,” said Mr Al Khajeh, an advocate and legal adviser.
Another candidate, Khames Al Khyeli, said it was not the job of FNC members to address issues such as lack of facilities, as these needed raised to the municipality.
As for public majlises, he said “these will come at a later stage”.
“The leaders set a long-term vision to build those majlises, and their role will follow once they are set and ready,” he said.